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Communicating With Your Friends And Family

Staying in the Loop: Communicating With Family During Major Life Events

While we’d all love for retirement to be a respite from all the stress of our working lives, the truth stands: retirement can be a challenging time. It’s a time of immense change, and often a lot of instability, as we grow into our new lives and face new tests.

When we’re struggling with these major changes, maintaining the lines of communication with family members can sometimes make us feel even more overwhelmed. However, this is something that we need to overcome in order to get the support we need. 

So, how do we do it? The answer is: take it one step at a time.

Keeping Open Lines of Communication

The first thing to think about is how you are currently communicating with family and friends. If you don’t already have clear and open lines of communication, for everyday things, it might feel even harder to communicate when you are struggling.

Establishing natural and transparent communication channels is the cornerstone of keeping your family in the loop. Try to talk on a regular basis to keep these lines open.

Don’t worry, we don’t mean you have to talk (either face-to-face or on the phone) everyday–so long as there is regular dialogue between you and your family. Of course, this may be through more traditional methods like face-to-face talks, phone calls, or even emails, but you can also consider more modern platforms such as messaging apps and social media. 

Schedule Regular Updates

Set aside dedicated times to provide updates on important developments in your life. Whether it’s a scheduled weekly call or a monthly family meeting, having a consistent and preplanned channel for communicating with family ensures that everyone stays informed without feeling overwhelmed.

Staying organised with your updates can relieve a lot of the stress around how and when to approach your issues with family.

Utilise Technology Wisely

Although today’s retirees are not so-called ‘digital natives,’ technology can still add a lot to our lives. It’s undebatable that technology has changed everything about communication. If you’re struggling with how to keep everyone in the loop, consider utilising technology more.

Embrace technology to bridge geographical distances and facilitate easy communication. Video calls, group chats, and sharing platforms allow for real-time updates, virtual gatherings, and sharing of photos or videos, or even personal newsletters, can create a real sense of closeness regardless of physical location, while also being so convenient.

If you’re thinking about getting online, check out this useful guide on using the internet (and staying safe!)

Be Honest and Transparent

Honesty and transparency form the bedrock of effective communication. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, or even just to admit you’re struggling. Retirement can be a turbulent time and if you’re not honest with your family and friends, nobody can help. Of course, this is easier said than done, but try your best!

When you share both the triumphs and challenges of your journey with your loved ones, you are inviting them to be part of your support system and offering opportunities for them to provide guidance or assistance when needed.

Plan Family Gatherings

In addition to regular communication, prioritise face-to-face interactions by planning family gatherings or reunions. Planning large family gatherings, where you can see many people at once, helps keep everyone on the same page and well-connected.

Whether it’s celebrating holidays, or just enjoying a meal together, family gatherings are a place to strengthen bonds, make memories together, and, hopefully, make you feel a little less alone.

Building a Culture of Support

Above all, you should aim to foster a culture of support within your family. Your family is there to support you, but that cannot be done without clear and honest communication. You want to build a family dynamic where both you and your loved ones can air your problems freely, and know that you’ll receive understanding, empathy, and support in return. Encourage open dialogue, active listening, and mutual respect within your family, creating a safe environment where everyone feels valued and supported. 

At Highgrove Retirement Village, we know how challenging this stage in our lives can be, and we know how important communication becomes! In essence, communicating with family and friends during major life events requires intentionality, commitment, and a genuine desire to nurture meaningful connections. Remember, the foundation of a strong support network lies in the bonds shared among friends and family members. For more tips about building a support network, check out this blog.

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