This article has been excerpted from Joan Price's book, The Ultimate Guide to Sex After 50: How to Maintain–or Regain!–a Spicy, Satisfying Sex Life (2015, Cleis Press).
What does it mean to be sexually well or sexually healthy in later life? This question has not gotten much attention until recently, given the prevalence of stigmatic beliefs about aging sexuality and lack of understanding about aging sexuality. The reality is people express themselves sexually across the lifespan, and even though sexual scripts may change over time, sexual expression continues and it remains important in relationships and for overall well-being.
One important component of Dennis Dailey’s “Circles of Sexuality” is sexual identity, which incorporates biological gender, gender identity, gender role, and sexual orientation. As professionals in the field of aging, we know that these aspects of identity are dynamic throughout the life course, often taking on unique meanings in later life.
The recent good news that Congress is providing first-time funding for the Elder Justice Act to prevent elder abuse provides hope that justice in aging is on the horizon. It also provides an opportunity for us to reflect upon what justice means for all of us as we age.
Describing the way frail elders and dying people were cared for in post–World War II Britain, Dr. John Hinton wrote in his 1967 book, Dying (London: Viking Press), “The dissatisfied dead cannot noise abroad the negligence they have experienced.” Half a century later, and an ocean away, Hinton’s statement is sadly resonant.
Now in the Third Quarter of Life, baby boomers know that the years between ages 50 and 75 rarely prolong the prime time of their lives, physically or professionally. Nonetheless, most look forward to possibilities unimaginable in youth. “Sixty is the new 40,” promises the media. Yet do baby boomers accentuate the positives of aging without facing up to the challenges of advancing years?
On Thursday morning AIA15 attendees gathered together for the final general session of the 2015 Aging in America Conference. Sponsored by AARP, the session was a great finale to a week of sharing ideas, policies, lessons learned and research findings in the interest of improving the quality of life for older adults. Keynote speaker Debra Whitman, PhD, Executive Vice President of Policy, Strategy and International Affairs at AARP, spoke about the critical need for changes in our communities to make them livable for our aging society.
At the halfway point of the AiA15, no one is showing any signs of slowing down. Wednesday morning’s general session started with a moving tribute to the men and women who served and worked through World War II, with special guests that included Elinor Otto who, at 95, was an original "Rosie the Riveter" and only retired this year from her job at a Boeing plant. Elinor was joined by three Tuskegee Airmen.
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