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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wisdom: Ego Integrity vs. Despair (Late adulthood, 65-death)
            Existential Question: Is it OK to Have Been Me?
Erikson Last Sage of Development
             As we grow older and become senior citizens we tend to slow down our productivity and explore life as a retired person. It is during this time that we contemplate our accomplishments and are able to develop integrity if we see ourselves as leading a successful life. If we see our life as unproductive, or feel that we did not accomplish our life goals, we become dissatisfied with life and develop despair, often leading to depression and hopelessness.
           The final developmental task is retrospection: people look back on their lives and accomplishments. They develop feelings of contentment and integrity if they believe that they have led a happy, productive life. They may instead develop a sense of despair if they look back on a life of disappointments and unachieved goals.
         This stage can occur out of the sequence when an individual feels they are near the end of their life (such as when receiving a terminal disease diagnosis).

The Importance of Social Relationships in Old Age

           While the Baby Boomers were still young adults, Erick Erikson one of the founding developmental psychologists in Western Society, wrote the book “Vital Involvement in Old Age.” Now as the Boomers approach their lives as seniors and society is rocked by their presence and the the effects of “Aging Society” it is important for us all and particularly our senior citizens to sit back and take look at their lives. Erikson claimed that the central factor for seniors is the achievement of wisdom.  Failing that he suggested an alternative live flow dominated by despair.
         Unlike relatively simple “Intelligence”, Wisdom reflects an understanding decisions about behaviour in social relationships.

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