How to help your elder loved one when their significant other passes on

When an elderly persons significant other passes, it can have a devastating affect on their physical and mental health.

Overwhelming feelings of loss, loneliness and helplessness are common and can quickly lead to a decline in physical and mental health.

Knowing how you can best support your parent, grandparent, or elderly loved through their grief when their significant other passes can play an imperative role in their healing.

Grieving can have both physical and mental impacts, including:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Forgetfulness
  • Finding it hard to make decisions
  • Feelings of guilt, shock, anger, loneliness and depression

All of the above can be seriously detrimental to an elderly persons health.

How do you help someone deal with the loss of his or her spouse?

  • Don’t make any major changes straight away, such as their living situation,
  • Organise their medications so they are easier to remember to take,
  • Ensure they are filling their prescriptions and offer to do so if they’re finding it difficult,
  • Make some pre cooked nutritious meals that they can heat up so they don’t have to worry about cooking,
  • Spend time with them and try to involve them in activities to keep them busy,
  • Distract them from their feelings of grief with grandkids, or the family dog!
  • Encourage socialisation. If they are living in an aged care facility, check the event calendar and encourage them to get involved with some upcoming activities,
  • Finally, speak to them about joining a grief support group or seeking professional counselling to assist with their grief if you are worried.

Finally, remember that grief doesn’t last forever and does sometimes go away on it’s own. It takes time and varies from person to person. A rollercoaster of emotions is to be expected and the grieving process isn’t something that can be rushed, taking steps such as these suggested can help with feelings of helplessness and loneliness which is essential to helping your loved one.