Challenges of the Third Age: Meaning and Purpose in Later Life

By Robert S. Weiss; Scott A. Bass | Go to book overview

FIVE
Aging, Place, and Meaning in the Face
of Changing Circumstances
Graham D. Rowles and Hege Ravdal

EDITORS' INTRODUCTION Rowles and Ravdal provide us with a detailed description of our bonds to place and possessions. Should we move from one home to another, as happens often in the Third Age, we may discover that loss of familiar places and objects unsettles us. In the middle of the night we may wake uncertain of our location: uncertain whether we are still where we once lived or have instead been transported to a place that is new and momentarily baffling.

Past places continue to exist in memory, sometimes more strongly than places in our current lives. One of the editors can remember vividly sensations from his boyhood home: the cold metal of the latch to the storm door in back, the thick carpet on the stairway downstairs, the emphatic sound of the garage door's closing. These memories are part of him. In the same way, the older person who moves to be nearer the children, or to a home that is easier to care for, will continue to be aware of the home that was left.

At one level we all recognize the importance of belongings: photographs and other possessions. We spend a lifetime acquiring them. Often, these objects remind us of the experiences that constituted our past and of accomplishments we still take pride in. They help situate

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