voices in the family

Who am I in the autumn years?


Once, we went from middle age to old age. Now it’s common to get an extra 10 to 20 years. For some, this rather new stage of life means uncharted territory regarding sex, money, partnering, self-esteem, friendships, and how we spend our time.

Dr. Dan Gottlieb and his guests Jerrold Lee Shapiro and Louis Cozolino look at who we are, what we need, and what we can uniquely offer in the so-called autumn years of our lives.

Jerrold Shapiro, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice since 1970. He is professor and chair of the department of counseling psychology at Santa Clara University and is the author of “Finding Meaning, Facing Fears in the Autumn Years.”

Lou Cozolino, Ph.D., is a professor of psychology at the Graduate School of Education and Psychology at Pepperdine University. His books include “The Healthy Aging Brain: Sustaining Attachment, Attaining Wisdom.”

Photo by Flickr user Elliot Margolies



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  • Kathleen O’Donnell

    I tuned in to the second half of your program today. What a gift you have given us. “You” includes Dr. Gottlieb and your personable, esteemed, wise and knowledgeable guests, but also many of the people who called in, most especially Catherine and Eli. In recent weeks, I have become concerned that my mother, in her late 80s, is mentally “slipping” and I wondered if it was, after a life of giving, because she no longer had to give in the way she was used to. I also wondered if, even though she is living in a reputable retirement community, that one cannot presume that she has meaningful two way relationships there. One can be surrounded by people, and still be alone. While a certain amount of time alone is healthy, taken to an extreme, we all would go a bit loopy, with nothing else but our own thoughts. Listening to your program made me realize that my gut feelings were probably correct, and that Mom’s neurological health depends on many factors, not least of which is whether she has frequent meaningful emotional connections, and whether she still has opportunities to give. These are concerns I have been mulling over, and your program helped me realize I need to follow up on my thoughts, and help my Mother to renew and sustain the emotional connections she has had in the past. I and my brothers and other relatives can do much to improve the quality of her connections and relationships. Many thanks.




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