It can be difficult to help out an elderly loved one when he or she is grieving. It is, however, very important that you be there for your loved one. Although grief is a normal reaction to the death of a loved one, it can lead to depression and feelings of isolation, particularly in seniors. Those who are retired and live alone especially might end up having too much alone to dwell in their mournful thoughts. Here are a few ways you might be able to help out your elderly loved one if he or she is currently grieving.
Don’t avoid him or her if you’re uncomfortable with the grieving process. It won’t benefit your loved one not to hear from you or see you. Although your loved one might be in a dark place, that doesn’t mean there won’t be a genuine appreciation for your presence during such a difficult time.
Instead of avoiding your loved one, stop by his or her place of residence. Socializing and interacting with someone else can be one way of lifting the spirits. Aside from that, just seeing that you care can end up benefiting your loved one.
If he or she lives in a senior housing community, then hopefully your loved one will end up socializing around the community. However, depending on how much your loved one is grieving, it is better for you to stop by on occasion and check how he or she is doing. While you’re visiting, it might also help to check if your loved one has been eating.
If your loved one brings up the person who has passed away, don’t change the subject. Take the time to listen. Talking about it can be helpful to someone who is grieving.
If your loved one is stressed out about funeral arrangements or anything of that nature, it might help if you offer your assistance or even offer to take over the planning process.
In the end, it is important to just be there for your loved one. This can end up meaning that you’ll get your loved one out of the house and encourage him or her to socialize, or it might mean cooking dinner for the two of you to make sure you both eat. Whatever you do, don’t dismiss your loved one’s grief. Be present, and you’ll probably know what your loved one needs.