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Free will and determinism are like a game of cards. The hand that is dealt you represents determinism. The way you play your hand represents free will...

A Game of Cards, 1952..

This website is designed to serve as a forum for the exploration of freedom in the process of aging, regardless of your age. Freedom implies the liberty to make choices that impact quality of life and overall sense of meaning and purpose. It is the freedom to realize your true self. Self knowledge is a key factor in making healthy decisions about your future. This website aims to facilitate self exploration and provide information that inspires the psychological quest for healthy and happy living as you age.


Anxiety should not be feared. In fact, it can be a beacon leading towards the areas in one's life that are requiring deeper reflection and understanding. Unfortunately, this is not the typical response to anxiety. Instead it is cursed, feared, and great effort is put into “controlling” it. And somehow, it won’t go away. Studies have shown anxiety disorders to be the most common psychiatric diagnosis in later life.

As one approaches their later years, there is much to peace to be made. Unrealized dreams leave an individual with the feeling of failure. Increasing limitations leave an individual with feelings of dread. When we are young, we are often told, “This too shall pass”, or “There is still tomorrow.” However, as one ages, tomorrows don’t hold the same possibilities they used to and the limitations experienced will only pass with the final passing of life into death. If one is afraid of dying, as many in this culture are, death is of no consolation. Therefore, it is simple to see how the limitations and losses of freedom would produce deep and unsettling anxiety. Given that it appears to in the nature of human beings to be anxious about the future, old age, to many, is the most anxious time of their lives. There are ample changes taking place; retirement, loss of loved ones, often having to change residence, loss of material possessions, failing health and money worries. Furthermore, the older person must make peace with the hopes and dreams that will not be realized in their lifetime. Anxiety is a normal emotion, but it becomes neurotic and pathological when the emotional adjustments are not made to respond to it.

Change in life is obviously inevitable, as is the unpredictable. Anxiety comes from the fear that one will be consumed by an overwhelming experience and will become trapped by it. Decreased sensory stimulation, coupled with physical illness and limitation can easily enhance the sensation of being trapped and therefore increase the experience of fear and anxiety. Surveys have found that the somatic symptoms of anxiety, such as shortness of breath and rapid heart rate, increase in old age. Symptoms of anxiety frequently coexist with other psychiatric disorders and different medical problems. It can also be a feature of brain disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. It is a common symptom accompanying hearing and vision loss, and of course, anxiety symptoms can be part of the psychological reaction to illness and hospitalization. New strategies of choice and coping are necessary in dealing with anxiety, and yet, if an older person finds themselves alone and isolated it is going to be very hard to make sense of their anxious experience, learn to manage the symptoms and arrive at a deeper understanding of it. It is never too early to familiarize oneself with the nature of one’s anxieties and to learn how to enter into a more comfortable and less threatening experience of them. Not only is this possible, but it can truly be a source of empowerment and guidance.

In psychotherapy, anxieties are most often used to arrive at more specific fears, and it is in addressing those fears that individuals may ultimately gain their freedom. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps an individual identify the triggers for anxiety and teaches them to control the flooding sensations that take over their mind and body during anxious states. Given the challenges to coping with anxiety in later life, it behooves us all to expand our coping repertoire so that we have more choices and greater insight at a time of increasing limitations.