The study of resilience in an older adult population is expanding rapidly. However, most theoretical models of resilience have been developed with children or young to middle-aged adults. The objective of the present study was to review systematically the qualitative literature examining resilience in older adults, and to develop a comprehensive model of resilience in older adulthood. A qualitative meta-synthesis was conducted to review the qualitative literature examining resilience from older adults’ perspectives. An exhaustive search of the literature revealed 1,752 articles. From these articles, 34 studies meeting inclusion criteria were selected for analysis. Across the 34 studies analysed, eight themes were revealed as important for achieving resilience later in life: perseverance and determination, self-efficacy and independence, purpose and meaning, positive perspective, social support, faith and prayer, previous experience and being proactive. These themes can be organised into a four-factor model: (a) Intrapersonal Protective Factors; (b) Interpersonal Protective Factors; (c) Spiritual Protective Factors; and (d) Experiential Protective Factors. This study presents a new model of resilience in older adulthood that is grounded in qualitative literature and is relevant and appropriate for an older adult population. This research may be useful for clinicians, support workers and researchers working with older individuals through improving our understanding of what contributes to resilience later in life.