Having a loved one die is never easy. But for many elderly people who have been living with their spouse for decades and decades, dealing with their ultimate death can be incredibly hard to accept and move forward from.
In these challenging times, there are things that friends and loved ones can do to help make things a little easier to shoulder. To help you see what can be done for those you care about, here are three tips for helping an elderly loved one cope with the death of their spouse.
Consider Speaking About Their Spouse Often
When someone has passed away, it can be hard to know what to say to that person. You might instinctually try to avoid talking about the person who has died because you don’t want to bring up sadness or negative feelings for your loved one. However, not talking about them is usually the opposite of what they want.
Oftentimes, someone who’s just had a loved one die loves speaking about and hearing other people talk about them and their love for them. Even after time has passed since the death, continuing to speak to your elderly loved one about their spouse can help them to remember the good times that they spent together and help them feel less alone in missing and remembering their spouse.
Stress The Importance Of Self-Care
Because many elderly people have a hard enough time caring for themselves as they start to get older, also dealing with the mental, emotional, and physical impacts of losing their spouse can make things even harder for them to manage.
Knowing this, you should stress to your elderly loved one the importance of self-care during this time in their life. Encourage them to make sure they are getting enough sleep and eating healthy foods. If they appear depressed, consider helping them schedule an appointment with a therapist or other doctor. And if they can’t seem to take care of themselves anymore, seek out help from an assisted living facility or other care service.
Be Prepared To Help Pick Up The Slack
In every relationship, there are going to be certain things that one person takes care of for the other person. So when a long-term spouse dies, the surviving spouse might have a difficult time picking up the slack and taking care of the things that they didn’t have to worry about before.
With this as a very real possibility, it can be helpful to be prepared to help pick up the slack for your elderly loved one as they learn how to handle all aspects of their own life now. There can be a learning curve to this, so make sure you’re helping them to learn what needs to be done and how to do it on their own.
If you have an elderly loved one who has just had their spouse die, consider using the tips mentioned above to help them cope with this death and their life now.