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10 Ways to Set Healthy Boundaries After 60

By Joanie Marx April 05, 2024 Mindset

Establishing healthy boundaries in your life protects your mental and emotional well-being. From saying no to commitments that overwhelm you or drain your energy to saying yes more often to what makes your heart sing, healthy boundaries can prevent mental clutter and create space for activities that bring you joy and fulfillment.

While healthy boundaries can lead to improved emotional well-being and strengthen your relationships, it can also be uncomfortable. In fact, many women of our generation were not taught how to establish healthy boundaries, making the act of doing so overwhelming and intimidating.

In part two of this two-part article series, I’m going to share with you 10 steps to set healthy boundaries after 60.

Let’s begin with some common challenges to setting healthy boundaries.

Challenges to Setting Healthy Boundaries

Societal Expectations

Many women were raised and educated to being people pleasers. Breaking away from these deeply ingrained expectations can be challenging and may lead to feelings of guilt or a fear of being seen as selfish.

Generational Dynamics

Navigating relationships with younger family members or partners who hold different views on boundaries can be tough. As a result, you may face resistance or pushback when establishing healthy boundaries that were not discussed or emphasized in previous generations.

Caregiving Responsibilities

At this stage of life, you may find yourself in caregiving roles for partners, parents, or grandchildren. Balancing these responsibilities while setting boundaries for your own self-care and personal needs can be a delicate and challenging task.

Fear of Abandonment

You may be hesitant to set boundaries out of fear of jeopardizing existing relationships. This can establish deep levels of anxiety and fear that asserting your needs could lead to rejection, abandonment, or isolation.

Limiting Beliefs About Aging

It’s possible you may have internalized limiting beliefs that your needs or desires are less important as you age. If so, you may feel pressure to prioritize other people’s needs over your own, leading to difficulty in asserting boundaries.

Emotional Attachments

It’s common to have developed deep emotional attachments to the dynamic of relationships. This makes it harder to establish boundaries. As a result, you may struggle with fear of losing the connection or damaging the relationship by setting new and healthier boundaries.

Lack of Support or Understanding

If the people you are setting boundaries with do not understand or respect your needs, you can feel a lack of support. This can increase the difficulty of establishing and maintaining boundaries effectively.

Addressing these challenges requires a balance of self-reflection, self-compassion, self-love, along with a willingness to prioritize your own well-being.

Seeking timely support from trusted friends, therapists, or support groups can also be valuable in navigating these challenges and gaining the confidence to set and maintain healthy boundaries.

10 Steps to Setting Healthy Boundaries

Here are ten steps to help women in this age group establish and preserve healthy boundaries:

Reflect on Personal Values

Take time to identify and clarify your own values and priorities. Self-reflection will provide a foundation for setting boundaries that align with your beliefs and needs.

Identify Specific Boundaries

Determine areas where you feel your boundaries have been crossed or compromised. These could include personal space, emotional well-being, time commitments, or any other aspects of your life that are important to you.

Communicate Openly and Assertively

Express your boundaries clearly and directly to the people involved. Be respectful yet firm in your communication, using “I” statements to express how you feel and what you need.

Practice Self-Care

Prioritize self-love practices and self-care activities that nourish your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Lovingly taking care of yourself empowers you to set and maintain boundaries effectively.

Surround Yourself with Supportive People

Surrounding yourself with individuals who respect your boundaries and values. Seek relationships with people who understand and support your need for healthy boundaries.

Learn to Say “No”

Become comfortable saying “no”. Set boundaries around commitments and activities that do not align with you or drain your energy.

Seek Professional Support If Needed

Seeking guidance from a therapist or counselor who specializes in relationship dynamics is important. They can offer valuable insights and strategies others cannot.

Establish Consequences

Determine consequences that require enforcing when boundaries are repeatedly violated. They can include limiting contact by reducing time spent together or reevaluating the relationship.

Evaluate and Adjust Boundaries

Review boundaries periodically to ensure they still reflect your current needs and values. Adjustments may be necessary as circumstances and relationships evolve.

Practice Self-Compassion

Be kind to yourself and recognize you deserve to have your boundaries respected just as much as others do.

Be sure to adjust these steps, adding in your own approaches to ensure that your relationships are serving your needs, desires, and highest good.

Setting and maintaining healthy boundaries in your relationships is not an overnight fix. It is a lifelong process which involves practicing self-love daily and maintaining conscious levels of self-awareness.

By being more aware of the challenges to establishing healthy boundaries and following these 10 steps, you can improve your well-being and enhance your relationships.

I invite you to join me in the video where I will share additional insights, including journal prompts and action items to help you integrate what you are learning.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Have you set healthy boundaries with the people around you? Was it difficult for you to do so? Have there been issues in relation to your boundaries?

