Does Family Life Take A Backseat As You Age?
Having a proper balance in life is a good golden rule to live by. Living a balanced lifestyle, especially as you enter your golden years, should be the goal. Seniors, do you want to get the most out of your family life?
Or, are you just trying to get them out of your life?
amily life in your senior years can be whatever you want it to be. It takes work. It takes balance. It takes commitment.
We've lived long enough to know that sometimes family takes the ability to deal with CRAZY! Wait, wait, don't let your family life drive you crazy.
Here's a guide geared toward learning why you should invest in your family life in your senior years and enjoy the people you love the most.
Undoubtedly, family life takes a backseat as you get older. Paying attention to your physical well-being, jumps up into the passenger seat (depending on the condition of your health - it may take over and drive).
Your focus shifts to yourself or a senior-aged significant other.
Your health has taken a backseat to family concerns for a large part of your adult life. Raising children, working, maintaining a house, and maintaining a relationship with a significant other have driven our lives for decades.
If your health is good - great! That means you can enjoy your golden years that much more! However, maintaining good health takes a little more doing in our senior years.
Do things and see things that you've always longed to do and see. You've lived long enough to appreciate when the waves of the sea of life are calm.
We never know what is on the horizon when it comes to our health. So if you're just getting over a health crisis, it's a good opportunity to take stock of what's important. Family life is definitely a keeper.
Who Cares?! Is Family Life In Your Senior Years Important At All?
Healthy Cells Magazine reports that family is more important than money to the people surveyed in a United States Aging Survey. They go on to report that quality family life in your senior years leads to:
- Longevity – having a strong family presence leads to a longer life and it improves the quality of life
- Stronger immune system - when you are happier and you feel connected, your immune system is strengthened
- Showing depression the door – more interaction with family leads to feelings of being cared for, which reduces feelings of depression
- Happiness leads to healthier brain function – the people surveyed who reported feeling happy also reported better memory and thinking skills
What Does Normal Family Life Look Like?
As times change, some of us are more reluctant to change with them. It's OK, the ultimate golden rule of doing unto others as you would have done unto you – still applies. As we see the dynamics of family life change right in front of our eyes, it's important to maintain respect towards everyone.
Everybody defines family in different ways that we may not understand or agree with. Again, it's important to be respectful - You can never have too much RESPECT, Aretha Franklin was right! .
Family Roles Unrolled
The loose definition of these roles comes from the baby boomer generation. That's why there is the disclaimer above!
The role of the father is traditionally to be a male role model for his offspring. He is expected to provide for the family financially in a strictly traditional sense.
Mothers are expected to be caregivers whether they work outside of the home or not. Generally, if they work outside of the home, they are expected to do that job as well as the bulk of the work inside of the home. Child-rearing is mainly left to them.
Daughters are expected to follow in their mother's footsteps and be assistants in household chores. They are seen as mini-nurturers of the family.
Sons are considered to be the "men of the house" when the father is not around. They are thought to be mini-men and take leadership roles in and outside of the house.
...and so it goes or better yet – so it went. Nowadays, family members take up the slack where needed. Everyone pitches in and does what needs to be done for the family. Traditional roles do not inform what goes on today.
No Two Families Are Exactly The Same
Family has evolved. The Miriam Webster definition of family echoes the truth. The definition is as follows:
- A social group made up of parents and their children
- A group of people who come from the same ancestor
- A group of people living together: household
The evolution is clear. It's important to focus on the third of these definitions. Family can be anybody - and the "residing together" is not always true. Family is what you make it.
Healthy Components of Family Life In Your Senior Years
Nurse next door is a home care services company that offers an important article about the importance of older family members. In fact, they outline the six most important roles of the senior:
- A very important yet different point of view – the knowledge that the senior brings to family life is important. Challenging or supporting the younger family members with our wisdom and knowledge can make the difference between an OK decision and a great decision. We have experienced life and if the younger ones are willing to listen, they can really benefit from that fact.
- Having children and then young adults spend quality time with relatives who are seniors will give them exposure to people who have different values, backgrounds and ideas. In this way, they have the opportunity to experience a more expensive cross–section of society. Younger adults and children are able to reflect on their own values and behaviors by comparing them to those of a senior family member. Getting input from peers is one dimensional.
- Great babysitters. OK, many adults will say this is the number one reason seniors are important! But, kidding aside, these loving and nurturing caregivers can bring a wealth of support to the entire family. Not only the children they may be babysitting for, but, the adults now have more free time to explore their interests and have fun.
- Parenting doesn't come with a rulebook. For everyone, it's trial and error and most try to do their best. Parents can learn from things that their parents may have experienced and can actually help. Grandparents can dig into their special bag of things that worked for them and offer sage advice on a difficult parenting situation. Also, everyday anecdotes and advice can change the boring into the spectacular.
- Nurse next door puts this next advantage of having seniors around perfectly. "At times when a parent – child relationship is challenging, a grandparent can become an extension of the unconditional love provided by family." Senior citizens fill the hero role to the brim. Children and younger family members listening to how you overcame a certain situation or how you just had enough "stick-to-it-ness" to hang in there, will encourage them to get through life's adversities.
- Having close contact and great family life with seniors shows younger people what could happen to them as they get older. Having seniors age-in-place at home with younger family members builds connection and shows how love and support can make a difference.
In Any Healthy Relationship, Communication Is Key
The best thing about family is that it doesn't matter how much money you have. You can have a great family life by engaging in free or low-cost recreational activities. You should never feel like you have to "buy" anybody's love. Your family simply doesn't care how much money you have, they just want to be around you because they love you. Of course, this is the ideal and we've heard many many stories to the contrary where family members take advantage of other family members financially.
