Resilience—the ability to recover from or adapt well to adversity, loss, or other difficulties—is associated with a number of benefits to well-being. However, few interventions have been developed to improve resilience. In a study that earned a 2020 Silver Innovative Research on Aging Award, researchers examined the impact of a program designed to improve resilience among older adults in senior living communities.
The program, called Raise Your Resilience (RYR), included savoring, gratitude, and engagement in value-based activities to improve resilience. For example, participants were instructed keep a daily diary of events that made them feel happy and activities or accomplishments that made them feel proud. RYR also included discussion designed to improve perceptions of aging. Participants each set personal goals at the outset of the program to make their life more satisfying and meaningful.
The program was delivered by trained staff facilitators in three 90-minute sessions over a one-month period. A total of 89 people participated. English-speaking individuals age 60 and better who lived in independent living in one of five senior living communities were eligible to participate. Persons with a diagnosis of dementia or a serious illness that could interfere with participation were excluded from the study. Individuals were assessed prior to the study in order to better analyze the effect of the program. This included a baseline assessment at month 0 and pre-intervention assessment at month 1, which was the control period. Individuals were then assessed right after the intervention (month 2) and again at follow-up three months later (month 5). In addition to resilience, the researchers measured physical and mental well-being, perceived stress, wisdom, happiness, and psychological growth.
Few participants dropped out and they reported high levels of satisfaction with the program. The results showed that resilience scores were significantly increased among participants from pre-intervention to follow-up (month 5) as compared to the control period. In addition, participants also benefited from significant improvements in perceived stress and wisdom from pre-intervention to post-intervention (month 2) as compared to the control period. Study authors will share the intervention manual upon request.
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Treichler EB, Glorioso D, Lee EE, Wu TC, Tu XM, Daly R, O’Brien C, Smith JL, Jeste DV. A pragmatic trial of a group intervention in senior housing communities to increase resilience. International Psychogeriatrics; (2020); Feb;32(2),173-82.