You may be someone who dreads the stereotype of old age – rigid, senile, old fashioned, boring, useless and burdensome. Or you could be someone who is living under in these conditions, without realizing them as stereotypes. Whatever your situation, old age doesn’t have to be boring, dreadful or negative as how cultural and media images have made us to believe.
This stage too comes with its own challenges and constraints; however the advantages, possibilities and opportunities one can experience in this stage are often greater than any other stage in life.
Retirement, readjusting and relooking at your marriage, review of your life, discovering your own meaning to life, relating to children and grandchildren are all areas that are enriching yet challenging in this stage.
The most important tasks that you need to accomplish in this stage are:
Questions/Struggles that you may experience in this stage
- Coping with physiological decline and illness
- Adjusting to life and spouse after retirement
- Adjusting to children taking a more central role in family maintenance
- Dealing with the loss of spouse and peers
- Preparation for death, life review, reminiscence and integration
- Taking on responsibility for caring for families of origin
- We seem to fight a lot after retirement!
- I worry all the time about my children and grandchildren!
- How can I see my body more positively?
- I miss going to work and wish there was no retirement age
- How do I cope with the challenges of being a widow?
- I wish my grandchildren were nearby, I miss them a lot
- I hate how my body is deteriorating and I can’t seem to have any control over it!
- How I can be more independent despite my illness?
- How can I overcome my fear of death?
- What can I do to reduce boredom?
- My children always make fun of me as I’m old school
- I’m unable to overcome the death of my spouse
- My children don’t allow me to spend much time with my grandchildren
- I feel unhappy most of the time
- What can I do to feel and look younger?
- How can I improve my social life?
- My children don’t care for me anymore
- What is the meaning of life, ultimately?
- I feel a sense of regret about how I’ve lived my life
- I can’t get along with my daughter in law/son in law!
- I feel lonely and unloved
These are common struggles faced by many people at the later stage of life. Fortunately, one doesn’t have to live life in the later part with boredom, dependency, guilt or frustration. Instead, there are plenty of opportunities and possibilities in later life to live in a fun, enriching, meaningful and creative way.
Consider discussing your struggles with a trained professional who will journey with you in helping you live a fuller and richer later life.