How to Help Seniors Cope With the Death of a Spouse

La condition humaine au 21ème siècle

The death of a loved one is an inevitable phase everyone will eventually have to face at some point in their lives, but nothing prepares us for the death of a spouse. The connection between spouses is different because of the love that was developed over time, the moments they have shared and the trials they have faced together. The pain is incomparable and heartbreaking because they have lost an irreplaceable person.

Seniors experience more losses than any age group, but they deal with the death of their spouse much harder, especially if they are not living in their home turf. Some seniors live the remaining days of their lives in nursing homes or elderly care, surrounded by unfamiliar grounds and far from the comforts of their relatives and friends, leaving them little comfort during their loss.

Often, they are left with no one but their caregivers or their nurses. If there is no one to understand and support them, then they are left to grieve alone. Grieving can be normal, but prolonged grief can set complication of its own. Just like anyone else, our seniors can undergo much depression, anxiety, difficulty living the remaining days of their lives, and worse they can experience physical illnesses leading to diseases like a heart attack or high blood pressure that may lead to death.

What To Do To Help Your Seniors Cope With Their Loss

Seniors do not cope as well with their loss as they did when they were younger. Sometimes, they become too numb and fail to recognize they are actually grieving for their loss. What is more, people have this misconception that they are used to losing their loved ones because they have lived so long. However, coping for them can be even harder because they may not have someone to share their grief with, or they may think that they have fewer days left to move on.

If you are their remaining relative, family caregiver, nurse, or whatever role you may have as part of your senior’s life, it is important that you know how to help them. Before you rush and try to make them feel alright, you have to understand that there will be set boundaries.

Any healing process is a personal one, and while you are trying to help them, the wrong means can set the person to draw back more. At times, the only best thing to do is simply to be there. If you can’t be personally there, then you may stay in contact through phone or if possibly through means of the Internet.

Constant visits may also help to ease their pain. They need to know that there is someone they can count on. While you should allow them to recover at their own pace, you should also monitor any changes in their health, which may have been caused by their depression. You may want to consider a service called Respite Care if you are working full-time. Sometimes, senior get great comfort in building new relationships and it helps family caregivers with visitation support.

However, it is also important to extend your help consistently. Some elders may seem okay after a while, but emotions can immediately fluctuate. They can turn back to their depression and may take another stretch of time to recover.

Comforting can come in many ways. It can help when you talk about the departed. If you had a close encounter with their spouse, you can bring up a few positive points about them, such as their sweet smile, their funny jokes, or how nice they were as a person. If it may help, you can look through old photos, scrapbooks, or videos can help your senior eradicate their denials, and accept change and healing eventually.

Allowing your senior to socialize can encourage them to express their feelings to others and to see that they are not alone in this journey. Expressing feelings openly can provide release to whatever pain and anger they have while at the recovery stage. Finding bereavement groups that they can share with can minimize their feelings instead of avoiding them.

Seniors can also fight grief by doing other activities. They don’t have to be strenuous. Activities like bingo, golfing, strolling in the morning, cooking, jewelry making, scrapbooking, and more can be a start. They need to find an outlet to let them feel that they are still needed, valued, and cared for.

Helping a senior can be a tough job. The important thing is you give them enough time and be consistent. Allow them to grieve, and go through every phase of grief. Just always be there to let them know that you are there when they need you.

Family Caregivers can learn more about senior home care and how to help the ones they love by visiting

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