Helping your parent deal with loss while coping with grief on your own.
Losing a parent is extremely difficult and clearly, life changing. Death always comes unexpectedly, and for the elderly parent, losing one’s life partner can be traumatizing. It’s very important for all involved to respect one another’s feelings most definitely, but sadly, caregivers often have to put their own grief on hold to help their parent through this process. Yes, every person experiences grief differently, that is important to realize. And also, some have a delayed grief response as well.
More importantly, for an adult child, who is also the caregiver, it is important to remember that the loss of a parent is far different than the loss of a spouse. Clearly, both the adult child and the parent suffer terrible grief during such a time, but both need to be considerate of each other’s feelings as well. It is critical to have patience with one another and perhaps the following below tips just might help:
- Be there to listen and take care of any physical needs they might have
- Offer an ear and communicate your thoughts and feelings as well. Encourage your loved one to talk about their spouse and their feelings they might be concealing
- Be pro-active in their care plan and make sure they get care they need when you’re away
- Be patient and allow them to express their grief in their own way
- Continue to remember and acknowledge important dates and anniversaries
It’s not always easy to do these things, but time and again, patience does make a huge difference. Let’s discuss some other concerns and worries that often come with this transitional period in life. Most definitely, what makes this process even harder is having to put your own emotions and feelings aside so that you can be that caregiver for your parent. It can create frustration, yes, but just remember that your older parent needs you more than ever.
Further, don’t forget that you need to be more aware of what to look out for with an elderly parent too, so that is something to think about. For instance, while you might be feeling depression, imagine the depression your mother or father are feeling. Below are some mental/emotional signs you should be on the lookout for with your parent:
- Forgetfulness and disorientation
- Severe depression and withdrawal
- Lack of interest in daily activities
- Lack of communication with loved ones
- Uncharacteristic personality changes
- And more…
Everyone needs extra love and support during such a horrendous time, and everyone does need time to mourn in their own way. For some, that grief never stops—especially for those far older. The surviving parent simply needs to know his or her loved ones are there for them, no matter what. Providing nutritious meals and encouraging your parent to get out and move can be extremely beneficial for the both of you! Both people (family in general) should do all they can to stay healthy! Simply being there and understanding one another is all that is really needed. Take your time, be there, and more importantly—never stop caring for one another!