Positive Ageing and Resilience Training (PART) was a project designed to support older people to increase their resilience to the challenges that most people experience in later life (such as retirement, acquiring a health condition or disability, becoming a carer or even bereavement).
A major component of resilience are the psychological attitudes which help people to generate more positive emotional responses in the face of difficulties. It is not about denying or avoiding difficulties, but learning how to respond to them more positively and in a way that enables people to ‘move forward’.
PART offered highly participative courses, which helped people to learn a range of important psychological skills. These are drawn predominantly from Positive Ageing Theory, Positive Psychology, Mindfulness, and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
The key elements of the programme were:-
- It is possible to change how you feel: ‘Thoughts are not facts’ – through mindfulness you become more aware of your thought processes and can review them critically
- Relish the good things in life: Savouring is the capacity to attend to and appreciate and enhance the positive experiences in life
- Cultivate positive emotions – They undo the effects of negativity and help you to flourish
- Increase a sense of gratitude – Overcome the ‘negativity bias’ by noticing what is positive in life.
- Develop your strengths – these are particular ways of behaving, thinking or feeling that we all have which grow resilience and wellbeing and point to a positive direction
- Maximise an optimistic outlook – optimism is fundamental to resilience, and it can be learned
- Connect with others – Other people matter and relationships are a leading factor in resilence and wellbeing
- Find a sense of purpose – People who know what their life purpose is live longer, better lives.
The project is part of a national pilot commissioned by the Gulbenkian Foundation as part of their Transitions in Later Life programme. See also the Scoping Review written by Guy Robertson which underpins the programme.
The first phase of the programme is currently being evaluated.
For further information on the courses please contact either Guy Robertson on 07923 483587