5 Tips to Help Seniors Deal With Loss and Grief
At some point in our lives, we've all seen what it's like to lose someone we love and cherish. We've also seen the grief that comes with it. Having said that, grief is different for older people. Although seniors may be more accustomed to coping with losses, the loss of an adult child or spouse can be devastating.
Seniors' immune systems may be harmed by bereavement, as they frequently feel sad, powerless, and hopeless during the mourning phase. As a result, elderly care includes assisting and aiding a senior loved one in coping with their absence.
It's also crucial for family members and loved ones to consider what grieving seniors need and to accept that their requirements should vary significantly from what they expect. The death of a loved one can be shocking and painful for the elderly. Grieving seniors can also have difficulty sleeping, isolating themselves from friends and family, focusing, and changing their eating habits.
In this case, elderly caregivers are critical in assisting older adults in recognising the effects of loss and how it has impacted them, as well as dealing with grief. It's important to remember that mourning is a long and drawn-out process that requires the utmost patience and compassion. Here's how you can help your senior loved one deal with loss if you're a caregiver.
1. Enable and Encourage Them to Express Their Grief
Let your elderly parent know that it's okay to be sad. Don't offer to assist them or advise them about what they can do. It's enough to just be there, be present, and listen to them to show them that you care. Offer them a hug and show your support – this simple act has more healing power than you might expect.
2. Promote Interaction with Others
Who enjoys grieving and mourning alone? When you're mourning, everybody needs someone, and it's crucial to have people who love and care about you by your side. Depressed older adults are more insecure, so they should be motivated to be more socially active and interact with others more often. Encourage your loved one to visit friends and relatives, participate in senior activities, group trips, and attend social events with their peers as a senior caregiver. According to studies, having an active social life improves physical, mental, and emotional health, which is just what an elderly person suffering from loneliness and depression needs.
3. Take Part in Activities That Distract Them
Encourage your senior loved ones to do things they enjoy, such as gardening, reading, cooking, listening to music, watching movies, walking in the park, knitting, crocheting, and so on, to help them cope with grief. You can also join them in these things to make it more enjoyable. You may also take them to a place or restaurant that reminds them of the person they are mourning. It will assist them in recalling happy memories.
4. Give Them a Sense of Security
During this difficult time, grieving older adults need to feel secure, and they will need the support and acceptance of family and friends. Don't judge them if they need to get away from their depression for a while – no one can be happy all of the time, and they may need to do something for themselves to feel better, even if it's just for a short time. So, if they want to go to the mall or take a nice stroll, offer to accompany them if they want company.
5. Don't Make Decisions for Them
Since making decisions can be difficult for a grieving senior, family members can refrain from asking them questions or placing them in situations where they must make decisions. Even something as easy as asking them what they want for dinner could exacerbate the situation. Simply prepare something you know they'll enjoy and deliver it to them. Don't, on the other hand, handle them as if they were helpless children. Seniors also want to feel in control, so make sure you strike the right balance.
Although grief is normal during the mourning process, keep an eye out for depression symptoms. In this case, professional assistance might be appropriate. Depression manifests itself in a variety of ways, including:
· Feelings of remorse
· Suicidal thoughts and tendencies
· Feelings of inadequacy
· Feeling of worthlessness
· Sense of despair
· Feeling of helplessness
· Loss of appetite
· Inability to interact with others or participate in productive events
· Overeating, alcohol and/or substance abuse
· Odd or sudden change in behaviour
Assisting your elderly loved one in coping with loss is a lengthy process, and it may take some time for them to recover. Grief is a severe illness in older people, although it is not a lifelong state. Moving on from grief is dependent on a variety of factors, the most important of which is a senior's own inner resources and the support they have.
As a senior caregiver, as a part of quality elderly care, make sure you're there for them during this period and, if necessary, seek professional assistance.