Keeping the love life alive in later years

Published on Thu, Feb 20, 2003
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Keeping the love life alive in later years

Lust may cool, but passion can be rekindled. Over time, couples may take each other for granted because they feel comfortable together. But feeling comfortable doesn’t mean giving up exciting feelings. To keep love alive in later years, partners need to make some effort to continuously nurture their relationship.

Treat each other as new:
Couples initially try to impress one another, ask questions and listen attentively. They want to know everything about each other and think of fun activities to do together. As years pass, many stop asking questions, fall into a rut, and take each other for granted. The solution: Treat each other like new lovers eager to intrigue. Don’t assume you know everything; there is always more to learn.

Make love not war: Instead of focusing on what has always bothered you, think of new things to appreciate. Stop during an argument and abruptly say or do something nice. It may feel unnatural at first, but it will break your fighting pattern.

As if: Instead of complaining about how things are not the way you want, act “as if” they are. This may sound like pretending, but it works. Acting as if things are a certain way makes it more likely they will actually become that way. Why continue in a pattern that makes you unhappy? Be willing to be satisfied.

The way we were: Go back in time and relive the relationship at its best. Remembering and reliving good times revives good feelings and helps you initiate new positive patterns.
Making time: As you get older, you create patterns about how you use your time. If these activities have drawn you apart, schedule specific time together. Make time at the beginning and end of every day for a hug and sharing feelings. And make extended time to be together several times a week.

I still do: Create a special event to restate your vows to each other. In this recommitment ceremony, explain your devotion in detail. Exchange a gift to seal the renewed loving deal.

Easing the transition to assisted living

As many parents age, they may no longer be entirely self-sufficient, and need to move to assisted living facilities. Many misperceptions persist about these facilities. But today they are more like resorts than nursing homes. Nursing homes are designed to supervise older adults unable to care for themselves, whereas assisted living facilities offer help with daily activities, but give residents as much independence as they want.

Despite the comforts afforded by assisted living, varied feelings arise when an older person moves into a facility. By this time in their life, adults usually have set patterns in their daily activities and are accustomed to being self-sufficient. It is natural to feel frustrated, helpless or even angry at having to leave your home.

Loved ones also have stressful reactions to the move, which can strain family relationships at a time when open communication is extremely important. Counteract these negative feelings with positive emotions. Realize that you’re doing the best for the whole family, and the move will likely offer a better situation for all.

While working, you’ll see that people are extremely resilient. Once the initial shock of a move is over, adults often come to enjoy their new living arrangement.

If residents still cannot overcome their sadness, or if they experience deeper depression, treatments and services are available that can help. The physical and emotional symptoms of clinical depression range from extreme sadness to fatigue, all of which are treatable by therapy and medication.

The most important way to help ease the transition from independence to assisted living is by open communication, so it’s important to discuss any concerns that you may have about your new living situation.

People are social beings who need friends and family to survive. A supportive social network becomes more important as we grow older. Living in an assisted living facility provides a readily available social network with plenty of opportunities for a happy retirement.