Older people are not exempted from experiencing tragic life events. Death of a loved one, a health crisis, or unemployment can equally trigger distress in older adults. Death and sickness all the more become a common occurrence as people age. As people age, more of their family and friends age as well, get sick, and pass on. This is why it’s extremely important to help aging loved ones deal with grief or dealing with such dark life events. Older adults should always feel free to grieve.
If you have an aging loved one and you want to be equipped when it comes to helping them deal with loss, this article is perfect for you. This article will give you tips and solid frameworks on how to help older adults deal with loss. Helping will be easier for you if you will fully understand the grieving process.
The Grieving Process
The grieving process is complex. It manifests through physical and emotional symptoms. It is a complicated and confusing concept because everybody grieves differently. There is no one proper way to grieve. Every loss is different and calls for a different reaction and different kinds of grieving.
When you know that a loved one is experiencing grieving and you’re clueless as to what you could do to help, the first thing that you need to do is make it clear that you will give your loved one all the space and time that he or she needs. Your loved one needs to know that he or she is free to take all the time and space she or he needs to process emotions and adjust to daily life.
Giving your loved one all the time and space is the most important thing that you could do. You won’t know what to say as you can’t possibly understand what he or she is going through so deeply listening is more than enough.
Your loved one will want to express his or her feelings and you need to let him or her know that you’re just one text or call away. Don’t force yourself into the situation. If you don’t know what to do and you feel awkward, you can simply offer to help in any way possible.
Grief is intense. So much so that even small daily tasks can seem too overwhelming. That’s why offering to do daily household tasks will be of great help. Never wait for your loved one to request help. You should volunteer to help as soon as you can. Simply offering to make dinner, do the laundry, or pick up groceries will be immensely helpful.
Symptoms of Grief
People often confuse depression with grief because their symptoms are similar, Their symptoms can even overlap sometimes. Sadness is normal when one is grieving. It is temporary. Depression on the other hand has the following symptoms:
- A sadness that does not go away as time passes
- Emotions that prevent a functional daily living
- No more joy and pleasure felt from doing activities that they used to love engaging in
- Thoughts and mentions of suicide
Grief has the following symptoms:
- Weight change
- Sleep disturbance
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness in throat
- Physical distress
- Withdrawal from normal activity
- Worrying excessively about others
If your loved one is exhibiting symptoms of depression, you should contact your family doctor. As a medical expert, the doctor will know how to properly deal with depression. The doctor will know how to make your loved one start feeling better.
What You Can Do to Help?
You can do the following to help your loved one who is going through the grieving process:
- Join your loved one in remembering the person who passed. Look at pictures together and talk about shared fond memories of the person who just passed. This act of warmth connection will make your loved one less alone and isolated.
- Never say the following:
– “He or she is in a better place”
– “I know how you feel”
– “Snap out of it!”
– “It could be worse.”
- Say the following:
-” I know this must be difficult.”
- You can simply sit still with your loved one. It will be comforting for them. You won’t even need to talk. Sometimes, your mere presence will be enough.
If you’re overwhelmed with work and life duties and you feel like you can’t effectively deal with the needs of an aging person by yourself, you should check out Homestyle Aged Care. They provide 24/7 care and help to older adults. They even provide a safe residential space with 24/7 assistance from nurses and medical experts.
Things You Need to Ask Your Doctor
Contacting your doctor will also help. You need to disclose any existing ailments of your loved ones, if there is any, and you need to ask the following:
- Is there a need for my loved one to take medicines?
- Will this emotional state cause physical illness?