Self-centeredness or self-absorption in old age is a complex phenomenon. It is a maladaptive quality related to coping and subjective well-being in the last phase of life. The person having a self-absorption style of life fails to develop other focused qualities, (which are the signs of wisdom) in old age. Such persons have a difficult time experiencing positive ageing.

Self-centeredness has many forms. A self-absorbed person focuses on him or herself and gives priority to the meeting of personal needs, desires, appetites and preferences. They do not give importance to the needs of others (even to their family members or caregivers). Self-focus may be of two forms-(a) I am special and (b) something is wrong with me. These two forms interact with the ageing process. The elderly thinks-“I am special because I am old” and should be cared for first. When he says that “something is wrong with me”, he is of the view that due to my vulnerability to disease and disability I should be given priority.

To overcome this lifestyle it is suggested that the elderly should show positive affection for his/her loved one.

Develop a habit of listening to others talk about themselves before reciprocating. Be grateful to others for their help. Expression of gratitude to others leads to positivity in old age. Check your habit of verbalizing your unnecessary complaints.

A maladaptive lifestyle like self-centeredness produces a biased form of selective attention on oneself. The inflated sense of self is a barrier in focusing on others and thus leads to maladjustment in later life.


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