A time of tremendous change

You go along in life thinking that you know who you are. Things are moving along fine. Then you hit your 50’s, 60’s or 70’s and everything starts to change. The shift may be subtle or sudden, but the effect is tectonic. You are no longer the person you used to be.

Who am I now?

How do I want to live my life?

How do I deal with aging, illness or the death of others?

What gives me meaning and joy?

Aging is a time of opportunity

For many, the middle years were structured and orderly. Our lives seem to be defined by external forces; launching a career, making a living, creating a family, building a life.

But, aging asks us to look beyond some of those traditional constraints. Perhaps you’re retired or looking toward retirement; but who are you if you’re not working? The kids are leaving or have left; who are you if you’re not a mom or dad? You’ve sold the family home and moved to a retirement community; who do you want to be in this new phase of your life?

Is it depression or a legitimate sorrow?

Depression is a very common diagnosis for older adults, and many times it is appropriate. But, I believe that depression is over diagnosed, and legitimate feelings of sadness or sorrow are overlooked. The life an older person has known for decades has been forever changed. And, no matter how good life is today, there is sorrow at what has been lost. This is not pathological, it is realistic.

In our culture we’re taught to ignore these losses and soldier on. But, when we ignore the pain, the loss just stays with us. Part of Therapy for Older Adults works to recognizing these losses, honoring them, and grieving them. So that you can move forward, unencumbered by the grief.

“People don't like getting older, but they do like changing. Staying the same is a kind of death.”

Tommy Wallach, Thanks for the Trouble