Helping an Elderly Person Deal with the Loss of a Spouse

The loss of a partner can be a devastating event for anyone. However, for an older individual, the passing of a husband or wife can be an especially traumatic situation. If you have a friend or family member who has just lost a spouse, you can provide invaluable support to her during this emotionally fragile time. By attending to the many ways in which her grief may impact her life, you can help her cope with her loss in a healthy way.

Senior Woman looking sadly at old wedding photograph

Be a Consistent Presence

The loss of a spouse can produce a wide continuum of responses in surviving partners. Trying to make the surviving spouse mourn in a way that is appropriate to you may only intensify her grief. Instead, allow her to mourn as she sees fit. Letting her know that you are there to support her through her grief no matter how she expresses it is one key way to assuage her pain.

Note Health Changes

Older individuals often have to contend with health problems such as insomnia or high blood pressure. The loss of a loved one can inadvertently contribute to the progression of these problems. The surviving spouse may find it even more difficult to get restful sleep, or she may forget to take her hypertension medication as needed. She might also begin to ignore her more basic health needs. When you keep a close eye on these potential problems, you can make sure that your loved one gets the help she needs as soon as possible.

Offer At-Home Assistance

Grief coupled with restricted physical health can make it difficult for a mourning spouse to attend to her domestic needs. You can show your love and support for her, though, by offering to help around the house. Even small gestures such as mowing the lawn or doing the laundry can provide much needed assistance until the surviving spouse can resume those duties or find professional help.

Are you coping with the loss of a spouse or partner? Skylawn Funeral Home & Memorial Park offers grief counseling for those going through the mourning process. To find out more about how our caring staff can help, call our San Mateo office at (650) 349-4411.

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