Losing a partner or spouse is never easy, especially if two people have been together for decades. If your parent suffered a recent loss or is still grieving the loss of their wife or husband, here are some ways to help them cope:
When a person is suffering in silence, the best thing you can do is to put yourself in their shoes and practice empathy and compassion, especially if your parents had a strong loving relationship throughout your childhood and adulthood. You are probably still sad over the death of your parent, now imagine how your living parent feels? Your elderly parent has lost their other half, so they are left to live their remaining years on their own and that’s devastating. Showing compassion and sensitivity to your parent’s feelings will let them know that you understand their pain and that you are there for them during this period of grieving.
- Share stories.
Take the time to listen to your elderly parent’s stories about their deceased spouse. These stories will most likely be filled with love, humor, and wisdom. You can also share heart-warming stories about your late mother or father that your living parent may want to hear. Sharing stories and speaking positively about the person that has passed helps keep the person’s memory alive. Rather than trying to move on and act like the person never existed, honoring and respecting their memory helps alleviate the pain of loss.
- Increase their social activities.
Getting them to be more social doesn’t necessarily mean setting your grieving parent on a blind date with a fellow widower, unless they want to, of course. Take them to their favorite restaurant, go visit relatives, get some fresh air at the local park, or sign them up at a senior center so that they can socialize with people their age for a few hours a week. It is important that your elderly parent gets out of the house and not be stuck in their room isolated because doing so will only increase their risk for clinical depression. Your elderly parent probably may never get over the loss of their spouse, but socializing and doing enjoyable activities will help take their mind off the loss even for a few hours.
- Move them in.
If your elderly parent is still living in the home they shared with their late spouse, it might be a good idea to move them into your home if you have the extra space. Not only is it dangerous for your elderly parent to live alone, but being surrounded by their late spouse’s personal items can also intensify the loss. If you have a spouse and kids, your widowed elderly parent can be part of your household, giving them a sense of belonging, security, and unconditional love.
- Care and companionship.
Ensuring your elderly parent has their needs met is essential, especially if they are going through some emotional distress. Your work and other obligations may not provide you with ample time to care for your widowed parent, which is why it may be an excellent idea to hire a professional caregiver. A professional home caregiver will be able to give your elderly parent undivided attention and professional companionship. An aging parent will greatly benefit from home care, especially if they have a medical condition, mobility issues, or have bouts of depression due to loneliness. You can rest assured that your elderly parent is being cared for by a caring and trained professional, and their well-being is made a priority.
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