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Communication and intimacy in older adulthood

What is intimacy? Intimacy is . . . "warmth, satisfaction, closeness, connection, friendly, touching, caring, spiritual union, emotional union, feeling safe and secure, sharing daily lives, a sense of understanding and a patient attitude, being there for each other, being partners and a team . . . all kinda intertwined." The study of intimacy as an important ingredient in each of our lives has only recently been the focus of social scientists. Over the past twenty years however, numerous scholars have devoted their careers to documenting the nature and importance of intimate relationships across the entirety of the life span. As the nature of intimacy changes throughout our lives, it becomes important to understand what factors are helping each of us attain intimacy and change the very nature of intimacy as we age. Factors such as gender, cultural norms, interpersonal skills, and physical limitations both enhance and limit our ability to maintain intimacy. Therefore, intimacy may best be understood as a communicative process involving the constant negotiation of the level, type and physical manifestation of that intimacy. Certain communication skills that help us to maintain our close relationships can help us to understand how intimacy can be achieved in later life.
Nussbaum, J.F., Miller-Day, M. & Fisher, C. (2009). Communication and intimacy in older adulthood. Girona, Spain: Editoria Aresta.

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