Issues around Ageing, Death and Dying

Although intellectually we all know that one day we will die, we are generally reluctant to think about death and we live our lives as if we are going to be in the world forever.

This natural preference to avoid thoughts of death is, in part, a coping mechanism. It would be very distressing if we were constantly aware of our own mortality.

Death is inevitable. It is a personal journey that each individual approaches in their own unique way. Our ideas about death may be shaped by cultural, social and religious factors as well as by previous experiences of the death of others. In life, we may encounter the loss of someone close to us and this can have some bearing on how we come to view our own eventual death.

Life expectancy in Europe has been steadily rising for many years. In the UK, it is now believed that one in five people alive today will live to be 100. A person born in the UK in 2011 can expect to live to 80 years of age, almost double the UK life expectancy in 1901.

Growing older can bring challenges

As the population grows older some people struggle with issues relating to the ageing process. Ageing can be frightening and frustrating, especially in a culture that celebrates youthfulness. In therapy people often describe complex feelings associated with ageing. Sometimes the later years of our lives are marked by loss and grief as people we’ve known for many years, both friends and family, die.

While death is unpredictable, some people know they have begun the process of dying. Through illness, for example, we may be informed that life is ending. Facing the end of life is a personal experience that may evoke feelings of anxiety, sadness, regret, hopelessness, helplessness and powerlessness. Common processes that those facing the end of their life experience include denial, anger, fear and acceptance.

For some people an awareness of impending death evokes existential concerns about the meaning and purpose of life. For some, dying brings questions and anxiety about what happens after death.

Therapy can help resolve concerns around ageing, death and dying

Death anxiety is common in people of all ages even when death is not imminent. Healthy people can become hyper-aware of their own mortality and thoughts of mortality may lead to a persistent and irrational fear of death. Anxiety about death or dying can be very distressing and may impede one’s ability to engage with life.

Some people struggle with the process of ageing and find growing older psychologically challenging. Counselling can help people make sense of the ageing process and come to terms with the physical changes that occur when growing older.

Equally, therapy can be useful in exploring difficult emotions around death and dying. Speaking with an experienced therapist can help explore the many complex issues related to the end of life.

Reaching the end of a long life has rewards but it also brings challenges for many people on physical, emotional and psychological levels. Support is available for anyone facing the ageing process, growing older and mortality.

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When I trained as a psychotherapist, me and my fellow students were given the assignment of doing something we’d never done before. The course tutors wanted us to get in touch with how scary it can be to do something new, to feel the fear of the unknown. I chose to …

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Client Reviews

One Therapy London

Ameet Magan

Ameet is from London and holds an MSc in Integrative Psychotherapy He has more than a decade’s experience of working in a one-to-one capacity with clients He has also trained in groupwork and has worked since 2016 as a group psychotherapist and clinical practitioner with the NHS in East London Ameet is a warm, grounded and reflective person He works with compassion...

Kensington

Therapist Amrita Athwal
Amrita Athwal

Amrita works with adults in an integrative way, drawing on various therapeutic approaches tailored to meet the needs of each client She provides a safe space to help clients better understand themselves She offers short term and long term therapy Amrita has experience of working with clients on issues such as trauma, addiction, depression, anxiety, relationship...

Bloomsbury

Therapist Annie Curran-White
Annie Curran-White

With a Masters degree in Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy, Annie offers both short and long term, open-ended therapy to individuals Her experience includes depression, stress and anxiety, bereavement, loss, personal development and trauma Annie has additional, specialist training working with survivors of rape, and adult and childhood sexual...

Soho

Therapist Antonella Bonetti
Antonella Bonetti

Antonella is a psychodynamic therapist offering short- and long-term therapy to adults She also sees couples facing issues within their relationship Since obtaining her Master’s degree in Psychodynamic Therapy & Counselling, Antonella has worked in different organisational settings (charities, NHS and university counselling services) helping people from diverse...

Bloomsbury

Kensington

Therapist Ava Kinsey
Ava Kinsey

Ava is a qualified psychodynamic psychotherapist and counsellor She works with the NHS both as an adult psychotherapist at a complex trauma unit, and as a perinatal psychotherapist working with mothers and their infants and toddlers Before that, she worked as a psychotherapist in secondary care at the NHS, treating clients who experienced early relational/sexual trauma or...

Bloomsbury

Therapist Barbara Beyaz
Barbara Beyaz

Barbara brings a warm, non-judgmental, and accepting attitude to her work with clients As an integrative Psychotherapist, she draws from a range of theoretical perspectives which allows her to tailor therapy to the needs of the client Barbara thinks that healing and individual growth happen when difficulties in living are explored with empathy, and the client's unique...

Fitzrovia

Therapist Barbara Perini
Barbara Perini

Barbara is an accredited member of BACP, holding an MSc in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy and adhering to the BACP ethical framework Her approach is open-ended, offering both short-term and long-term therapy Barbara has also trained in Dynamic Interpersonal Therapy (DIT), a short-term (16 sessions), semi-structured individual therapy developed for mood...

Oxford Circus

Therapist Ben Brackenbury
Ben Brackenbury

Ben believes that at times we all struggle with the challenges life has to offer and therapy provides a safe, confidential, non-judgemental space to explore this Ben works with individuals to make sense of who they are and how they respond to the world today, and to explore new ways of being Ben is also sensitive to how difficult it might be for a client to talk to a...

Oxford Circus

Therapist Ben Marks
Ben Marks

Ben is an experienced psychotherapist who has helped many people through difficult times in their lives He works with clients with a wide range of personal issues around depression, anxiety, bereavement, trauma, abuse, loneliness, stresses within the workplace, low self esteem, relationship and sexual problems including performance anxiety, erectile dysfunction and...

Oxford Circus

Therapist Catherine Hammett
Catherine Hammett

Catherine offers a safe, confidential space for clients bringing a wide range of issues to therapy  These include anxiety, low self-esteem, relationship difficulties, anger and work-related stress  Catherine also supports clients experiencing depression, bereavement and life transitions  Among her specialist interests are post-traumatic growth and working with adult...

Oxford Circus