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Why Family Relationships are Important for Seniors

by Richard Bitner
Why Family Relationships are Important for Seniors

Family relationships are important at every stage of life. But they’re important for different reasons at different ages. As we grow older, our circumstances change and the things we need from our family change with them. Strong family relationships give seniors a much-needed support system as age makes them increasingly vulnerable. These relationships are often essential to seniors’ emotional and mental well-being. They’re also associated with positive health outcomes, meaning a strong relationship with family can literally extend a senior’s life. Why Family Relationships are Important for Seniors

How Seniors Benefit from Family Relationships

Aging comes with a number of unique circumstances and challenges. Growing older can make daily life more difficult. As a result, seniors tend to rely on their family members more and more as they age. Other changes also make it difficult for seniors to maintain a health social life outside of family.

  • Retirement can be a major disruption to seniors’ social lives. Many older adults don’t realize how much they rely on their coworkers for human interaction and how lonely it can feel to spend the workday at home. Strong family relationships provide seniors with a safety net for meaningful interactions and human contact.
  • Physical or cognitive difficulties can make day-to-day living difficult for seniors. If seniors have strong family relationships in place, they can rely on their family members to help them with things like housekeeping, errands, and personal interactions.
  • In their older years, many seniors find it harder and harder to maintain a healthy social life outside of their family. Mobility concerns make it hard for them to go out to meet friends, or make it hard for friends to go out and meet them. As friends pass away, social circles can become more restricted.
  • Even relatively healthy seniors are at increased risk of injury or illness. They depend on family to help with tasks that might be unsafe, to monitor for signs of sickness, and to help make the trip to the doctor or hospital.
  • Our world is changing more rapidly than ever, and it is extremely difficult for seniors to manage this rate of change. Seniors tend to rely on their family for help navigating cultural changes and new technologies, and seniors without strong family relationships in place can struggle to adapt.

When Family Relationships Aren’t Enough

Of course, some seniors aren’t able to maintain strong family relationships. In other cases, they maintain a strong emotional relationship with their family, but they live far away. This could be because children moved for a job or relationship, or because seniors relocated for retirement. As a result, they can’t rely on family for some of the things that other seniors would.
This isn’t always as bad as it seems. Some evidence shows that strong social relationships are just as effective as family relationships in terms of seniors’ health and well-being. While it can be tough to maintain these relationships in old age, many seniors manage thanks to strong social circles, organized clubs and activities, and involvement in their local community.
There are also senior services that offer many of the things that seniors rely on their families to provide. Non-profit organizations provide healthy meals and transportation. Companion care services can give isolated seniors much needed human interaction. And personal care workers can help seniors cope with age-related physical decline and disability.
If you are looking for senior services for your loved one, contact your local Visiting Angels. Our caregivers treat our clients with the same care and compassion as they would their own family members. We can make it easier to care for your aging parent or grandparent. Why Family Relationships are Important for Seniors
Why Family Relationships are Important for Seniors Why Family Relationships are Important for Seniors Why Family Relationships are Important for Seniors Why Family Relationships are Important for Seniors

Why Family Relationships are Important for Seniors

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