We live in a youth-obsessed culture. Older folks have, up until recently, been put on the back burner. But with the baby boomers-the second largest U.S. generation, numbering 74.9 million in 2015-their sheer number demands attention in everything from advertising to health care to product development.
And this attention also extends to the emotional and physical connections between siblings.
(Now, you readers in your 50s and early 60s, listen up. You may not officially be counted as seniors, but you are close enough to give a close read of this chapter.)
Statistics show that nearly 80 percent of seniors have at least one living sibling. According to a major study, almost half of the people over sixty-five see at least one sibling every week, and a whopping 97 percent of older brothers and sisters keep their relationships going by e-mail, phone, or personal contact.
If you ask siblings in young adulthood to name their closest relatives, they’ll list their spouse, their children, and possibly a parent. Siblings often end up fourth on the list.
When you ask the same question of older adults, they say they feel closer to siblings than to any other relatives except their children. Surprising? Maybe.
Remember a while back when you were asked to label your sibling relationship(s) as intimate, congenial, loyal, apathetic, or hostile? Maybe you were a bit distant or too invested in your “new family” or still harboring a few childhood hurts. But when two leading researchers investigated sibling relationship of folks sixty years and older, they found that 83 percent reported feeling “extremely close.” In a later study, 45 percent of siblings (aged sixty-plus) described their relationship as “intimate” or “congenial,” and another 35 percent described their connection as “loyal.”
So much for all that completion and bickering earlier on.
When researchers determined that the sibling relationship is the longest-lasting human relationship, they weren’t just whistling “Dixie.”
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish