We can experience life changing events such as the loss of a loved one at any age however, this occurrence becomes more common as we age. Unfortunately, older individuals are likely to experience the loss of many friends and even the death of their spouse. These losses can leave individuals with deep feelings or grief and sadness as bereavement is devastating for all and can be especially tough for the elderly. Although grief comes in many forms, it is important to understand the effects it may have on an elderly individual and how to help them cope. It is is important to note that many of these elderly individuals who have lost a spouse, have spent the past 50 or more so years accompanied by this spouse. That entails 5o years of memories, routines, and living together. This can make the loss of this loved one all the more shocking and life changing, as they must now learn how to adjust. At the exact same time these senior individuals are also likely facing other issues due to health declines. This can lead to a heightened sense of grief and while grief is part of a normal process it is important to help work through this grief. Here are some ways to help a grieving senior.
It is important to recognize that the majority of the senior’s friends whom they would normally turn to for support, may also be gone. Similarly, children and family may also be busy with their own lives. Offer your support and let them know they are not alone, you may offer help running errands and doing basic chores.
- Talk about the loved one they lost
It is natural to want to avoid the topic which seems to be the source of their grief however, remembering a loved ones is actually healing for many. Use the name of the loved one and acknowledge that they are gone.
Grief looks different for all and there is no set time for how much or little someone should take to grieve. Understand that their grief may last a long time and it may be off and on. Offer your support today and later.
Often times when trying to offer support to someone experiencing a loss, we find ourselves at a loss for words. That is okay, there is likely nothing you could say to shorten their grief however ,simply being there and listening is often the best medicine. let them talk your ear off about all they are feeling, fearing, and experiencing.
Do not try and sugar coat the severity of their pain by saying things like “it’ll pass or I know how you feel”, because more than likely you truly don’t. Be genuine, let them know you don’t know exactly how they are feeling however, you would like to be there for them in anyway possible.
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