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Intimate Ties in Later Life Gero 408. Definition Relationships are considered to have five components: commitment, deep feelings and expresssions of caring.

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Presentation on theme: "Intimate Ties in Later Life Gero 408. Definition Relationships are considered to have five components: commitment, deep feelings and expresssions of caring."— Presentation transcript:

1 Intimate Ties in Later Life Gero 408

2 Definition Relationships are considered to have five components: commitment, deep feelings and expresssions of caring and compassion, thinking about another and sharing values and goals, physical intimacy ranging from close proximit to sexuality and interdependence. A sexual arrangement usually sets relationships apart from other intimate ties.

3 Relationships There may be assumptions about the intimacy in a relationship e.g. Marriage or the presence of sexual intimacy in partners who are not together, such as being in different types of care facilities. We are now seeing many variations of intimacy in relationships, such as serial relationships and multiple partners, and multiple marriages.

4 Relationships Marriage and those who are sexually bonded are considered in some form of pure relationship. Marriage carries the responsibility of obligation to provide mutual support There are several variations now observed of relationships in later life: remarriage, same sex partnerships, opposite sex cohabitation, living apart with sexual cohabitation

5 Relationships Demographically, the majority of older women are not married. We cannot make assumptions about the sexuality of single people in old age. The term intimacy may be more appropriate and forms a key factor in well-being and health. How do social relationship help or hinder intimate relationships?

6 Relationships The experience of old people is often considered stable and stale! Those aged 65- 74 are changing these perceptions. This can be seen in changes in gender relationships, sexuality and monogomy, and more openness and egalitarian type relationships Greater longevity is one of the prime variable of this changing scene.

7 Relationships Retirement and life not dominated by paid work can and has changed the types of relationships and intimate partnerships What is the continuing importance of marital status? On a macro level it implies: structured social relations which impact family life, gender, age, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity and class. Marital status influence family composition and economic status

8 Relationships We now data in the impact on males of being divorced or never married when they enter old age. Issues of isolation and poverty are more prevalent. Some of these same findings apply to unattached females except they maintain strong social connections and never married females are often as financially secure as marred ones.

9 Relationships Marital status is often linked to overall well being both psychological and physiological. Older couples who cohabit enjoy many of the same benefits as those who are married. The widowed, divorced and separated report lower levels of well-being and satisfaction The single elderly are often childless and has small family networks, however thay may live with someone else as opposed to the never married where solo living is an established life-styl

10 Relationships Loneliness is a greater factor among the widowed who live alone, which leads to concerns around the impact of losing partners-desolation, foresaken, lonely, and economically depressed. This often leads to low morale and depression. The same applies to gay and lesbian older persons who maintain intimate ties are seen as less lonely and depressed than the unattached.

11 Relationships Some key variables: married persons are healthiest followed by single, widowed, divorced and separated. The healthy are more likely to remarry and the unhealthy often stay single. Marriage has protective features: better health promotion and more support when illness is a factor. Partners have greater economic security which in fact promotes heath

12 Relationships Marriage and partnerships reduce the need to rely on formal social and health services Divorce and widowhood seem to have more strains associated with them than the overall gains of being married Marital status therefore is a critical context for social life and interaction There are many trajectories each with their own outcomes and these must be considered independently-pages 58-59

13 Sexuality and Aging First we must deal with ageism and sexuality- discuss some of the pre-conceived notions around this in our society as it applies to the old-lack of interest, lack of attraction, lack of performance, lack of opportunity, societal rejection and stereotypes, media images, and advertising.

14 Sex and Aging Historically sex and marriage was for family reproduction. Gay and lesbian sexuality has never been primarily around reproduction but that does not imply pregnancy and family development. Page 60 There are many changing concepts around monogamy-and more open discussion around alternate intimate ties.

15 Sex and Aging Research attention in this area has tended to concentrate on sexual activity-frequency, type and barriers. Very little work has been done on the qualitative nature of sexual relationships as we age. Most of the research done is cross-sectional and not longitudinal or cohort research. See page 61-Discuss

16 Sex and Aging Some of the difficulties in studying this issue revolve some demographic issues such as partner gaps related to age and gender and marital status, and mortality rates. Review paragraph end of page 63 What key changes might we see in this area of aging over the next generation when the Boomers retire? Discuss

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