Rosie and Retirement
8th January, 20130 Comments
Until very recently "Rosie" had a busy life seeing friends, going to the cinema, helping out at the local charity shop and happily seeing her two children and their families a few times a month. She enjoyed the company of many of the neighbours in the other flats in her block. Life seemed rosy.
One day she had a fall and although she recovered, she no longer felt able to use her bicycle to get around. Getting on the bus was slow and difficult. She stopped helping out at the charity shop. She spent more and more time at home suddenly feeling her age - frail and vulnerable. She stopped inviting the neighbours round for tea and began to think of herself as unlovable, uninteresting and redundant as a person. She began wishing that she could die as soon as possible so that she would no longer be a burden to others.
A counsellor can help someone in Rosie's situation, possibly with the practical issues, but just as importantly, they can help Rosie to find out why she has been so suddenly caught up in a spiral of depression. Gradually, Rosie was able to pick up the threads of her social life and living became worthwhile for her again.
A sudden practical problem like reduced mobility can have unexpected and alarming knock-on effects.
Retirement in itself can create unexpected stresses and strains. How do you fill the day without a deadline or an activity? How do you cope with a partner who is suddenly there all the time?
On the other hand, many of the issues that older people bring to the consulting room are the same as those brought by people in general. Many have painful issues in their past which they may need to talk about; they may have anxiety or depression, relationship or family problems, panic attacks and phobias.
However, for some, there is one important difference. The realisation that life is short and finite hits home with renewed force if you are 75 or 80 and the number of years ahead are few.
Counselling for the elderly is just as worthwhile and helpful as for those who are younger.
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Imi Lo: Psychotherapist, Art Therapist, Supervisor (MMH,UKCP,HCPC,MBPsS)March 29th, 2015
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