Change is hard for everyone. Learning to deal and adapt to change can be stressful and overwhelming. When growing, there are some factors that are out of our hands. Situations such as our children growing, moving can cause us to feel sadness, fear and requires some major adjustments. This is called “empty nest syndrome.”
Those the most at risk for empty nest syndrome are:
- Those who have difficulty with separation and change
- Full-time parents
- Those who also struggle with menopause, retirement, and aging parents
- Those who feel their child is not ready to leave home
When dealing with empty nest syndrome, there are many things that you have to work on and adjust to. Dr. Gail Saltz tells Today that “The most important ones are encouraging your child to “fly away,” and finding a new relationship with your spouse that is not about your child.” She also claims that if you have done well, your child will fly from the nest and you as the parent or grandparent will encourage them to live their own lives as much as possible, without guilting them. Dr. Saltz also lists her six steps to make the transition easier, so you are at less of a risk for empty nest syndrome.
- Plan ahead: It’s never too early to start planning and talking to your child about the future.
- Get to know your spouse: Look at the positive: This is a time for you and your husband to rekindle your romance, have privacy in the house, travel, get to know one another again.
- Make a dream list: Make a list of things you always wanted to do but couldn’t because you were raising your kids. Maybe it’s pottery, writing or learning the piano. Maybe it’s finding a new career or going back to school. You are never too old to learn. Don’t pick something that will take many years to complete, but something that interests you.
- Avoid big changes: Don’t make big moves yet. Give yourself time to adjust rather than suddenly selling the house or moving. It takes most people between one and a half to two years to fully adjust.
- Talk to other empty-nesters: One problem with empty-nest syndrome is that you won’t get much sympathy from those who never went through it. To them it is just a normal part of life. So look to someone who went through it fairly recently. Talking with your partner will make you feel closer to him.
- Prepare your child: Preparing your child is good for your child and it’s also good for you. This way you won’t have to worry: Can they do laundry? Balance a check book? If not, teach them now. If they are not prepared, they will continue to rely on you, which isn’t good for either of you, so make sure you have taught them the essentials. Then try hard to let them go and be proud of yourself for the fine job of parenting you have done.
Have you dealt with empty nest syndrome? What worked best for you? Let us know in the comments below! Did you know that some Medicare Health Plans also offer cost assistance with counselling? Give Medicare Pathways a call to learn more and see what your Health Plan covers. Call us at 866-466-9118 to learn more and speak with a licensed insurance agent.