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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Essential Conversations with Dr. Amy: Understanding the perspectives of adult children and their parents

Happy senior mother and daughter portrait

A few years ago, I stumbled upon the song “Closing Time” by Semisonic, and found it acknowledged the emotional complications of life transitions in one poignant line: “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” That sums up why people often feel quite ambivalent during a transition: we may be grieving the closing of one chapter in our life as we step into a new one. This is frequently true for an older adult if they are considering, or have decided, to move from the home they have been living in to a retirement residence.

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Dr. Amy Case Study: Adjusting to retirement living

Senior Couple Facing Empty Room with Packed Moving Boxes and Potted Plants.

Think back to when you went away from home for the first time, or started your first job. Can you remember how you felt in each of those experiences? For most of us, we experienced mixed feelings—likely excitement about something new, nervousness about whether we would like the new experience or fit in with people there, and perhaps a bit of sadness about what we left behind. All are normal feelings associated with changes in our lives.

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