There are no age limits on counselling!

Over the past six months or so I have had immediate or distant contact with members of our community who fit into the ‘Seniors’ category, that is, those who are over 60 years old. My contact with these wonderful and wise older people has come because they have been touched by some form of adversity in their lives.

A life event has meant that they are dealing with a stressful and unexpected issue, like the death of a loved one, a negative medical diagnosis or a family breakdown. I have been fortunate enough to be able to offer these people a little bit of support and a listening ear.

Each time I have done this, I have asked the same question, “Have you considered speaking with a counsellor?” Disconcertingly, on each occasion the response has been something like an indignant, “I don’t need to see a counsellor, what are they going to do?” or “Why would I do that, what do they know?” or “I’ll be right mate, I’ll just get on with it.” In my role as the Director of CatholicCare Social Services these answers surprised me. My surprise led me to reflect on why these seniors shared a view that counselling wasn’t for them.

So I did some research and quickly realised that these ‘good old folk’ grew up in a very different time ‒ a time when Newcastle was a thriving steel city with the billowing smoke of the BHP clouding the city, there was no such thing as air conditioning, not many people had a phone or television set. The culture of the town was one of resilience and ‘getting on with it’ because life was difficult and that’s just what you did.

Be that as it may, our experiences do have an impact on each and every one of us, regardless of our age. That impact can be anything from feeling a little stressed, working through the feelings of grief and loss as a loved one moves into an aged care facility or adjusting to life on your own after the death of your much-loved spouse. Whatever the reason, a trained and experienced counsellor can help.

So, just because you might be old enough to remember when Dame Joan Sutherland made her debut with the Royal Opera Company in 1952; you can remember hearing about the Korean war ending on the wireless in 1953 or you recall reading about Qantas launching its first international flight in 1958 in the newspaper, that doesn’t mean that you are too old to pick up the phone and book an appointment to speak with a counsellor who can help you work through any of the issues that life might have put in your way.

After all, what do you have to lose?

CatholicCare is here to help, call us on 4979 1120.

 

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Gary Christensen

Gary Christensen is Acting Director, CatholicCare Social Services Hunter-Manning. Please visit catholiccare.org.au.

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