We never want to say goodbye to those we love. Unfortunately, we all encounter this inevitability at certain points in our lives. Saying goodbye to one of our parents is unthinkable for you and the living parent who is losing their partner. While grief is very personal, we hope to help in this difficult time with these ways to help seniors cope with the loss of a spouse.
Offer Your Support
It’s vital to offer your parent comfort after losing a loved one. There isn’t just one way to show support to a grieving family member because everyone grieves differently, but try to avoid allowing your parent to isolate themselves. Let them know that you are there if they need to talk. Do your best to listen rather than offer advice.
Your parent also may find it beneficial to seek outside help. If they have trouble talking to you, consider assisting them with finding a therapist or support group. Some specialize in finding ways to help seniors cope with the loss of a spouse. While you both are mourning the loss of a loved one, other aging adults can emphasize with your parent’s grief.
Seek Out Companionship
After a senior loses their loved one, they undoubtedly feel very lonely. Try inviting your parent over or make a point to visit them at their house. Depending on their health, they may benefit from getting outside help from a caregiver for companionship and assisting in various household duties.
Another option to pursue is having your aging parent adopt a pet. Rescuing an animal to care for can help establish a new routine, which can be otherwise difficult to find after losing a spouse. Pets like cats and dogs offer an unconditional love that has the potential to be incredibly healing, especially while we’re grieving.
Consider a Change of Scenery
You and your parent may find a change of scenery helpful now more than ever. A family vacation may be in order. Consider inviting your children to give everyone a chance to bond in these trying times. The trip could help honor the loss of the loved one, whether that means revisiting a place you all enjoyed together in the past or going somewhere that held a significant amount of meaning for the departed.
You can also encourage your parent to spend time outside of the house. Perhaps they would enjoy activities at a senior center. A new part-time job could help an aging person interested in keeping busy and wanting more structure in their day.
Avoiding isolation after losing a loved one is key. Neither of you will face these trying times alone when you offer your support.