Loss can really take a toll on anyone, but it can be devastating for your elderly family member. No matter what type of loss she’s facing, she needs your support to be able to get through to the other side.
Assess What She Truly Needs from You.
Your elderly family member might need you to talk to her or she may need you to pick up some slack for her around the house. Whatever it is that she needs, it’s time to put a plan together that allows you to step in to the degree that she needs. You might find that you’re not able to do everything that she requires, but home care providers might help you to fill the gaps.
Spend Time Just Being Together.
When you’re together, you don’t have to do anything spectacular. You might worry that you need to have plans or put something complicated together, but the reality is that sometimes just sitting with you is more than enough.
Let Her Move through the Stages of Grieving.
Even though grief looks slightly different for everyone who experiences it, the process of grieving does have similar stages. Your aging family member is going to need to move through those stages at her own pace and in her own way. You can offer her a shoulder to lean on, but you can’t take over the grieving process for her.
Keep Her Involved in Regular Activities.
Your senior’s life may have changed in some pretty large ways, but it’s important to keep life in general as normal as possible. If she has regular activities, encourage her to keep up with them if she can. At first, this might be a little more difficult, which is understandable. Eventually it will get easier for her to seek a more normal existence.
Help Her Find Someone to Talk To.
If your elderly family member is still having trouble managing her grief, she doesn’t have to soldier through alone. Find a counselor or therapist who can help her to sort through how she’s feeling and what she can do to move past her grief. She may only need to talk to someone a few times or she may need more in-depth help, but just reaching out for assistance is a step in the right direction.
You can’t expect to be able to speed up the process for your aging family member, but you can let her know that you’re there for her and that you love her. Just being there for her can help her far more than you realize.