The extension of life does not appear to be slowing, representing a great achievement for mankind as well as a challenge for ageing populations. As we move towards an increasingly older population we will need to find novel ways for individuals to make the best of the challenges they face, as the likelihood of encountering some form of adversity increases with age. Resilience theories share a common idea that individuals who manage to navigate adversity and maintain high levels of functioning demonstrate resilience. Traditional models of healthy ageing suggest that having a high level of functioning across a number of domains is a requirement. The addition of adversity to the healthy ageing model via resilience makes this concept much more accessible and more amenable to the ageing population. Through asset-based approaches, such as the invoking of individual, social and environmental resources, it is hoped that greater resilience can be fostered at a population level. Interventions aimed at fostering greater resilience may take many forms; however, there is great potential to increase social and environmental resources through public policy interventions. The wellbeing of the individual must be the focus of these efforts; quality of life is an integral component to the enjoyment of additional years and should not be overlooked. Therefore, it will become increasingly important to use resilience as a public health concept and to intervene through policy to foster greater resilience by increasing resources available to older people. Fostering wellbeing in the face of increasing adversity has significant implications for ageing individuals and society as a whole.
Keywords: Healthy ageing; mental health; resilience; wellbeing.