Aging in Style with Lori Williams
Aging in Style with Lori Williams

Episode · 2 months ago

058. Why a resilient mindset is the best tool as we age


There’s a quote by Ernest Hemingway: “The world breaks everyone, and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially.”

One interpretation of this quote is that we're all going to be broken, but how we pick ourselves up – also known as our resiliency – is how we become stronger in those “broken places.”

There’s a lot that happens to us throughout our lifetimes, but how we react to change can be an indicator of our long-term happiness and how we accept the “wear and tear” of aging. Senior Services Expert Lori Williams discusses how resilience is important as we get older. She describes what it means, why it helps, and how to practice it.

Takeaways from this episode:

- Resilience is the result of successful adaptation to adversity, according to the University of Arizona Center on Aging.

- The people who live the longest have been shown to have resilience.

- Being resilient means you can recover from stressful events with a sense of purpose and come out of it stronger.

- There are different behaviors that influence resilience, including optimism, flexibility, finding the “silver lining,” and being connected to other people and a strong sense of purpose.

- Life doesn't always go according to plan. Find a way to make peace with it and adapt.

Questions to ask yourself:

Why do you think you've lived such a long life?

What's your life's philosophy?

What's your relationship with your family, friends and neighbors?

 What's being healthy mean to you?

What do you do when you face difficulties in life?

How do you handle change in your life?

What are you most proud of in your life?

Are you satisfied with your life? 

Are there any benefits that come from stress?

Topics discussed:

- Resiliency

- Resilience as we age

- The importance of optimism

- Finding community as a senior

-  Staying active and finding purpose

-  How to be resilient


 Resources mentioned in this episode:

014. Finding Purpose at Any Age:

Resilience in Aging:

To suggest a topic, be a guest or to support the podcast please email 

For more senior resources and to sign up to the newsletter please visit:

We have to be able to kind of roll withthe punches, because we can put a plan together and I'm going to be completelytransparent here with y'all I had a plan. I had a plan to Graduate Collegeto get married at twenty five to have three kids before the age of thirty. Idid not play it on a career. I did not plan on a podcast. Of course, therewasn't such a thing as the podcast in N S, but my plan got as far as graduatefrom College get married at twenty five and then my plan went off the rails. Myplan ended up not being able to have children and traveling that verydifficult journey, but the silver lining was that the most perfect tochildren ever came to my husband, and I, through adoption, welcome to aging and stale with meLorry Williams, I'm an optimist by nature, and I believe you can followyour dreams at any age. My...

...grandmother's journey with dementiaignited a passion and me to work with seniors. I've spent the past thirteenyears learning about seniors and aging. In my mid S, I followed my own dreamand found it my company, where I use my expertise to help seniors, locate,housing and resources on this podcast. We cover all aspects of aging join USeach week to meet senior living experts and inspiration seniors who arefollowing their dreams. The fact is, we're all aging, so why not do it instyle? I welcome to today's episode of agingand stop with Larry Williams. Today our topic is resiliency yep resilience.What is resilience well according to the University of Arizona Center onAging Resilience is the result of successful adaptation to adversity. Itis revealed by an individual's ability to cope and recover from crisis,sustain a sense of purpose and vitality and emerge stronger from stressfulexperiences. Resilience is a dynamic...

...characteristic that may shift accordingto the circumstance. This describes a gentleman that I metlast week and he has been on my mind ever since I met him because I thoughthe was just a super cool guy. He was probably in his early S. his wife diedunexpectedly about seven eight months ago and, of course, as traumatizing andheart breaking as this was for him, he has pulled himself up and found a wayto find purpose, and he is now serving as a grief, counsellor and helpingothers, and I thought how I mean good for him, and it's like why. Why, though, are some people able to dothat and some people aren't and I have as all of us? We know some people whothey have a hang now on. It's the end of the world and other people are goingthrough one crisis after another and...

...they are continuously pullingthemselves up and making the best making lemonade out of women's. Youknow. So that's what we want to talk about today is like why you know whatis resilience and why is it so important to have resilience as anolder adult, and so, according to this study, I did find some prettyinteresting information. One thing is that they are saying that resilience thinking like having theability to be resilient allows older adults to accept the weare and terrorof aging. Well, you know that makes sense, because, if you're sitting athome and you're despairing every moment about- oh my gosh, I'm you know havingto use a cane now or oh, my gosh. Look how rinkled my neck is getting. That'sme. You know if you're sitting home thinking that you're not havingresilience, thinking and you're not... to deal with problems and crisesas they come along as they will come along for all of us. The longer that weare here on planet earth, it is a given that we are going to have lawson ourlife. We are going to have loss of a loved one, we're going to have loss ofhealth loss of job loss of other things that are important to us in our lives.So how are we able to to deal with that? And so this study looked atcharacteristics and behaviors in people that do lead to resilience, and I foundthem interesting because you know what there ones that I've said before andother podcast. I find it so interesting that everything truly ties back intomindset, positive thinking, optimism, it all ties back in. So what are thosecharacteristicss and behaviors that...

