Essential Conversations with Dr. Amy: Maintaining emotional balance during a life transition

Portrait of the smiling elderly woman. A photo on the autumn background

You may find that big changes in your life—like a move to a retirement residence— can stir up a mixture of emotions that can make you feel a bit off-balance, even when the change is a positive one. The degree to which a move or other change can feel disruptive varies greatly from person to person. Some of us regain our mental equilibrium very quickly, while others go through a longer process of adaptation.

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Essential Conversations with Dr. Amy: Are You “Ready Enough?”

Cheerful Senior Man

There are several reasons that the gap between how old we feel and how old we are increases as we age. Some of it may have to do with society’s negative stereotypes of aging and our recognition we don’t fit that stereotype, and don’t want to fit that stereotype! And some of it may be due to the fact that it is often hard to recognize some of the changes we are experiencing as we age: changes other people may see before we notice them, and changes we may easily see in other people.

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Essential Conversations with Dr. Amy: Are we ever too old to date?

Amorous senior couple

If you were to ask an adult child if they would like their parent to have companionship in their later years, he or she would likely say “yes.” However, most just don’t expect that companionship to come in the form of their parent dating! From experience with my clients, I have found that if a parent has a romantic relationship in their later years, it can be an uncomfortable change for their adult children. It stirs up surprising emotions and is an Essential Conversation most people don’t want to have – parent or adult child! So what is all this discomfort about and how can we get through this with more ease and harmony?

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Essential Conversations with Dr. Amy: Managing Expectations Between Older Adults and their Adult Children

Senior women at home.

When I ask people whom they think will help them when they get older, without hesitation most answer “my children.” It’s true that adult children are often a notable source of support as people age. And—if a person has adult children who haven’t always gotten along—they may tell me they know their kids will be […]

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Essential Conversations with Dr. Amy: Proactively pursuing a fulfilling social life during your retirement

Spending Day with Friends

Here is the surprising thing about loneliness: it actually has an upside! According to Dr. Abraham Palmer, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego, “Loneliness may be a warning sign that motivates people to try to develop social links, in the same way the pain of a burn motivates people to move away from a hot flame.” Dr. Palmer is suggesting that instead of viewing loneliness as something inevitable that we just have to endure, we can see it as a signal that we need to do something different.

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Dr. Amy Case Study: Engaging Long-Distance Siblings in Caregiving

senior women

I asked Ginette about other family members that might be able to help her in providing support to her parents. She told me she had one sister, *Marta, who lives several hours away. Ginette said she and Marta had a good relationship, but she was getting increasingly frustrated that the whole responsibility of caring for their parents was falling to her.

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