There are many changes that seniors must deal with as they continue to grow older. One of the most devastating and often unavoidable obstacles for older adults is losing a spouse. There are many elderly individuals who have lost a spouse who they have been with for decades, and handling this devastating situation (https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/mourning-death-spouse) can be extremely difficult.
If you have a senior parent or loved one who has recently lost a spouse, you may be struggling with how to support them during this trying time. While there is no way to truly replace what your loved one has lost, there are things that you can do as a loved one to help. Here are a few ways that you can offer support.
Give Them Time to Grieve- Losing a partner after so many years can be unimaginably difficult for seniors. Every senior will process this loss differently and need time to grieve on their own. Be patient and give your loved one plenty of time to grieve and process what has happened.
Get the Family Involved- Having a support system around can help any senior dealing with the overwhelming burden of losing a spouse. There is no better time to rally the family and to help your loved one feel supported.
Notify Others on Your Loved One’s Behalf- Nothing can be as difficult for your senior loved one as contacting friends, family members and clergy following the death of their spouse. This is one task that your loved one shouldn’t have to manage on their own. Step up and take on this responsibility for them so they don’t have to.
Handle Arrangements- Following a death, you need to make sure you notify the proper authorities and start making or renewing funeral arrangements. This is another task that can be exceedingly difficult for a senior spouse and is something that you can step in and help with as a family member or loved one.
Looking for Signs of Continued Grief- In the weeks and months following the death, some seniors will begin to get over or better manage their grief. However, this isn’t the case with everyone. Make sure that you are looking for signs of continued grief so that you can get your loved one the help that they need. Signs of continued grief include inability to concentrate, loneliness and disconnection from friends and family (https://www.senioradvice.com/articles/loneliness-in-seniors-understandi…), lack of motivation, fascination with death, forgetfulness and unprecedented disorganization. If you notice these issues, make sure that you step in and try to get your loved one help.
Death is such an unfortunate part of life and something that is never easy to deal with. While no one ever wants their senior loved one to have to deal with this heartache, it is an unfortunate and common part of life. The more that you can do to help them by offering your unwavering support, the better off your loved one will be.