Empty Nesters - What Does "Mom" Mean Now That They've GrownAs your child grows up and finally says goodbye, it can be hard to accept this new reality. But now that they've grown, your relationship will now have a different dynamic as you cope with your empty nest syndrome. Image Source: Shutterstock, Christin Lola After spending years of blood, tears and sweat preparing your children to face the world, waving goodbye as they set off to become independent adults can bring about a lot of mixed emotions. You're happy to see them succeed, to know that you have successfully completed your roles as nurturers and guides. But as their footsteps fade in the distance, a gust of cold wind fills your empty home and you're left wondering - what is going to fill that void they left behind? The peace you were once wishing for is now filled with the grief and loneliness that’s associated with becoming an “empty nester” (a parent whose children have moved out). Who would have thought that you’d miss all the hustle and bustle of parenting that you once complained endlessly about? Empty nest syndrome Empty nest syndrome isn’t a medical condition but it’s what many parents go through after the departure of their grown-up children. It’s a transition that shows that your children occupied a huge portion of your life. From kids running around the house, to all the banter and arguments you had with your children. It can be hard to appreciate all the noise and precious moments they made in the midst of all the busy schedules and parenting stress. Missing a household that was once full of life can cause empty nesters to experience depression, grief and even feeling a loss of purpose. Empty nesters can also spend hours overthinking and living in fear that something may happen to their child or that they may not be able to handle living alone. It may take some time before you're done with this transitional phase. But finding something to fill that emptiness can make things a lot easier. A lost sense of purpose Whether you like it or not, your life may have revolved around your children just like countless other mothers. Whether you’re a full-time mother or not, it’s only natural for a mother to have her kids on her mind. In efforts of raising your children to the best of their abilities, it is normal for mothers to leave their past life and passions behind, spending their parenting years focused solely on providing the best care for their children. Inadvertently, mothers slowly start living vicariously through their children. Their successes and accolades become your greatest joys, and their faults and downfalls your deepest shame. But when your whole sense of purpose is taken from you as your children grow out of needing you, coping with all this emptiness can be difficult. You suddenly get an urge to scramble and discover yourself but you might find literally no hobbies or interests since you never had the time to think about such things. But there's just so many things you can do that you're bound to find something to fill your time with! Your new role as a parent Rediscovering your role as a parent is a crucial part of this transitional phase. Your role won't be the same so avoid things like checking in too much and worrying excessively about your son or daughter so make sure you give them some space. However, you should definitely connect regularly. No matter how much they grow, they'll still need you as a mother! They'll still look to you for advice or even emotional support. You'll still be their safe haven whenever life hits them hard! Connect regularly using video calls, regular calls or social media and maintain a close but not too intrusive relationship. If possible, you can even invite them for dinner every once in a while. A visit can really brighten up your day! You'll still hold your "parent" title but it's important to realize that you're now dealing with an adult. However, this shouldn't stop you from showering your son or daughter with love and telling them about how much you miss them! Make sure you talk to a mental health professional if you feel like your empty nest syndrome is getting out of hand. References: https://www.readbrightly.com/mom-mean-now-theyre-grown/ https://grownandflown.com/children-grown-what-is-my-purpose/
Importance of Social Interactions in Older AdultsSocializing is something we sometimes take for granted. But with age, many older adults have a lack of social interactions. This need for socializing is often overlooked despite its immense effects on one's mental and physical health. Image Source: Unsplash, James Hose Jr Going out with friends and talking to your work colleagues are things we all take for granted. But as you age and reach retirement age, you might miss all these human interactions as your social circle becomes smaller or in some cases non-existent. Changes such as retirement, a shrinking social circle and other social changes can affect both your mental and physical health. Lockdowns were an eye-opening experience for people of all ages showing them how a lack of human interaction can affect one’s mental health. Some have even questioned their sanity after being isolated for so long! But living in this state is already the norm for countless elderly people. Mental health of older adults About 20% of all adults aged over 60 suffer from a mental or neurological disorder. The most common disorders in people over 60 are dementia and depression. Anxiety disorders also affect a considerable percentage of this age group. The problem with tackling mental health issues in older adults is that there’s a stigma surrounding these issues which makes elderly people less likely to seek help. To add to all this, mental health issues in older adults are under-diagnosed by health professionals since their symptoms such as a change in activity levels or mood are already associated with aging. Health importance of maintaining a healthy social life Maintaining a healthy social life can have numerous health benefits. Older adults with a strong social life have a lower risk of depression along with a longer lifespan. As you age, it’s important that your brain remains active. Meeting people and having human interactions at an old age can help your brain stay active and slow cognitive decline. One study suggested that older adults above 60 who visited friends daily were 12% less likely to get dementia compared to those that visited friends once or twice every few months. While meeting family is essential to maintaining a healthy social life, meeting friends seems to have the most effect when it comes to reducing the risk of dementia. Loneliness and isolation have been linked to many conditions including heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, obesity and Alzheimer’s disease. Staying social as you age When you get older, the way by which you meet new people changes. If you’re younger, you get to meet new people at social activities, educational institutions or work. But when you get older and move around less you need to know where to look. Try volunteering or finding a hobby you enjoy. Whatever you try out, the point is to socialize and keep your mind active and engaged. Exercising in groups can also come with many health benefits. Some older adults really want to socialize but social barriers can prevent them from doing so. Barriers include medical conditions that make moving around harder, transportation, costs related to social activities or even depression. So if you want to help out a close loved one then look out for any barriers and encourage a healthy social life! References: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mental-health-of-older-adults https://www.healthline.com/health-news/staying-social-as-a-senior
Signs Your Child May Have Special Educational NeedsIt is common for all children and youth to experience learning difficulties at some point. For most, the difficulties are temporary and are soon overcome with some help and encouragement from parents and teachers. However, for some children, due to existing learning difficulties or disabilities, it is much harder for them to learn as compared to most children their age. Children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) are likely to need extra or different help than other children their age. Fortunately, with the right help and attention, children with SEN can not only do well but flourish in school and beyond. Join us in this Nectar Circle as Jiayong shares about the different aspects of understanding children with special needs, some common misconceptions and advise on how to help your child if he/she has SEN. Related content you may be interested inWatching Out for Red Flags in Early Childhood Development with Dr Ngiam Xin Ying https://vimeo.com/591505972 About the Speaker Jiayong is a Clinical Psychologist with a deep clinical interest in child psychology and in special needs. He conducts neurodevelopmental and psychological diagnostic assessments for special needs (SEN) children with neurodevelopmental conditions such as testing for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Intellectual Disability (ID), Global Developmental Delay (GDD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and Specific Learning Disorders, and other developmental problems associated with sleep, feeding, toileting, school coping and social relationships. He has a special interest in parent training, marital and relationship counselling and community integration of persons with special needs. As a father of two, he empathises with parents and caregivers of children with developmental issues with daily living skills, social relationships, academic performance, and emotional and behavioural coping. He believes that every child should be given the best chance at life at his or her full potential. Related resources: Key takeaway slides
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