Skip to main content
Successful Cognitive and Emotional Aging

Successful Cognitive and Emotional Aging

Edited by Colin A. Depp, Ph.D., and Dilip V. Jeste, M.D.
2010
441 pages
ISBN 978-1-58562-351-8
Paperback Also Available In: eBook
Item #62351



The critical importance of brain health to the well-being of older adults is becoming increasingly clear. However, an important aspect that interests most people relates to what clinicians and their adult patients and family members can do to retain and even improve cognitive and emotional functioning as they age. Successful Cognitive and Emotional Aging thoroughly discusses the neuroscience of healthy aging and presents effective strategies for staying lively, engaged, and positive.

The book is organized into three parts. The first one, focusing on behavioral and psychosocial aspects, strives to place cognitive aging in a broad context. With chapters that explore such topics as the meaning of wisdom, the role of spirituality in healthy aging, and what centenarians can teach us about cognition and emotion, this section sets the stage for a rich, robust, yet nuanced treatment of its subject. The second part addresses the biological aspects and presents the scientific foundations of cognitive aging, as well as reviews the research on the role of factors such as stress, resilience, and diet. Finally, the third section addresses prevention and intervention strategies in a practical, down-to-earth fashion, addressing questions such as “What environments encourage physical activity?” and “How can we promote resilience?”

Several features of the book are especially noteworthy:


  • The book bridges the gap between popular science for a lay audience and the heavily theoretical, academic approach of other books on the aging brain, making it suitable not only for clinicians but for their patients and family members as well.
  • The fascinating story of an innovative intergenerational school makes the case for meaningful activity—not just for the older participants but for the entire community—and is suggestive of the plethora of possible programs that might prove effective at keeping the older population engaged and contributing.
  • Results from a 70-year longitudinal study are extensively reviewed and identify the coping strategies that seem to bring about well-being in older age.
  • The most promising strategies for successful aging, applicable to a large majority of the population, are summarized by the editors so that clinicians as well as consumers of healthcare may implement them as they see fit.

As the baby boomers reach what used to be considered “old age,” the demand for evidence-based strategies for retaining and improving cognition will only increase. Fortunately, as the editors note, it is never too early or too late to start working toward the goal of improving brain health.

Phenotypes of successful aging: historical overview. Part I: Behavioral and Psychosocial Aspects. Defining and assessing cognitive and emotional health in later life. Cognitive aging: from basic skills to scripts and schemata. Positive emotions and health: what we know about aging. The role of spirituality in healthy aging. Wisdom: definition, assessment, and its relation to successful cognitive and emotional aging. Cognition and emotion in centenarians. Part II: Biological Aspects. Neuroimaging of successful cognitive and emotional aging. Cognitive and brain reserve. Stress, resilience, and the aging brain. Influence of dietary factors on brain aging and the pathogenesis of Alzheimer disease. Molecular genetic building blocks of successful cognitive and emotional aging. Animal models of successful cognitive aging. Part III: Prevention and Intervention Strategies. Creating environments to encourage physical activity. Diet, nutritional factors, and the aging brain. Pharmacological approaches to successful cognitive and emotional aging. Cognitive interventions: traditional and novel approaches. Aging, cognition, and technology. Recognizing and promoting resilience. Gaining wisdom through multiage learning: the story of the Intergenerational School. Epilogue. Index.

