reconnect with family
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An aged parent’s relationship with his children tends to be a bit complex. The quality fluctuates from childhood and adolescence and continues through until adulthood and this strong emotional tie ensures everyone’s well-being.

It is integral for those individuals who are in the later part of their lives to interact and stay connected with family members, but for many seniors this becomes a challenging, yet very important task especially if their loved ones stay far away.

Elderly people face other issues also like communication hurdles due to sensory changes, weak eyesight, hearing difficulty or simply being unable to express their thoughts and feelings to others in the right manner.

Maintaining communication with the family 

One of the best ways to improve family life, build trust and improve relationships is through communication, but the question is how to do so effectively in today’s world?

Senior citizens are not as tech savvy as the younger generation, however there are a number of ways to maintain meaningful relationships with those who matter to you, irrespective of the distance.

Phone Calls

Even though technology has advanced in leaps and bounds,the traditional phone call still remains an effective mode of communication for ageing persons to stay connected with their loved ones 

For example, scheduling a daily phone call at a fixed time can be extremely meaningful and a wonderful way to bond with other family members, especially those who may be living far away.

Social Media

Through social media platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook or Twitter, seniors can share photos, videos and messages to stay connected with the family. This is a nice way to stay close with the family without having to engage in a proper conversation.

You can even include all family members in a group chat to share updates and information at the same time for getting an insight on each other’s lives. This helps to stay connected with children and grandchildren when visiting them is not possible.

If the idea of using social media feels a bit daunting, try reading this simple guide for the best senior friendly social media apps.

Written correspondence 

With the internet on the rise, using the traditional method of letter writing to communicate may seem slow and outdated. However, those in their golden years still find this a viable option.

This is because hand-written postcards and letters are more meaningful than an email or text message sent on a mobile phone.

How to maintain and manage conflict

Dealing with family members can at times become frustrating, especially if they refuse help and don’t heed your advice.

Family members of aged parents should on their part communicate with them in such a way that they can retain their autonomy and independence which will desist them from making risky decisions.

The way you approach your family when offering help or giving your opinion makes a world of a difference, especially when trying to connect with your grandkids.

Spend more time with the family 

Even if you don’t have much extra time on your hands, try and spend as much time as you can with your family. Everybody appreciates a bit of extra attention in their golden years, while at the same time all family members get an opportunity to get heard and express their feelings.

These interactions, no matter how brief they may be, might make the relationship a bit more harmonious once your family realises how the relationship is getting priority, despite the hectic schedule.

Bestow warmth and show positive attention

Showering warmth and attention to family members can help build strong relationships.

Here the importance of positive attention cannot be underlined as this is the best way to show that you take delight and interest in their affairs.

Praising the children when they do well also shows you care for them and builds connection and sends a message to everyone that you are available whenever needed.

Attend therapy 

Elderly people often struggle with depression and loneliness, so they should try out a form of therapy that works for them in order to face the difficult moments which arise in late life. 

Parenting therapy also helps the parent to address, identify and manage past experiences like trauma or disagreement that may affect the way they relate with the family. 

If the relationship is in crisis mode, you can also consider virtual family therapy to deal with emotional issues together with your family members, even if they are far away.

What to avoid

Parents, no matter what their age, always wish the best for their children and other family members, but human errors are bound to creep in which can strain ties and sour the relationship.

Inconsistent behavior

Being strict and inconsistent and not showing any care for other members of the family can make them confused, not only about how they are being treated but how they should react in different situations.

Constantly intervening and nagging

Parents should not equate the independence of other family members with disobedience or a sign of rebellion. Both being obstinate and strict or showing negligence in making the right rules can impact the parent-family relationship.

Avoid being self-centered

Physical and mental health issues, loneliness or unresolved past trauma, whether it is from childhood or recent, can make older adults appear self-focused and live inside their own heads.

Parents should sit down with family members to discover the reasons for this behavior and address what is to be done(support system, professional help etc.) in order to improve relationships.

Impact of family characteristics

Parents should recognise that each member of the family has unique needs and should continue to develop ways to connect with each of them independently.

Older parents should also recognise any sibling rivalries that may exist and identify ways and means to alleviate such strains.