Bereavement for Seniors

bereavement for seniors

The dictionary describes bereavement: To experience the loss of a loved one. I describe bereavement as a very painful feeling of loss and being subjected to an intense loneliness.

Grief can be experienced even before the loved one dies. This is true if there has been a prolonged illness before the death. Feelings of anger and sadness can often over shadow tenderness and caring. If you are the caregiver, your emotions, quite often are masked. These are normal feelings which we find hard to share, even with the closest of family members or friends. Guilt often enters into the grieving. You should have been more attentive or if you were the primary caregiver, you feel you could have provided more comfort. This is often the case with seniors who grieve.

There are no rules or guidelines for grief, just a painful process which you have to endure. Your bereavement will not be the same as your friends or siblings, but the different stages will be familiar.

In the first stage numbness and shock, are gradually replaced with the second stage of reality, that your loved one is gone. Not uncommon are sudden outburst of tears, triggered by a smell, or hearing a piece of music, setting off memories and filling you with sorrow. You feel this sorrow will never pass, but eventually time heals the aching and you begin to live your life again.

bereavement for seniors

Bereavement is particularly difficult for elderly people who have lived with a partner for a very long time. They develop a closeness to each other that is akin to being as one and now grief turns to loneliness. Support for this age group is very important as they cease to function normally and seclude themselves from previous activities. They should be encouraged to talk about the past so that healing takes hold and they can move on with their lives.

Senior people can find bereavement support in special groups in their communities or seek comfort from their religious attachment. Clergy are open to help in times of grief. Maybe you just want to be on your own to grieve, and that is okay too, for bereavement is a very personal journey in life and you will meet it many times.

Give yourself time to grieve and do not hesitate to ask friends and family for support. Someday you may be the bereavement support for a friend or a loved one. Remember, getting better means sharing your grief with others who will listen and support your emotional journey. In the initial moments of grief, it is hard to believe you will come through the dark, then suddenly hear the songs of birds again or feel the warmth of the sun on your face. But it does happen for I have been there several times on my walk through life. I now enjoy the memories of my departed loved ones and I can write with confidence about bereavement, the pain, the anger, the loss, but most of all, the healing.

Bereavement for seniors

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