"Successful Cognitive and Emotional Aging is a fascinating, informative, and compelling read that presents a broad based approach to cognitive and emotional aging—and the timing couldn’t be better as baby boomers are poised to “come of age”. Chapters, which cover behavioral and psychosocial, biological and prevention and intervention strategies, are authored by experts in the field and are cutting edge, well-written, and well documented. The final chapter, a summary of the book, contains many useful recommendations."—Kathleen C. Buckwalter, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, Sally Mathis Hartwig Professor of Gerontological Nursing Research, Director, The University of Iowa John A. Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence


"Depp and Jeste’s book is a brilliant account of successful cognitive and emotional aging. The focus on success, and on success in particular in cognitive and emotional realms, is a most welcome departure from accounts focusing on pathology. Jeste and Depp have enlisted foremost experts on behavioral and psychosocial aspects of aging, biological aspects, and prevention and intervention strategies, with each chapter not only laying out the most recent research, but also summarizing with key points and recommended reading. This book will be of great use not only to geriatric researchers, but also to practicing doctors and other clinicians who treat a geriatric population. Indeed, the book, written in a clear and accessible way, might appeal to a general public that is keenly interested in successful aging. Likely to be a key text on successful aging for many years to come a real tour de force."—Elyn R. Saks, J.D., Orrin B. Evans Professor of Law, Psychology & Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at USC Gould School of Law; Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at UC San Diego School of Medicine


"In the "Successful Cognitive and Emotional Aging" Depp and Jeste have assembled a distinguished set of experts to consider an age-old question: how does one achieve a long and satisfying life? Drawing on cutting edge research, the answers span molecules and genes to Social relationships and spirituality. this unique Handbook offers fresh and thoughtful insights into aging and human development."—Gary W. Small, M.D., Parlow-Solomon Professor on Aging, Professor of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences, Director, UCLA Center on Aging, Director, Memory & Aging Research Center, Director, Geriatric Psychiatry Division, Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

Monika Ardelt, Ph.D.
Sherry A. Beaudreau, Ph.D.
Dan G. Blazer, M.D., Ph.D.
Adam M. Brickman, Ph.D.
Ashley Cain, B.S.
Susan Turk Charles, Ph.D.
Sara J. Czaja, Ph.D.
Sharron E. Dawes, Ph.D.
Colin A. Depp, Ph.D.
Lisa T. Eyler, Ph.D.
Danny R. George, A.B.D., M.Sc.
Mina Hah, M.D.
Hugh C. Hendrie, M.B., Ch.B., D.Sc.
Briana N. Horwitz
Jeffrey T. Hubbard, B.A.
Dilip V. Jeste, M.D.
Jacqueline Kerr, Ph.D.
Sanja Kovacevic, Ph.D.
Avinoam Luzon, B.S.
Jennifer Margrett, Ph.D.
Peter Martin, Ph.D.
John Martin-Joy, M.D.
Mark P. Mattson, Ph.D.
Keith G. Meador, M.D., Th.M., M.P.H.
Thomas Meeks, M.D.
Hunhui Oh, M.S.W., C.G.
Ruth O�Hara, Ph.D.
Raymond L. Ownby, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A.
Barton W. Palmer, Ph.D.
Kevin Patrick, M.D., M.S.
Leonard W. Poon, Ph.D.
Christianna Purnell, B.A.
Brinda K. Rana, Ph.D.
Victoria Risbrough, Ph.D.
Cheryl L. Rock, Ph.D., R.D.
Dori Rosenberg, M.P.H., M.S.
Karen L. Siedlecki, Ph.D.
Gary W. Small, M.D.
Barbara Sommer, M.D.
Yaakov Stern, Ph.D.
Ipsit V. Vahia, M.D.
George E. Vaillant, M.D.
Sandra Weintraub, Ph.D.
Catherine C. Whitehouse, Ph.D.
Peter J. Whitehouse, M.D., Ph.D.
Alissa H. Wicklund, Ph.D.
Jared W. Young, Ph.D.

Colin A. Depp, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Faculty Member of the Sam and Rose Stein Institute for Research on Aging at the University of California, San Diego and Instructor in the Department of Gerontology at San Diego State University in San Diego, California.

Dilip V. Jeste, M.D., is Estelle and Edgar Levi Chair in Aging, Director of the Sam and Rose Stein Institute for Research on Aging, and Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Neurosciences at the University of California, San Diego, in La Jolla, California.