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How can I watch your video. I desperately need to learn how to say No and set boundaries.

Vanya Drumchiyska

Hi Ada, simply scroll to the very top of the article. The video is there and you have to click on it to play it.
I hope this helps!


In my 40’s I started my emotional house cleaning. I had no problem setting boundaries. I’m strong and clear in my communication. The problem is that sometimes, some people refuse to honor them. Since that time I’ve had completely distanced myself from several people. It doesn’t MATTER if they are family. If you wouldn’t accept certain treatment from a friend, you shouldn’t accept it from anyone.


I’ve recently, in the past few yrs had to set a no relationship with.a relative at least for the time being! I’m 63 and tried over the yrs to love and encourage this person to a healthier life style and he is a grown up so I had to stop! I was the one staying stressed! But then I realized he had never treated me as well as he should and I was not going to allow this anymore! At first with a major holiday he thought oh this will be ok but no because he has never been able to sincerely have a decent grown up conversation with me and discuss this ill treatment towards me! If we never have a relationship again that is fine! I wish him the best!

Joanie Marx

Dear Julie,
As you can see by other comments, estrangement happens with goo reasons. Someday your relative may learn interpersonal skills that will allow a relationship to be renewed on a positive note.
My best,
Joanie Madrx


My son and I had a big blowout a few years ago. He and his wife came at me with some “boundaries” they wanted for visits and get-togethers with me. They came across forcefully, as demands. There was no budging; their way or the highway. After a while, the question in my mind became: How good, sustainable or important to them is our relationship if my son and his wife consistently couldn’t/wouldn’t do the smallest thing to keep me feeling healthy or safe?

Joanie Marx

Good for you. Journaling your mental progress as you work through this tough situation is so valuable. My best, Joanie Marx

Catherine Vance

I’m sorry for you that it came to that. You can always consider a “neutral” (as in a marriage or family therapist) helping you and them work through these issues. I do not know the details, obviously, but SOMETIMES we hear “demand” when it is not. Sometimes they hear
“threat” when it is not. Family therapists are NOT just for married couples–they can help with ANY family discord. I’m a family law lawyer and I see this all the time; please consider telling your son/daughter-in-law, “Let’s find a neutral mediator to help us stand in each other’s shoes and solve our differences. You matter enough to me to try it. I will even pay for it.” This is win-win. Why? Perhaps you solve he discord and communicate better forever. At the very least, you will know you went to a neutral third party and said, “Am I seeing all sides of this? If so, help me see it. Help us work through this.”


That’s a good idea. Thank you.

Joyce Ramsay

I have experienced a similar situation. I think it is true that when your sons marry you lose your sons but when your daughters marry you gain a son. I saw it as my role to step back from the relationship with my son and his family as I do not want to be seen as placing any pressure on them to be anything to me that they do not want. I accept that now even though I was hurt at first. I honestly think my ego got in the way of seeing that I was just not wanted. I actually couldn’t believe that I could be so readily discarded. Now though, I see that even blood ties are not enough to maintain a relationship and after marriage, my son’s loyalty has moved to his wife and child. I always thought that love can expand, it is not finite, that as each family member comes along, your love for them is added to the existing store. But obviously, not for everyone. Stay strong and build good relationships with others. You have worth and value.


Joyce, I think that is how adult children behave today. Some families are smotheringly close, others seem to prefer to be separate, getting together on occasion. Mine is in the latter. My big mistake was not filling my own single life in more. At 75 with lots of chronic health issues now, it hurts. It hurts a lot. This is the text generation. Few adult children call their parents much these days. With both parents working from the time their children are born, put in daycare, their time is very limited. I see that in my community where few neighbors engage. They are running through their lives and the bill does come due.

It is a very self-centered world.


A few years ago I was going through a bit of a stressful time. I’d moved overseas with my husband’s job and was finding it difficult to learn a new language and adjust. Someone gave me a leaflet for an 8 session Mindfulness Self Compassion course, 3 hours per week and including a retreat day. It was very helpful and helped me straighten my head out and see things more clearly, so I highly recommend it.
I’ve since done a second course, revisiting mindfulness meditation which I was introduced to 18 years ago when I was undergoing cancer treatment.

You don’t have to physically join a course, there are plenty of online resources out there and even things like YouTube have good meditations you can tap into.

Joanie Marx

Thank you for sharing your important insights. You might like my 3 online courses that enhance the articles I write for Sixty &Me.
My best,

Joanie Marx

The Author

Joanie Marx is a three-time bestselling author and the creator of the new, groundbreaking Refocus & Renew Your Life® online course series on Udemy. She is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, with a degree in Psychology, and a leading authority on refocusing and renewing your life.

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