With your kids all grown up and leaving the house, parents would think that it’s the best day of their lives. The thought of having the nest all to themselves would be wonderful. For the first few days or weeks, it feels like some kind of freedom. You and your spouse have the ability to relax, lounge around your living room for most of the day, and engage in various activities without the worry about caring for your offspring. However, after a while, something in the both of you settles in. The feeling of grief, loneliness, and boredom overwhelms your feelings. It’s a common issue called empty nest syndrome. It’s a very common syndrome that can be resolved through various methods like socializing more or joining 55+ communities with other seniors like yourself.
What Exactly is Empty Nest Syndrome?
As previously described, empty nest syndrome refers to when aging parents have feelings like depression, and grief due to their offspring leaving the home. This usually occurs when the children leave for college, get married, or simple move out of the home because of other reasons. While women are more likely to express these feelings, men show the same kind of signs as well.
However, empty nest syndrome isn’t exactly a kind of sickness that requires clinical analysis and further diagnosis. It’s more of a transitional period in parents’ life, because of the sudden change or shift in everyday life. Similar feelings can arise in other transitional or changing periods in one’s life like moving into 55+ communities after many years of owning a home.
What can People Expect While Going Through Empty Nest Syndrome?
The most common symptoms that people have experience while experiencing empty nest syndrome varies. Parents of recently moved out children can experience a flux of symptoms such as:
- Feelings of Isolation
- Feelings of Loneliness
- Episodes of Anxiety or Panic
- Bouts of Griefs
- Loss of Interest in Activities and Hobbies
- Feelings of No Purpose in Life
These are just a few symptoms experienced or expressed by people going through Empty Nest Syndrome. Some people don’t express them on a surface level and could likely be suppressing these negative thoughts and feelings internally. There are ways to find out if your loved one (or yourself) are suppressing the symptoms of empty nest syndrome.
- Retaining the identity of being a parent even after the children are long gone.
- Showing signs or feelings of losing control of offspring’s lives.
- Lack of social activity or engagement.
- Showing discomfort that the children left the home too early or too late.
- Constant worry about one’s offspring safety and well-being outside of the home.
If you believe that your loved one or yourself are showing signs of repressing empty nest syndrome (or full accept it), it could be time to get some treatment to get over this transitional period.
Methods and Treatments That Help Overcome Empty Nest Syndrome
When these feelings of depression, doubt, grieving, and many others are actively expressed, treatment is strongly recommended in its early stages. Mainly because delaying treatment could lead to further problems down the line for the individual and their spouse like divorce.
Those experiencing empty nest syndrome may benefit from undergoing psychotherapy sessions in order to better manage themselves and their own feelings. Some medical and psychological professionals might prescribe medications to help taper off the negative feelings that come with this syndrome. Just remember to follow the prescription instructions/recommendations accordingly. Some medications, when incorrectly taken, could lead to bigger problems down the road. If you already live in assisted living 55+ communities, make sure your medication is properly managed by the staff.
Another way to adjust is change your mentality and identity as a parent to your child. For example, if your offspring recently got married or engaged, you should act as a mentor to them and help them prepare for starting a family. You’ll feel better in the long run while acting as a mentor.
Another suggestion is to find new interests to explore. While you might express little interest in your old ones, engaging in new ones can help you overcome your symptoms and help get you through the transitional period. Hobbies like painting, playing music, and many others can help relax your body and mind.
One effective method is to rekindle or boost your social life. This can be done through a variety of methods. One of them is to look into meet-ups in your area that specialize towards people of your age group or share similar interests. It may take some time since the past years of your life have been focusing on parenting, but it will pay out in the end. If you want to take the next step, perhaps you should start considering or joining an independent or assisted living residence.
How can Moving into 55+ Communities Help Overcome This Syndrome?
With your children finally out of the home, it’s likely you need to think about changes in your living style. Your home might be too large. You and your loved one might need to downsize in order to save money. Additionally, probably you don’t feel the same in the surroundings you are in, like you have no big connection in the neighborhood. Perhaps since your children took a big step, maybe you should as well. Joining 55+ communities can be a great step in your life with a lot of benefits.
In these communities, you’ll be around others who came from similar paths in life, especially those who went through empty nest syndrome. Which means a more social lifestyle that can help you get through this transitional period in your life. These communities also provide the amenities like fitness centers, pools and spas, and many more.
Many 55+ communities promote a style of independent living but with conveniences that are beneficial. Many of them offer healthcare services to those who need them. Communities like these and many others out there can help aged individuals like yourself and your loved one get through life with ease, even when undergoing situations like empty nest syndrome.