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 shows 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.
In Part 1, Capps illustrates the challenges of transitioning to older adulthood from the author’s own experiences, while in Part 2 he draws on material from Erik H. Erikson, Sigmund Freud, and Paul W. Pruyser to account for longevity, adaptability, and creativity in older adults. Finally, in part 3 he focusses on the work of both William James and Walt Disney to fashion a model of creative aging.
List of Tables
Part 1 – The Transition to Older Adulthood
1. Fired Up and Loaded for Bear
2. A Faithful Reunion
Part 2 – Growth and Development in Older Adulthood
3. The Three Stages of Older Adulthood
4. The Aging Process as Forward Movement
5. The Creativity of Older Adults
Part 3 – The Artistry of Aging
6. Relaxed Bodies, Emancipated Minds, and Dominant Calm
7. Happy Spirits and Grumpy Souls
Epilogue: Aging Horses and Wounded Healers
Endorsements and Reviews
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 Nørager, Aarhus University, Denmark
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, South Africa
This is a wise book and a mature piece of scholarly reflection that wider clinical sources and theological texts are likely to embrace, to endorse and to develop.
Howard Worsley, in Theology, Vol 119, No 3
Donald Capps (1939-2015) was one of the premier spokespersons for the fields of pastoral counseling and psychology of religion. … Capps closes with Weldon Johnson’s poem on ‘The Creation’ telling us that God still felt lonely for the first five days of creation. … [The author] suggests that perhaps this means that we inhabit is, for us, the underlying inspiration for our own creativity. And maybe it is the older adult who is especially aware that this is so.
Wayne Rollins, in Reviews in Religion and Theology, Vol 25, Issue 1