Old Friends Needed
“Friends, Communities, and the Rest of Our Lives” is the title of Robert Intrieri’s review of With a Little Help From Our Friends: Creating Community as We Grow Older by Beth Baker. Intrieri says this book is an “analysis of why all of us should not be afraid to look forward into our future and make critical decisions now about how we wish to live our lives in old age” (para. 5). At the end of his review he says this book should be read by students, professionals, and anyone anticipating retirement.
What about those of us who already are there, and have been there for a while? Some gerontologists call us the old old. Baker’s “thesis [is] that community and relationships are essential to sustain us through the end of life” (para. 6). So, if we haven’t done so, we need to make friends and find community. There is an implication that not doing so may lead to loneliness, depression, and, well, the end.
To avoid that down side, an old old person may need some help. There will be a lot more people in that age range in the coming years, but to meet their needs Intrieri says we “will need a significant increase in the number of appropriately trained geropsychologists” and related professionals (para. 8). When I was doing accreditation visits, almost all programs had a specialty in child and adolescent clinical training. Training to work with older adults was unusual. Is that still the situation?
By Robert C. Intrieri
PsycCRITIQUES, 2014 Vol 59(49)