‘Late-life crisis’ affecting people over 60

One-third of people in their sixties go through a “late-life crisis” due to bereavement, personal illness or injury, psychologists in London have said.

Around 300 people aged over 60 in Britain completed an online survey for the research. Of the 33 percent who went through a crisis, bereavement was the most common trigger, BBC reported.

The researchers from the universities of Greenwich and Sussex also interviewed 20 people who took part in the poll.

The study showed that those who reported a “crisis” had all experienced two or more stressful events that had usually affected their health or someone else’s, making them more aware of frailty and mortality.

But a person’s response to their experiences appeared to be determined by how they had viewed life.

One in five said their views on life were unchanged – but one in three appeared to be heading in a “downward spiral” avoiding making plans to avoid being disappointed.

A respondent identified only as TJ said: “I have another 20-odd years yet and I fully intend to live it, not just exist.”

But another identified as EM said: “How much more can you take? How much more do you need to take? It’s coming to terms, I think, with the reality of what life is now. And it’s hard.”

Those who felt negative often reported becoming withdrawn and increasingly isolated, BBC said.

Oliver Robinson, who is based at the University of Greenwich, said: “The findings suggest that the 60-69 decade is a key time for developmental crisis.”

“For the vast majority, it’s a good decade. But for a considerable minority – up to a third – it is not. People realise that they can’t carry on as before,” he told BBC.

He said that the reasons behind these “later-life crises” differed from the more recognised midlife crisis, where people are more concerned with where they have got to in life and, often, about their finances.

“It seems that when loss-inducing events occur together or in close proximity in time, a person’s capacity to cope in their sixties is overwhelmed and a later-life crisis is precipitated,” he said.

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