By Graham D. Rowles
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Extra resources for Aging and Milieu. Environmental Perspectives on Growing Old
More recently I have concluded that what he accomplished was even more remarkable, though less original: He rediscovered the natural strengths of the extended family. Having been led to his concern for the old through his love for the grandfather who raised him (Butler, 1975), Robert Butler would appreciate the fact that my son made a very similar discovery. That the rest of us acknowledge our ties to the old so seldom is not only their loss, but also ours. This chapter concludes with a confession.
That article was a portrait, not of a man, but of a relationship. The man still lives, but a portion of the relationship has died, and in this chapter I shall chronicle the small deaths, of individuals and processes, which have occurred over 29 AGING AND M I L I E U : ENVIRONMENTAL PERSPECTIVES ON G R O W I N G O L D Copyright © 1 9 8 3 by Academic Press, Inc. All rights of* reproduction in anv form reserved. ISBN 0 - 1 2 - 5 9 9 9 5 0 - X 30 Nancy Datan the intervening years which have brought my son to the threshold of adolescence, me toi middle age,; and Leland to old age.
The narcissistic insults of physical aging highlight the middle-age changes in activity and object relations. These interact for the parents of adolescent children: In middle age, the dependency of infancy and the autonomy of young adulthood, which have long since matured into responsibility for others, the oedipal passions, which have matured into genital love and the nurture of the next generation, and the infantile narcissism, which has been reinvested in the children, all undergo a swift obsolescence in middle age.