The Importance of Family in a Senior’s Life
January 07, 2018
Submitted by Kimberly Perkins-Akers, Amada Senior Care Southeast Valley
The importance of family in a senior’s life is truly immeasurable. Not only does family provide a consistent social network, evidence has led to believe the relationship a senior keeps with family has a direct impact on overall quality of life. Seniors who maintain strong ties with family have even been shown to outlive those who report less favorable relationships.
The connection between family and health
As aging happens, social networks are likely to change. Family is often the one connection that remains constant. Family can provide a stable source of connection.
When it comes to maintaining a high-quality life, staying connected to friends and family is a primary concern for about 30 percent of those surveyed in the United States Aging Survey in 2015. Relationships were more important than financial resources for the majority of people surveyed!
However, the significance of family is deeper than a senior’s preference. There is a strong correlation between health and the strength of one’s family relationships. The benefits associated with elders who report having stronger ties with their families include the following:
How can family support?
- Longer life: Even for those with cognitive impairment, a family’s presence prolongs their life as well as improves the quality of their remaining years.
- Stronger immune system: Social seniors often have stronger immune systems, this is especially important for their age group.
- Better mental health: Interacting with their family and being reminded they are cared about reduces feelings of depression.
- Healthier brains: Those who reported being happy and engaged in social activities are more likely to have an increase in their memory and thinking skills.
Family dynamics typically shift throughout life. This means that support given and received is constantly evolving. One of the most drastic changes that takes place is the one that occurs between a parent and their children. Parents take care of children when they were young, and now the roles have reversed as parents’ age.
A senior often needs financial support. Providing support through monetary means can alleviate some of the stress an elder is experiencing. Stress fuels illness by weakening your immunity. This can make a major difference in a senior’s health because their immune system is already in a fragile state.
While it is helpful if you are able to provide financial resources, emotional support is another form of support that does wonders for an aging loved one’s health. Having someone to talk to about their life positively affects their contentment.
Other support can come from doing simple tasks such as helping around the house and running errands.
Use technology to support
With constant technological advancements, staying connected with family is easier than ever.
Traditional methods of support. Although technology has provided an easier way for families to connect, traditional methods are still important.
- Text messaging. Texting is a great way for grandparents and their grandchildren to stay in touch.
- Email. Email is another way aging adults can maintain relationships with loved ones.
- Social media platforms. Social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchap, etc. are great ways to stay in touch.
- Skype. This option is great for making inexpensive/free international calls. You can also make video calls.
- In-person visits. In-person visits are the most meaningful. If you can visit with friends and family, do it.
- Letters. A handwritten letter is something that will be very meaningful to a senior and a loved one. It is something that you can keep.
- Phone calls. Although text messages are nice, seniors would appreciate a call from you every now and then.
There are so many ways that seniors can maintain healthy relationships with their family. Many of them are easy to do and would make the world of a difference to a senior. Make the effort to strengthen your relationship with family — their health depends on it!
Community resources of support
Family is vitally important, but sometimes not always available 24/7, or family dynamics may be complicated. Many sons and daughters offer emotional support, but do not feel they can provide the day-to-day support for a loved one. Aging well under quality care makes a positive impact for any senior in need, especially those we love.
Amada Senior Care offers a one-call solution to senior care needs through in-home private care, senior housing advisement, and navigating long-term care insurance. Call Amada Senior Care at 480-999-5250 or visit www.AmadaMesa.com.
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