In our youth, we occupy ourselves with gaining independence, seeking to wrest as much of it as we possibly can from our parents, caretakers or others germane to our lives at this time. The goal is to get it, in spite of whether it’s prudent or whether it may bring on negative consequences.

seniorAs we get older and separate from those who raised and mentored us, the independence we’ve established helps us carve out a life path for ourselves as we begin living by our own rules, not someone else’s.

As we reach old age, independence becomes something we’re just trying to hold onto, often fiercely, in spite of the influences of father time.

For many years now, I’ve provided altar service at my church; and much of this service has been with the same priest. He’s now 95 years old. Not surprisingly, he has experienced several falls recently, and needs considerable assistance to just physically get around. The chants for him to retire are understandably getting louder and louder, but he soldiers on, resisting the prodding for him to step down.

As life’s clock ticks on and on, whatever happens that places us squarely in the care of others – regardless of the extent, is hard to face.

Independence is a priceless possession, and once we’ve earned, experienced and reaped the benefits of it, we tend not to part with it quietly.


Joseph Wegmann, R.Ph., LCSW is a licensed clinical pharmacist and a clinical social worker with more than thirty years of experience in the field of psychopharmacology. His diverse professional background in psychopharmacology and counseling affords him a unique perspective on medication management issues. In addition to consulting with numerous psychiatric facilities, he has presented psychopharmacology seminars to thousands of clinicians in 46 states.

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