Author: Alcibiades Rives, RN | Director of Nursing
of Southwest Broward
"Ageing is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength." - Betty Friedan
Erik Erickson, a widely known and studied developmental psychologist of the 20th century, explains that the older person will contemplate their lives and depending on the course that life took them they will experience a sense of integrity and pride over their achievements; or a feeling as if they've lived an unfulfilled life or incomplete life. These experiences play a crucial role in how individuals cope with aging. He defines this stage as “a retrospective accounting of one’s life to date; how much one embraces life as having been well lived, as opposed to regretting missed opportunities,” (Erikson, 1982).
Acceptance is keystone to a successful psychological development. Erickson points out that accepting failures in one's own life ; and that of other (e.g. parents) is important in this stage. "This acceptance will lead to a sense of integrity, but if elders are unable to achieve this acceptance, they may experience despair. Bitterness and resentments in relationships and life events can lead one to despair at the end of life." (Erickson, 1982)
This stage in life is seen as the balancing of integrity vs. Despair.
Integrity is defined as : The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness. Erik Erickson was one of the first individuals to suggest that older adults still have developmental needs. The goal for our seniors is to reach this level of integrity which they will often find via their memories of their past achievements.
Despair is defined as : The complete loss or absence of hope (hopelessness). The effects of hope, and hopelessness, have been studied for their effects in the clinical setting. It is apparent that sense of hopelessness is secondary to isolation, and lack of social stimulation. More than ever individuals whose life experiences have left them with little to no support systems are in need of warmth and proper care. The somatic effects related to loss of hope is real and interferes with health and wellness.
This year has been very stressful and lonely for many older adults. Please remember as we inch closer to the holidays to express your love and appreciation to your parents, grandparents, and the many other seniors in your life. Seniors should be encouraged during this period in their lives to talk and reminisce the important moments in their lives. It's important that they feel heard and that their wisdom be received.
This November we are thankful to our caregivers, to the family caregivers and to our senior population. We are grateful to those who took the extra step, went the extra mile to nurture and care for those in need. We at Homewatch CareGivers want to thank the families who are involved and collaborate in the care of our seniors. A special thanks to our many partners and wonderful staff- we are grateful for everyone one of you. We hope that everyone can spend much needed time gathered in warmth with their families, happy Thanksgiving From us at Homewatch CareGivers of Southwest Broward!