Seniors that Need a Little Assistance
If you have a low income, don't think that you can't communicate with family and friends. In order to do that effectively, today you need a cell phone and Internet service. Not only is it a necessity, it helps to enhance communication. Adding pictures and video chats brings family life that much closer.
EASY Wireless is in business to help people with low incomes afford a cell phone and Internet service.
You may have heard about FREE government cell phone service and data.
How To Have A Vigorous Family Life In Your Senior Years
We are all looking for enhancements to our family life.
Vacations are just one way to connect and get a lot out of your family life. Consistent contact helps life slow down a little. We know how precious the tiny moments are:
- Your grandchild's play debut
- A son's promotion along with a corner office
- The birth of your 1st great grandchild
Having quality cell phone and Internet service from EASY Wireless will go a long way here. Maybe you can't be there physically, but you can be there with them via many of the apps that are available with video chat features. These include:
- What's App
- Microsoft Teams
- Facebook Messenger
A picture is worth 1000 words
Sending selfies may just do the trick. If a video is not appropriate or desired, why not send a picture of yourself walking in the park or enjoying the day. Consistent contact enriches your family life 100 fold.
Lots Of Ways To Pack In The Fun
Do things with family. Many seniors describe their lives as isolated or lonely. It doesn't have to be that way. Make it a point of hanging out with your family. If you're a young person reading this - make it a point to hang out with grandma, grandpa or an older aunt or uncle. Prayerfully, one day you'll be in the same situation. There are many ways to enjoy each other's time.
Make it a point to have fun
Everything worth having requires some type of work. Maybe making that first phone call to a family member who is isolated, older and depressed can make all the difference. Whoever initiates the contact doesn't matter - just make it intentional. Relationships require work. It doesn't have to cost a lot of money. You can call your grandchildren and ask them to visit the park you used to take them to when they were a toddler. It'll bring back great memories for both of you.
Who knows? You may have hobbies and sports in common
You might not get out on the pitching mound that much anymore, but your younger family members might. Do a group chat on your EASY Wireless cell phone with all of your family members. Find out who likes what and who participates in what sport or activity. Certainly, you will find that there are more things you have in common than you ever imagined. Lend some pitching advice to an outfielder - why don't you? Get together and go to a game.
Go back to school
Maybe Junior is attending community college. You've always wanted to go. Why not join him? There are noncredit courses galore that may interest you. You can carpool with your grandson and learn something new in the process. Here's a link to a more extensive discussion about returning to school for senior citizens. It's never too late and it can improve the quality of your family life at the same time.
Your granddaughter needs community service credits for high school and you need to get out and be active. Why not put the two together by doing community outreach together? Encouraging them to get involved with the community is a win-win situation for everyone - you, your younger family member, and the entire community.
Volunteer work at a local hospital or nursing home will give your younger adult appreciation for seniors and can boost your spirits when you see you're able to help.
Dealing With Problems In Your Family
Many people stay away from family because – let's face it – problems can arise. Hurt over unresolved issues or current situations are often right under the surface and can erupt at any given time, especially under stress,
Don't Let A Molehill Turn Into A Mountain - Seeking Professional Help For Your Family
Dealing head on with family issues is key for a healthy, quality family life for seniors. For that matter, all involved can benefit from a higher quality of family life in your senior years. Get counseling to offer a safe space for people to discuss past hurts and resentments. Having an objective party who is also professionally trained in family issues can be a tremendous help.
How Health Impacts Family Life
As we age, unfortunately, health takes on major consideration. Even if you are enjoying good health, you have to be aware of how to maintain it and to be on the lookout for problems. It's just something we have to focus on more as we age. This is a great lesson for younger adults and you should share your experiences with them.
As we discussed earlier, aging-in-place is of great benefit to you and to your family. With the addition of some home health care devices and/or staff, you can remain in your home throughout your golden years with the love and support of your family. Take a look at our guide for residential options as we age.
Family Heirlooms, Not Junk
You've raised and taken care of your family and now the tables have turned. You need a little help with some daily life activities or you may be looking at moving into a residential setting. Seniors feel that they have been cast aside if they don't know where to fit in society anymore.
Family is important, especially in your senior years, because you know where you belong. There's always some value to a human being. Even seniors who are dealing with dementia and Alzheimer's should be made to feel cared for and loved. As we discussed, this goes a long way for our health - both physical and mental.
Talking With Seniors About Problems They Experience With Family Has One Major Component...
Disrespect – as people age you may have to move into assisted living facilities or some other residential setting. Downsizing is key, but in downsizing – when you're actually throwing items away- it's easy for younger adults to make the seniors feel disrespected because their precious belongings are being cast aside. Always showing respect is critical.
We've heard stories and seen tales of seniors being thrust into situations that they feel uncomfortable with and they have not been consulted about. That is disrespectful! It doesn't have to be this way. Taking the time to discuss next steps is crucial. Everyone deserves to be respected as a human being. If you need professional intervention – get it.
The Great Treasure – A Family
Family life is important for everyone from the infant to the octogenarian and beyond. It is one of the greatest gifts that we receive as human beings. As we stated, it takes work, commitment and respect. There are no throwaway people and we must love, care for and cherish those who have been and will be our family. Speaking of family... speak to family – connect with family...don't forget to give a gander to the EASY Wireless site. See if you qualify to let them help you make connections with the people you love the most.