The later-adult years are commonly viewed as a period in which one struggles to maintain a vestige of the physical, mental, and emotional vitality of one's earlier years. In Still Growing, however, Donald Capps contends that older adulthood is actually a period of growth and development, and that a central feature of this growth and development is the remarkable creativity of older adults.
This creativity is the consequence of the wisdom gained through years of experience but is also due to a newly developed capacity to adapt to unprecedented challenges integral to the aging process.
Part 1 illustrates the challenges of transitioning to older adulthood from the author's own experiences. Part 2 draws on material from Erik H. Erikson, Sigmund Freud, and Paul W. Pruyser to account for longevity, adaptability, and creativity in older adults. Finally, part 3 focuses on the work of both William James and Walt Disney to fashion a model of creative aging.
Endorsements & Reviews
"It can no longer be said that theological education neglects the study of aging. Perhaps seminaries neglected aging a couple of decades ago. But now, most or all seminaries have courses on life cycle theory, pastoral care of older adults, or sections on aging within specialized courses. Written by the most influential pastoral theologian in the history of the discipline, Still Growing is an exciting contribution of a prolific author who is still growing."
—Nathan Carlin, University of Texas Medical School, Houston, TX
"Still Growing ought to be required reading for anyone who engages in pastoral care ministry with adults over age seventy. For those who are making the transition to older adulthood, Capps offers insights on how to navigate the road ahead with courage, creativity, humor, and an abiding sense of hope. He does so with the wisdom of a 'senior adult' and the winsomeness of a pastoral theologian who is still young at heart."
—Carol L. S. Schweitzer, Union Presbyterian Seminary, Richmond, VA
"Building on Freud, Erikson, and Pruyser (or pyschoanalytic tradition), Capps explores the overlooked potential for personal growth and creativity in older adulthood. Still Growing is a rare example of a wise and hopeful book. A must-read for everyone over sixty."
—Troels Norager, Aarhus University, Denmark
"Capps demonstrates how older adulthood remains generative, interesting, and full of possibilities. He subverts stereotypes of aging to show how growth and thriving in older adulthood are not only possible but normative, even if aging includes 'growing pains' particular to the older adult. I know of no one else who could make such a compelling case for life beginning (afresh) at seventy! This book should be read by older adults, those who love and care for them, and those who can learn from them--which includes us all."
—Allan Hugh Cole Jr., Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Austin, TX
"Relentlessly, yet personally and gently honest about aging. There is no escape, yet freedom beckons. Hope, serenity, and creativity become possibilities. Deeply knowledgeable on psychology, spirituality, and the human life cycle, Donald Capps gives solace--no cheap comfort, but rather profound wisdom. He offers it playfully, joyfully, artistically, humorously, gracefully. His fresh perspective on the daunting prospect of becoming an older adult: there are 'fringe benefits.'"
—Yolanda Dreyer, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
About the Author:
Donald Capps is William Harte Felmeth Professor of Pastoral Theology (Emeritus) and Adjunct Professor at Princeton Theological Seminary. He is the author of Striking Out: The Religious Journey of Teenage Boys (Cascade Books, 2011) and At Home in the World: A Study in Psychoanalysis, Religion, and Art (Cascade Books, 2013). He is coauthor with Nathan Carlin of Living in Limbo: Life in the Midst of Uncertainty (Cascade Books, 2010).