Does our Identity Change when we Age?

Does our identity change when we age?

Does our identity change when we age? Why is this a relevant question? The sympathetic Belgian psychiatrist Paul Verhaeghe is very precise about this (from his book The end of psychotherapy): “Without identity we are no more than our body.”

What is the core of our identity? What makes our identity so important? The answer Verhaeghe gives is very surprising: we have an identity because we share an enormous amount of human traits with other humans. The Latin identitas means: similarity.


We share our identity with the group, with the many groups, to which we belong. We belong to these groups because we share the same symbolic expressions. Assisted by those symbols our identity nurses self-awareness, stability and continuity. That’s why it is so important.

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How to organize neighborhood care?

How to organize neighborhood care - shopping together

Neighborhood care is booming in The Netherlands and Germany. More and more citizens participate in social networks in their neighborhoods to ensure care support. Such shared support compensates for the rise of social, physical, psychological and cognitive shortcomings when aging. Neighborhood care is a clever choice when aging.

With this type of self-organization citizens compensate for the shortcomings of aging and for the shortcomings of public and commercial care services. Particularly given the current health crisis, these initiatives are more than welcome. However, how do you organize neighborhood care?

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Statistics that get us off guard

Statistics. In these turbulent times the media throw one statistic after the other at us. Every statistic is countered by a ‘culture of skepticism’. This skepticism is understandable, but not very productive.

It’s not easy to produce reliable statistics and often not very easy to understand their significance. More specifically so when statistics try to grapple everyday changes, as with the covid-19-pandemia.

But before you think this blog is about the reliability and validity of statistics, its not. It just wants to throw some light on how statistics became an intricate part of our everyday life. 

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Cherish your sweet memories

Cherish your sweet memories

The other day sweet memories awoke. A friend of mine posted a map of a small village at the Belgium border were I used to cycle with my race bike. Especially when the sun was shining and I had some time off, I frequently went for a ride there. His post made me go back in time.

My memories of these rides swiftly and vividly came back to me. I was amazed how precisely I could picture the tracks I used to ride. Where I had to go left. Where the roads were rough. Or where I was going down or up and had to push for some extra power. Sweet memories indeed.

My memories

However, these are my memories. The memories of the rides I made. The rides appear as pictures, or even as a movie, in my head. Do the people I left behind in The Netherlands will remember me as ‘cycling Tom’? Even if they might, they will never share my memories.

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How to cross personal and social boundaries

90 year old

Why does a woman of 90 say: “I am not old. My neighbor is old.” And how old is your neighbor? “91.” With her statement the 90 year old woman emphasizes her independence. She warns you not to cross her personal boundaries. To cross personal and social boundaries is an effort.

The fear of crossing personal and social boundaries is a common human quality. Most people don’t want to ask others for help. The fear of losing independence is the biggest psychological threshold. On the other hand, nearly everybody is willing and prepared to help others. 

To get something done we will have to cross our personal and social boundaries. Many personal issues we address with AGEwithCARE tackle this challenge.* Yet there is a limit in how much care you can take of yourself. Our personal time, space, and behavior just have their boundaries. How do we cross these boundaries? 

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Assistive technologies counteract aging conditions

All sorts of conditions determine our everyday behavior, and fix us in time and space. They seem to leave us very little room to maneuver. For instance, given time we will age. Fortunately all kind of assistive technologies can help us to cope with the conditions that inherently accompany aging.

Assistive technologies compensate adverse effects


Most of the assistive technologies compensate for the adverse effects of conditions that determine our everyday live:

  • Our innate physical limitations, such as aging;
  • Shortcomings and risks associated with our physical, social and political environment;
  • Laws and rules;
  • Macro-economic developments that determine our financial status;
  • And technological possibilities.

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