If your senior parent has recently lost their spouse or partner, they may struggle to recover. Grief is not a linear process. Your surviving parent may have good and bad days. No matter what, they will need your support to deal with this tremendous loss. If your parents have been married long, it would be difficult for your surviving parent to adjust. A new routine after decades of doing the same things every day with their spouse can be complicated. Some things that you can do to support your senior parent in their grief are:
Personal Care At Home
When your senior parent is grieving personal care at home can be a fantastic source of support for them. With personal care at home, someone will be there with your senior parent to help them combat the loneliness. They may also help with the disruption of suddenly missing the person who has been with them daily for a long time. Personal care at home also means that your senior parent will have someone they trust to talk to about their feelings and grief. Often parents don’t want to burden their children with their feelings. But they can share those feelings with a companion.
Create New Routines
Helping your senior loved one create new routines can help ease the transition that they’re facing. Work with your senior loved one to create supportive but new routines. For example, if your senior parents always had Saturday morning brunch together, create a new routine by having your senior parent come to your house for breakfast on Saturdays. Or, if your parents always talked about the affairs of the day after dinner, drop by and take your senior loved one for a walk after dinner instead.
Follow Your Parent’s Lead
When it comes to taking care of the things that need to be taken care of after a loss, let your senior parent set the pace. They may not be ready to get rid of their spouse’s things immediately. Or they may not want to be able to write all the thank you notes for sympathy cards right away. And they may not want to do things like rearrange the furniture or get rid of your other parent’s unique chair right away. Give them time and space, and let them tell you what they need and are comfortable with.
Take Time For Your Grief
If you lost your other parent or were close to your senior parent’s spouse, you also have to give yourself time to grieve. It’s easy to get so caught up in your senior loved one’s grief that you push your own aside. But that’s not healthy. Eventually, those feelings will come out, and you will also have to undergo grief. If it helps, talk to a professional psychologist or your siblings or join a support group. You can’t take care of your senior parent if you’re not taking care of your own needs first.
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