The aging of our global population is testimony to one of the most remarkable success stories of medicine and of humankind, but it also introduces an array of challenges.

With more people living longer, there is also an increase in the number of elderly individuals suffering from what is a long list of age-and stress-related chronic diseases. On the positive side, said UCLA geriatric psychiatrist Dr. Helen Lavretsky in her new book, “Resilience and Aging” (Johns Hopkins University Press), a person’s negative reaction to stress can be offset by enhanced resilience — the ability to bounce back from adversity and maintain individual biological and psychological equilibrium.

“We are living in the midst of a tsunami of aging,” said Lavretsky, a professor of psychiatry and director of the Late-life Depression, Stress, and Wellness Research Program at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. The number of individuals 60 years and older is expected to more than double globally by 2050, from 841 million people in 2013 to more than 2 billion. “What inspired me to write the book was the urgent need to understand the concept of resilience to stress in our rapidly aging society.”

“Resilience and Aging” summarizes the most up-to-date research on resilience, neurobiology and the latest approaches in preventive care among older adults, and details such novel interventions as yoga, tai chi and meditation that can help older adults improve their cognition and quality of life.

Lavretsky also co-edited the book, "Late-life Mood Disorders" (Oxford University Press).