Keeping connected and engaged with loved ones can be difficult as we get older. Psychologist Sue Pratt shares her tips for staying socially active and maintaining healthy relationships.
“Connection, communication and curiosity sustain relationships”, explains Psychologist Sue Pratt from LifeWorks Relationship Counselling and Education Services.
“Be curious about what matters most to those around you - their dreams passions and hopes”, advises Sue, “listening, enquiring and doing things together regularly so they become your rituals are great ways to stay connected and celebrate the uniqueness of your relationship”.
At the same time Sue highlights that change is a feature of all long-term relationships and whilst challenging, needs to be accepted and managed. Relocations, retirement, changing health and new family dynamics are all examples of common relationship stressors. During these natural periods of transition, it is important to recognise the impact of the change, self reflect and “turn towards each other”.
“Conflict is normal” says Sue, “however the way we manage, resolve and repair those encounters is critical for our relationships”. The old adage of ‘never letting the sun set on an argument’ resonates with Sue. She advocates constant communication, empathy and a “culture of appreciation”.
Surprisingly, a well resolved conflict can have a positive impact on relationships. In Sue’s experience as a counsellor, she has seen that “taking the time to understand and respect each others perspective can build trust and a deeper connection”.
“It is never too late to learn, model and enjoy good relationship skills says Sue, “as our brains are constantly developing new pathways and will adapt and re-sculpt in response to interactions with those around us”.
Sue's top four tips for maintaining good relationships:
Tip #1 Partners - Value each other, do things together and build a culture of appreciation for ones you care about.
Tip #2 Family - Develop regular rituals and keep communication channels open so you can manage ages and stages together. It is important to turn towards each other.
Tip #3 Support Workers and Carers - Be mindful that some relationships are there for a particular purpose. Be clear about expectations and recognise the professional boundaries within the relationship of trust, safety and respect. Conflict is normal, however the way we manage, resolve and repair those encounters is critical for our relationships.
Tip #4 Support is available - Relationship Counsellors can work with individuals or couples to discuss and discover relationship themes such as repair, trust, safety and respect. Relationship Education Programs assist with relationship skills and development. Mediation provides a neutral party who can help families and couples with complex decision making and planning relating to guardianship, inheritance and power of attorney.
Whether you need transport to visit friends and family, or assitance at social functions, our Home Care Experts can help you to maintain the important relationships in your life. To learn more about our services, call one of our friendly Home Care Experts on .
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