Adjusting to Aging: You’re Not Alone

By Allison Gould, LCSW-R  |  5/29/2015

People experience the aging process in many different ways. Some find that life gets finer as they experience a new sense of freedom and opportunity. For others, getting older can be difficult, triggering feelings of anxiety, depression and grief. Many people will feel a mix of these positive and negative feelings, as various opportunities and challenges present themselves.

As the Center for Healthy Aging social worker, I recently led the first Adjustment to Aging Support Group to help people face this transition.

For 10 weeks, six participants shared their experiences, worries and hopes about growing older. They learned skills for coping with transition, which emphasized how to take care of themselves, improve communication, shift attitudes and redefine expectations.

As often happens with groups, the participants marveled at how much they had in common, despite their varied histories. They were all struggling to come to terms with getting old. They all found themselves surprised to have “arrived” at this stage, and they all hoped to get to a place of greater contentment and ease as they continue to age.

They connected, laughed, cried and inspired each other to work toward positive, effective changes in outlook, attitudes and actions.

The feedback from the participants was encouraging. They expressed feeling grateful for the “ability to discuss thoughts and feelings in a nonjudgmental atmosphere” and relief that they “were not alone in [their] feelings.” They appreciated learning skills like stress reduction, meditation and positive self talk. They valued the ability to “easily connect with the group.”

Sociologist Bernard Crettaz said, “Fellowship brings out truth.” And so it was for group. Coming together to address the issues of aging allowed for a vulnerability among participants that resulted in a healing and therapeutic experience.

The next Adjustment to Aging Support Group begins on Monday, June 8 and will meet weekly for 8 weeks from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM at the Center for Healthy Aging, 6529 Springbrook Avenue, Rhinebeck, NY 12572. If you have any questions or would like to join this group, please feel free to contact me at (845) 876-4745.

The Center for Healthy Aging is a resource for patients 65 and older and their families. Our medical director is a family practice physician with fellowship training and additional qualifications in geriatrics. Our services include inpatient, outpatient and transitional care for aging adults. We also present community talks on a range of important aging issues.