Sexual: Experiencing Love in Later years
Phillip and Katherine Tindle started out as high school sweethearts. "Got a little more serious at university," says Phillip. "Her father was a professor of mine in forestry. I thought it would be a good idea if I got engaged at that point as I was having him for three more courses. He might not flunk his son-in-law."
It was love, not grades, that kept this active couple together. They've been married 62 years, most recently as residents of Tapestry at the O'Keefe—Arbutus Walk in Vancouver's charming Kitsilano neighbourhood. Both say common interests have kept them happy. "Looking after our four kids for one thing," says Katherine. "Playing tennis and skiing—the usual things people do." Clearly, they're still very interested in each other. Asked if they enjoyed much privacy at Tapestry, Katherine quickly says, "Absolutely. If we didn't have privacy, we wouldn't be here!"
"We do know that people stay sexually active into their 90s," says Marie Carlson, a Vancouver-based nurse who specializes in sexuality and older adults as a sexual health clinician. Sex drive does decrease with age, but the emotional comfort that comes with intimacy—even on as simple a level as holding hands—is an important part of a rich and fulfilling retirement.
What people need to feel at any age is possibilities, Carlson suggests. For some, sexuality can mean kissing and touching, but for others, "an important emotional connection can come down to things you do for each other."
For the Tindles at Tapestry, they've found there's more time for each other when the staff is looking after you too. "They know your name after the second day you've been in the place," says Phillip. "My wife and I drink milk, and before our backsides hit the chair, our milk is on the table."
This is one of a series of articles detailing seven pillars of a fulfilling retirement. Six other articles discuss other critical aspects of an ideal retirement including the following: