As we grow older, we are faced with our number one fear – death. Usually, we do not fear our own deaths, but for our loved ones as well. Losing a loved one, especially a spouse, is extremely difficult for seniors. It may take a year or longer before they are able to recover or resume normal activities they once enjoyed.
While there is no right or wrong way to grieve, as everyone grieves differently, there are healthy ways to cope with the pain that comes with losing a loved one. The senior may not be able to fully get over the loss, but they can accept this new reality and begin to enjoy life again. As a caregiver or home care provider in Vancouver, you play an integral role in helping your senior loved one through the grieving process.
It is important to understand that helping with the grieving process means understanding a senior’s needs before reaching out to the them. Here are five tips to help stay on track:
1. Grief Triggers
Be mindful of grief triggers like wedding anniversaries, holidays and birthdays. Even a family emergency can revive feelings of loss. Family caregivers and other members of the care team should try to anticipate these events in advance to provide support as best they can.
2. Difficulty Making Decisions
While grieving, a senior can find it difficult to make decisions. Family caregivers should avoid putting their senior loved ones in a position where thought-provoking questions are asked and major decisions must be made. This rule extends to everyday activities, such as asking the senior about their preferences for food. But keep in mind that the senior still needs to maintain a position of authority and should not be treated like they are helpless.
3. Change Can Be Overwhelming
Any change, big or small, can be emotionally difficult to process for seniors during their grieving process. For family caregivers and loved ones, this many mean not enacting major changes, such as moving to a new home. This also extends to natural changes, such as giving away the deceased loved one’s belongings.
4. Monitor Signs of Depression
While sadness is normal, keep an eye out for signs that grieving has become a depression. Seeking the advice of a family physician can be important in this situation.
There are many signs of depression including:
- Feelings of guilt
- Suicidal thoughts
- Feelings of low self esteem
- A prolonged lack of appetite
- The inability to socialize or engage in meaningful activities.
- Unusual obsessive/compulsive behavior.
5. Offer Support
The most vital factor in healing from a loss is having the support of others. Sharing the loss makes the burden of grief easier to bear. Lend a listening ear to your elderly loved one. Let your senior loved express themselves openly to you. Encourage them to join a support group as well, so they can talk to others who are going through similar experiences.
Grieving takes time. Everyone grieves differently and seniors are no exception to this rule. By recognizing this and allowing the grieving process to evolve, loved ones and family caregivers can help a senior ultimately accept the loss and move on.
ACE PERSONNEL | PROFESSIONAL CAREGIVERS FOR ELDERS & HOMECARE | VANCOUVER AND SURREY
ACE Personnel is a family owned and operated service founded in 1977 by Diane Anderson (“Mrs. A”). It began as a home-based business and has since been devoted to helping the local community with childcare and home care solutions. Mrs. A took great pride in the fact that she was able to help others through elderly care and nanny placements. She took time to get to know her each of her clients and as a result developed lasting relationships with many of them.
Contact us today if you are looking for a professional caregiver or homecare for your loved one.