When your senior loved one loses their spouse, sibling, or lifelong friend it can be very difficult for them to process the loss. Losing someone they care about after many years can make them feel very lonely, vulnerable, and afraid of death. The grieving process is tough for everyone, but it’s especially difficult for seniors who may not be as resilient as they used to be when they are now facing getting old alone. Even though you may be grieving too it’s important that you do what you can to support your senior parent during this difficult time. Some things that you can do to help support your senior loved one in their grief are:
Get In-Home Care For Them
Seniors who are grieving often are totally overwhelmed by having to do mundane tasks like laundry or dishes when they’re grappling with a big loss. An in-home care provider can help with housecleaning, cooking, shopping, errands, medication management, and much more so that your senior loved one isn’t overwhelmed by the daily tasks that have to get done. An in-home care provider will also help keep your loved one from becoming isolated in their grief.
Let Them Talk
Sometimes seniors can find great comfort in talking about the person that they lost. Let them talk to you about that person. Listen to their stories and memories of that person even if you have those stories twenty times before and know them by heart. Ask questions about what that person was like or share your own memories of that person. Talking about their loved one will make the loss seem less difficult to accept and help your senior parent move through the grieving process.
Place Reminders In The House
Your senior parent may be worried that the person they are mourning will be forgotten. You can assure them that won’t happen by placing photos in frames of that person around the house. Put up photos of your senior parent and the person they lost, play music that they liked to listen to, watch movies that were special to them, and place reminders of them throughout the house so that your senior parent will be reminded of cherished memories everywhere they look.
Don’t Rush The Grieving Process
Grief is something that everyone experiences differently. Moving through the stages of grief takes a different amount of time for everyone. It might take a long time for your senior parent to move through the stages of grief and that’s ok. Just let them know that you love and support them and let them move through stages in their own time. Don’t try to rush them through or tell them to get over it. They need to have the freedom and space to work through their grief at their pace. If it seems like they are struggling or if they are becoming withdrawn as time goes by you might want to consider suggesting that they talk to a professional psychiatrist who can help them move through the grieving process.