Category Archives: Family

Five Habits of Successful, Loving Older Couples

This Valentines Day, remind yourself how stay in love for years

Everyone knows couples who’ve been together for decades—perhaps you’re among them—and whose relationships still seem genuinely happy and harmonious. Our communities are filled with couples and those who understand how love lasts. What behaviors, traits, and tactics might be key to their long-term relationship success? Relationship experts- and many seniors often cite these five habits.

Notice and stay open to changes. Don’t assume your partner is the same person he or she was decades ago—although, of course, there will be similarities. Learn your partner’s goals, dreams, and future plans. Keep in tune with who your partner is in the moment and open yourself to who he or she might become.

Accept the challenges of aging. Vulnerabilities arise over the years. Support each other as you deal with physical, cognitive, and emotional challenges and feelings about aging and death. Share thoughts on what lies ahead and face the future as collaborators who will be there for each other throughout the difficulties.

Don’t be afraid to fight fairly. All couples, including the most successful ones, have arguments and conflicts. Happy couples don’t hide from fights. They listen, speak their mind, negotiate, and tell the truth while trying not to be hurtful. After “good fights,” the smoke clears—and issues and complaints tend to get resolved.

Apologize and bounce back. Connected couples don’t shy away from hashing it out, but they also tend to bounce back quickly. They’d rather forego drawn-out grudge holding, pouting, silent punishing, lasting resentments, and late-night “rebound fighting.” These couples get bored with continuous bickering; they’d just as soon get on with being a contented twosome. But apologies are not skipped over. Sincere apologies build respect, empathy, and belief that the other person was truly listening.

Take care of yourself. People in lasting partnerships know their own shortcomings and emotional issues, and take responsibility for seeking counseling and practicing self-help. Strong partners also know that they cannot be “everything” to each other. They create relationships, pursuits, and hobbies that thrive outside of the twosome—and often make the relationship stronger.

Stay Connected with Grandkids this Fall

Tips for keeping in touch once summer is over 

In the summertime, when kids are out of school, grandparents and grandchildren often have more opportunities to visit each other. Many grandparents and grandkids love spending time together during the summer months, but how can you stay close now that fall is here and the kids are back in school?

A 2012 AARP study showed that 45 percent of grandparents live more than 200 miles away from their grandchildren and 80 percent live at least 50 miles away, so if you feel like a long-distance grandparent, you’re not alone. These suggestions can help you feel connected when you’re far away from your grandchildren.

Use technology. If you’re tech-savvy, stay in touch through e-mails, video-chats via Skype sessions, and sharing digital photos. Catch up online with grandkids and post photos on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. Another option is to play games together online—your grandkids can probably suggest a few! Of course, old-fashioned phone calls are still fun, but consider filling in phone sessions with texting, a favorite mode of communication among younger phone users.

Snail mail! Be a maverick and send a handwritten letter. Kids don’t get much mail these days, so a getting hand-addressed letter or a card can be super-exciting! Illustrate your letter if you’re clever with drawing—or decorate it with age-appropriate stickers or photos of family or pets.

Read a book at the same time. Let your grandchild choose a book he or she wants to read—or recommend one you liked at a similar age. Use video-chat sessions to either read the book aloud or to discuss the book as you go. You can also talk about the book via emails or on Facebook.

Stay in touch with your own kids. Your grandchildren’s parents can your best allies in helping you maintain contact with your grandkids. Your kids will likely be thrilled to keep you informed of events in your grandchildren’s lives, which gives you conversation-starters when you communicate with your grandkids.  

Share your hobby—or take up a hobby together. Teach your grandkids an art, craft, sport, pastime, or activity you love or talk about a personal passion—horses, music, robots, science, collecting, gardening, etc. Or encourage grandkids to show you a pastime they love. You might find common ground for a shared hobby you can pursue and discuss for years to come.