...lead to resilience well well? Well, big,surprise, optimism and effective coping styles, so responding to a crisis ismore often seen from the silver lining point of view rather than from despair.These factors are more important to obtaining happiness in aging thanhaving perfect health got that. So you get a perfect health and not be ashappy if you're not able to be optimistic and have those behaviorsthat lead you to resilience. I found that very interesting having personalconnections with others that will help with resilience being happily engagedwith family and friends and close knit communities, maybe being a volunteer being in a senior community whereyou're not isolated at home. Just you know like if you don't have familynearby to be a part of a community is going to help you to be more resilient,a sense of purpose. HMM. We have talked...

...about that before, since a purpose being involved in anactivity or a function that gives life, meaning like this gentleman that Ispoke with last week. He found a sense of purpose he's now helping others who are goingthrough grief. I mean I just think that is, is beautiful, honestly self,efficacy, the ability to handle one's own problems having been able to beflexible and adapt to things, and I feel like that's huge for all of usthrough any stage of life, that we have to be able to kind of roll with thepunches, because we can put a plan together and I'm going to be completelytransparent. Here with Y'all, I had a plan. I had a plan to Graduate Collegeto get married at twenty five to have three kids before the age ofthirty and that's pretty much it. I did...

...not play it on a career. I did not planon a podcast. Of course there wasn't such a thing, as the podcast in t is, but my plan got as far as graduate fromCollege get married at twenty five and then my plan went off the rails. My plan ended up not being able to have children andtraveling that very difficult journey, but the silver lining was thatthe most perfect to children ever came to my husband and I, through adoptionand granted. I was not thirty and I did not have three kids, but I was thirtytwo when we adopted our first child, our son Chris and thirty, nine, withour daughter, Abbey and and people who know us, say this all the time thatthere could not be two more perfect children in the world. For my husbandand I and it's true, and so I feel like because the resiliency and the abilityto to pivot and to be optimistic, even...

...though you know I'm not going to lie itwas it was tough when we were going through like in the midst of the wholeinfertility stuff, but I was able to see the other side of itand be able to pivot and go okay. This isn't working, but the bottom line iswe want to have children and we we're going to be parents and to maintainoptimism to maintain that silver lining. I think all those things help me, and Ishare all that with you just to give that example that we all may have plansand we can get so mad when our plans are derailed. But there's that oldsaying that when we're making plans, God is laughing at those plans.Basically something like that. So I'm sure this gentleman I met last week.His plan was for him and his wife to maybe live on another ten years. Youknow or he maybe he thought he would go first. She never you never know, butit's not our decision. Obviously,...

...that's God's decision and what's goingto happen, so how do we promote resiliency in our seniors or in all ofus actually, but especially as we age, because they have found that those wholive the longest have been found to be resilient, HMM interesting and sincemost older adults are interested in a long and happy life. There are waysthat doctors and clinicians are able to share information and teach olderadults about how to be more resilient. So there's that whole saying that youcannot teach an old dog new tricks. Well, they say older adults should beencouraged to engage in new activities and make new friendship, friendshipsand learn those new tricks, and I think we've been saying that a lot rightthrough some of these other podcasts, we have talked about staying busy and finding a a purpose,so they lose her a sample of questions...

...for assessing your Vasilici and I think,they're really interesting and I think it would be especially in a communitylike a senior living community. I think it would be interesting to have seniorsanswer these questions and just kind of compare and see how resilient they are,and I'm sure, they're answers to these questions. Kind of will give us a lookat you know what's going on, but we'll put the questions into the podcast, butI just I just think it's interesting. Some of them are: What do you think orwhy do you think you have lived such a long life? I think that would be interesting toknow why people think they have. What is Your Life Philosophy? How would youdescribe your relationships with your friends, family neighbors? What do you do when you facedifficulties in your life? What does being healthy mean to you? Iyou think about these guys think about it. How do you handle change in your life?There's that pivoting, you know, are... able to go with the flow, or do youjust get mad and stuck in your situation? Are You satisfied with yourlife? What are you most proud of? Are there lessons to learn from life'sdifficulties, or should we just grin and bear it and are there any benefitsthat come from stress, interesting questions, and we will put these samplequestions, as I said, on the website, so that you can can answer those? HaveYour parents answer them or grandparents or answer them yourself?It gets kind of an interesting little test to see where you fall in theresiliency. My final thought on all of this resiliency talk is a quote that Iheard on a podcast yesterday and I think it all kind of ties in prettywell with this. It was a quote by Ernest Hemmingway and it goes the worldbreaks. Everyone and afterward. Many are strong at the broken places, butthose that will not break it kills. It...

...kills the very good and the very gentleand the very brave and partially and to me what that means is we're all going to be broken, but in how we pick ourselves up, ourresiliency is how we become stronger in those brooken places, so be resiliantguys. All Right, thanks for listening, besure to check out all of our podcast episodes on my website. Laurie WilliamsDash Senior Services, and we will talk to you next week. Bye Bye, a.

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