When 71-year-old Jay lost his wife in 2011, he received comfort from JFCS’ spiritual care services and its Bereavement Support Group. “JFCS and Seniors At Home helped me get through a tough time,” he said. That’s why Jay didn’t hesitate to return to Seniors At Home this spring, when he began dating. “I felt like I was cheating on my wife,” he said, “and I needed to talk through issues I haven’t addressed in almost 50 years—sex and intimacy.”
“It’s not unusual for many people in their 60s, 70s, 80s, and even 90s to experience conflicting feelings about love, romance, and physical intimacy,” said Seniors At Home care manager and gerontologist Gwen Harris, MA. “Many times, widows and widowers don’t know how to broach these subjects with the people they’re dating,” and “often they feel guilty for falling in love again.”
For others, Gwen said, their desires for physical intimacy may have changed, and communicating these changes to spouses, partners, and companions can be difficult. “We give many clients the support and tools to have conversations with their significant others,” she said.
In Jay’s case, having the opportunity to express a mix of feelings—grief, guilt, longing, and delight—proved liberating. “My adult children have encouraged me to ‘move on,’” he said, “and now I finally can.”
To learn more about consultative and other services for seniors and their families, call 415-449-3777.