Helping Or Hindering?: A Senior’s Guide To Making The Most Of Your Family


Having a family can be a wonderful thing. By nature, families are designed to provide love and support to members in need and act as an exclusive little society.  Sometimes however, they can also have an extremely negative effect on individual members.

Some people find their families to be stifling because their opinions and perspectives can ultimately come into conflict with those of the individual. Depending on whether your family is liberal or conservative, the level of support for another's ideals and beliefs can vary greatly. This applies to seniors as much as it does to teenagers for a variety of reasons.

Supportive families will rally round a senior whenever they are needed. Many seniors fight to protect their independence at all costs, and the most supportive families will respect their decisions while keeping a watchful eye purely out of concern for their family member. Whether you decide to sky dive or play golf, a supportive family will back your decision a hundred percent, even if they do (naturally) express their concerns if you do decide to jump out of a plane.

Some families try to be supportive but end up being extremely suffocating, usually because of their disapproval. If a family disapproves of your actions or decisions, then it usually means that they care too much. A common trait of this family is a reversal of roles. A daughter may lecture her senior mother or father on how to live his or her life respectably. It may be patronizing and very irritating, but she will only do it because she cares.

This sort of family is easy to manipulate because they do care a great deal. It usually only takes a quiet discussion to allow them to see your viewpoint. Simply reminding family members of the boundaries that you have set as the older member will often lead to them backing off, and may even switch them into supportive mode.

With the stifling family, it may be difficult to spend time with them as a collective until you have a chance to re-establish boundaries. Taking part in outings will allow you to spend time with them without the added hassle of lectures.  You should still strive to make the most of what you have. The amount of joy that you can get out of spending time with your family is unparalleled. You could try involving your family in your hobbies, having family get togethers once a week at your home, or visiting them regularly.

Regardless of the type of family you have, you should always remember to allow them to live their own lives. They are not at your beck and call and do not have as much time on their hands as you do. They have to work for a living; some seniors forget this and it does cause resentment. Enjoying your family is all about give and take, and as long as you avoid the pitfalls of overstepping the boundaries then you can make them an integral part of your retirement.

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