The death of a spouse, family member or friend can take an emotional and mental toll on your aging parent. You may feel unsure about how you can provide support as you may also be struggling to deal with the loss. While it may be difficult to witness your parent go through a distressing time, you can take certain steps to help them cope with the death of a loved one. Read on to learn what you can do for your grieving parent.
Allow Yourselves to Grieve
Grieving is a process and it can be expressed in various ways. You and your parent may sometimes experience feelings of confusion, guilt or anger. On some days, you will feel like you are back on your feet. Then unexpectedly, you might feel the emotional pain all over again as if no progress has been made. Grieving is not easy for anyone and that is perfectly normal. Acknowledge your pain. Do not bottle up your grief but allow yourselves to process those emotions that you and your loved one are feeling. In time, this will help you heal.
Take Your Time
There is no deadline for grieving. You should not expect you or your parent to feel all right after a particular time. Everyone has their own pace, so avoid setting any goals for your grieving process. Let yourselves grieve in your own ways and time. You and your parent should also not worry about decluttering, cleaning out the closets or letting go of your loved one’s possessions. Take on those tasks only when you are ready. It doesn’t matter if it will take months or years.
Keep Your Parent Healthy
Losing someone close to you can shake your foundations. The absence of a loved one can impact your parent’s mental and physical health. One of the things that you can do to ensure your parents stay healthy is to plan their meals. Be sure your parents are eating nutritious food and taking their medication or supplements. Encouraging them to exercise regularly can also help them better deal with their sorrow.
While caring for your aging parent, don’t forget about yourself. Always schedule some me-time to relax in order to prevent caregiver burnout.
Share Memories to Remember Your Loved One
People generally don’t know what to say when consoling someone who has lost a loved one. They are usually afraid to talk about the family member or friend who has passed on for fear of making the bereaved feel more upset at such a challenging time. However, it’s actually healthy to talk about memories that you have of your lost loved one. Your parent may even find comfort in these sharing sessions.
Accept Help and Connect with Others
Spouses and those who are left behind sometimes struggle with their day-to-day activities while they are in mourning. So, do not be afraid to accept help from people who care about you. You may even find solace when connecting with your relatives or friends. This is especially true when they have experienced a similar loss. They can be your support group and provide you with a safe space to open up about your emotions. You can also consider joining organizations that provide support services or visiting a therapist.