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Relationships Should Bring Joy and Comfort

The Nature of Relationships with Seniors

Gretchen Heuring | 10.26.08


Until we reach the old-old stage of life, we take relationships for granted. Our friends, family and pets bring us happiness and comfort us when we need them to.


As we Seniors become older and more frail, the people in our lives become caregivers. Many elders are grateful and graceful about receiving care but some are not, making the job of the caregiver difficult.


In her Bestseller, Another Country, Mary Pipher says that elderly persons can be divided into two cultures. The "young-old" and the "old-old" In her book, she makes some excellent suggestions for building and maintaining relationships with seniors.

"...most people enjoy being young-old. They take pleasure in many things, including grandchildren and opportunities to study and have new skills. The young-old have time to read, play cards, care for their pets, travel, and visit friends.

"The old-old...walk a road filled with potholes of pain, low energy, poor appetite, and inadequate sleep. They lead lives filled with the loss of friends and family, of habits and pleasures, and of autonomy."

These stages don't have anything to do with age. Some people slow down at sixty and others are sprightly into their nineties or even hundreds. To live long and well, emotional well being is every bit as important as physical wellness. To be well and remain that way, we need stable and loving relationships.