Are you trustworthy? Do you have friends and family who are? Professional colleagues? People who provide services for you? And what does it mean to trust someone? Are there different kinds or degrees of trust? For example, I know someone I can count on to not do what they say they’re going to do. Usually when we talk about trust, we mean the opposite of this, but in a sense I do know for sure what I can and can’t expect from that person—isn’t that a kind of trust?

Women Over 55: What Does Trust Mean to You?

What does it take for you to trust someone? That’s a hard question, isn’t it? I can think of people I trust enough to tell them something in confidence. And yet, I believe most of us have one person we feel we can trust completely. So, if a friend tells me something in confidence, will I feel okay sharing it with that one person I trust completely, because I know they will not tell anyone? (Except, of course, the one person they trust completely…)

Whom do we trust to take care of our children? Do we trust their teachers? If something happens to us, whom do we trust to decide what to do with our furry friends? I think many of us hope our pets will die before we do because we don’t like to think about what will happen to them, even if we have a plan.

I had already been thinking about the issue of trust when I joined a workshop with Sara Zeff Gerber, PhD, on “Solo Aging.” (See her book Essential Retirement Planning for Solo Agers. It is an excellent book for anyone, solo or not, and a good read no matter how long from now you intend to retire, if ever.) There is, of course, the issue of wills and trusts and powers of attorney and all that kind of thing. And that is very important, but even more important is: whom do you trust with your health care directive? They will decide whether or not you live, if it comes to that. That feels like a different level of trust than deciding who should handle my money if I can’t.

Trust As We Age

As we get older, we start to lose friends and family members whom we may have counted on for all sorts of tangible and intangible things. Several years ago my oldest childhood friend died. As adults, we lived on different sides of the country, so we didn’t count on one another for everyday sorts of things, but she’s the only one who shared certain memories with me. We even had a code that we used when we solemnly promised something to one another, and with that, I trusted her completely. I don’t have a replacement for that. Would you?

One of the things we know contributes to a happy, healthy, fulfilled life as we get older is having some good friends and a comfortable social circle. There’s no way to ensure this, of course, but something we can do is be a good friend, and that involves being trustworthy. So, on a scale of one to five, how trustworthy are you? Be really honest about this. You don’t have to show what you come up with to anyone, but it might be helpful to share the question with one person you trust to tell you the truth. Not someone who just tells you what makes you feel good, although we all need some of those people in our lives too!

“Trust” is a big topic to think about. Starting with ourselves seems like the best way to begin.

Learn More…

The Prime Spark Membership Community is designed for women 55 (or close) and older to support one anotherWe learn and grow together while furthering the mission of Prime Spark. Membership currently is closed. If you’re interested in joining, please send an email to [email protected] and ask to be placed on the waitlist.

Sara Hart, PhD, is an author, speaker, and coach. She is leading the charge to change how older women are seen and treated in our society. She is the creator of Prime Spark, a movement to transform how women over 55 take responsibility for their futures. Sara is the author of three books. She also has over forty years of experience in leadership development, coaching, and building thinking environments. She was the director of training and development for a Fortune 100 companySara also was an executive director of the Institute for Women and Technology. To learn more about claiming your power as a senior woman, visit Prime Spark today!