Advertisement

Intimacy pp 371-382 | Cite as

Intimacy Issues and the Older Patient

  • Margot Tallmer

Abstract

Retirement, role loss, health, and other variables related to aging have been examined with regard to their impact on older persons. Their effects have been measured and carefully documented. Intimacy in the elderly, defined here as a basic need for pursuit of and satisfaction in close relationships embracing but clearly not confined to sexual activity, has not been as seriously or frequently considered. It has been scrutinized much more carefully in relation to children. Spitz and Bowlby, for example, have dramatically illuminated the need for intimacy and, through their writings and research, have demonstrated the extreme negative effects of contact deprivation. Under more rigorous laboratory conditions, Harlow’s monkeys have evidenced the dramatic changes brought about by lack of contact. Children do not seem able to retain an inner image of a mothering figure until a sufficient time-related developmental sequence has taken place; this inner awareness of and conviction of the mother is a sine qua non of normal growth. In a further development, the child and later the adult need to know that they exist in the feelings and thoughts of another person. The certainty of being part of someone else’s existence validates one’s being, one’s personhood, and eventually one’s constancy.

Keywords

Successful Aging Sexual Intimacy Married Person Older Patient Mothering Figure 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Blau, Z. S. Structural constraints on friendship in old age. American Socialogical Review, 1961, 26 (3), 429–439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Blum, J., & Tallmer, M. The therapist vis-a-vis the older patient. Psychotherapy: Theory and practice, 1977, 24 (4), 361–367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Gumming, E., & Henry, W. Growing old. New York: Basic Books, 1961.Google Scholar
  4. Havighurst, R., Neugarten, B. L., & Tobin, S. Disengagement and patterns of aging. Paper read at International Social Science on Social Gerontology, Sweden, 1963.Google Scholar
  5. Lowenthal, M. Personal communication, 1970.Google Scholar
  6. Lowenthal, M., & Boler, D. Voluntary vs. involuntary social withdrawal. Journal of Gerontology, 1965, 20 (3), 363–371.Google Scholar
  7. Tallmer, M., & Kutner, B. Disengagement and the stresses of aging. Journal of Gerontology, 1969, 24 (1), 70–75.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margot Tallmer
    • 1
  1. 1.Hunter CollegeCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations