Caregivers can play a vital role for grieving seniors when providing support. Companion care is an important part of meeting the needs of our elderly community. Many seniors are hit hard when they lose a spouse or a person that is close to them at this time in their lives. Therefore, the need is very present to help them through this grieving process. Death profoundly impacts everyone, young and old alike.
Stages of Grief
Although death is an inevitable and natural part of life, healing from the aftermath of a loss can be a very difficult process. During the several stages of grief, seniors greatly benefit from support. According to the Kübler-Ross model, the five stages of grief are:
These stages are not presented in order of occurrence. Grief is the experience of loss and these stages are manifested as the mourning process.
The Power of Support: Companion Care for Grieving Seniors
Everyone does not grieve the same way but seniors are particularly vulnerable at this time. When providing companion care for seniors, taking the right approach is a fundamental part of helping them get through this period. Information about death, the grieving process and how to help seniors during this time can make a big difference in their recovery.
No one really wants to grieve alone and that is one reason why home care is so important for seniors. Communication may not be easy for them at this emotional time, and processing how they feel about losing a spouse or close friend can be a challenge. Caregivers may find that the road during this process can be very difficult. Caregiving is a very challenging position. It can be very tiring emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually.
Steps To Take When Supporting a Senior with Grief
When a senior experiences loss, he or she may exhibit behaviours that are uncharacteristic of his or her personality. Support may initially require keeping some distance until the mourner is more accepting of companionship. The following steps will help prepare a caregiver to gradually extend support.
A caregiver needs to understand the toll that the emotional part of grieving will have on the senior experiencing loss. While everyone who grieves has their own way of coping, there are common feelings that are to be expected during this sensitive time.
With understanding comes patience. Some seniors may experience an unrealistic burst of independence in response to their loss as a way to deal with the closeness to mortality. Others may suffer depression as a totally opposite response.
Acknowledging the reality of the situation with the senior experiencing loss can open the door to communication. Express your concern and that you are there for support. It may be necessary to repeat this if they become withdrawn.
It is really important to understand that aging is a part of life. However, there are aspects of being a senior that are inherent. Being closer to mortality is uncomfortable. Relationships become very important to seniors who have made deep connections throughout their journey. When they experience loss from death, the emotions can seem so overwhelming. Knowledge is important. However, knowledge without understanding, loving care and patience is moot. Senior care is a vital service that can provide the necessary support to a senior who might otherwise not have any other support system.
For Your Information
The Canadian Mental Health Association outlines a different perspective on the stages of grief.
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