On of the most stressful times in anyone’s the life, especially the life of we seniors is the loss of a spouse. The loss of someone we’ve spent most of our lives with is something that generates tremendous, grief and often, along with it, tremendous stress. We often don’t know where to turn or what to do. Having lost my wife of more than 40 years I can tell you that it is a very difficult time. My wife, Ruth, was a child of God and I know that she is now with the Lord but I still miss her.
2 Corinthians 5:8 (NLT) Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord.
We know that God said that He will never leave or forsake us, and He doesn’t, and He will give us His peace that passes all understanding, but we still must deal with the reality of someone who was a part of us is not missing.
Deuteronomy 31:6 (NLT) So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT) 6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
In today’s post I’m publishing an article written by Jackie Waters. Jackie sent me an email about three months ago asking if she could share what she had learned ,after the death of her mother-in-law, of how to help a grieving spouse deal with their loss. Here’s Jackie’s email’
“A few months ago, my husband’s mom passed away. She had cancer, and spent her final days in hospice. I have to admit watching my father-in-law deal with the loss has been truly eye opening.
My mother-in-law not only did most of their cooking and cleaning, but managed their finances as well. We’ve been helping my father-in-law work through his grief while also helping him learn to live on his own. I’ve shown him how to cook some easy recipes, my husband has taken over his finances, and we’ve tried to get additional help here and there to fill in the gaps.
I’ve learned a lot about what I need to be doing to help my own parents as they age, and I’d love to share what I’ve learned with others. If you’re open to it, I’d like to write an article for your website on helping seniors deal with the loss of a spouse.”
After reading it I felt that I should share her article with you.
The Holmes and Rahe stress scale is a list of life’s 43 most stressful events, and topping the list is the loss of a spouse. Unfortunately, some of the ripple effects of losing a spouse are also on the list, including a change in the following: financial state, living conditions, social activities, eating and sleeping habits, number of family get-togethers, and more. Each stressor has a numerical point value, and as the total score increases, so does the risk of illness. While your loved one is in bereavement, it’s important to help him or her through the experience of mourning and to ensure his or her health is taken care of and that a strong support system is present.
Mourning takes time, especially when grieving the loss of a spouse. Many people experience a rollercoaster of emotions. Your loved one may feel sad, irritable, angry, misunderstood, anxious, fearful, guilty, remorseful, ambivalent, or numb. Remember that there is no normal way to grieve. He or she can fluctuate between any of these emotions or stay stuck on one.
Your loved one may also have a hard time making decisions, difficulty concentrating, and a lack of energy and motivation. It’s a good idea to hold off on making any major changes or big decisions, such as moving. Two common effects of grief, especially in the elderly, are difficulty sleeping and poor appetite. It’s very important that your loved one focuses on maintaining his or health and practices self-care.
The Importance of Self-Care and Health
During bereavement, it’s important that the grieving individual takes care of himself or herself. Grief takes a toll on the body, and it can be harmful to one’s health. The body’s immune system is weakened during mourning, and grief can aggravate physical pain and increase blood pressure and blood clots. The risk of heart attack or stroke after losing a spouse increases during the first month following the loss.
To combat these side effects of grief, encourage your loved one to exercise regularly, eat a well-balanced diet, and get an adequate amount of sleep. They can take a walk with a friend, attend a yoga class, or partake in gardening for exercise. Having lunch with friends or watching TV while eating can encourage your loved one to eat well.
Research has found that people are likely to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol following the loss of a spouse, regardless of whether or not they had a previous bout with addiction. These bad habits can put your loved one’s health at risk. Be sure to watch out for signs of depression or substance abuse.
Friends and family are the first line of support for most people and can just sit and listen, which allows the grieving individual to talk about his or her feelings and reminisce about the deceased spouse. They can call and check in on the loved one, and they can stop by to help with chores like grocery shopping, lawn care, and cooking.
Your loved one can benefit from visiting with members of his or her religious community as well. Many people find comfort in their faith during bereavement, and research has found it can help people come to terms with the loss more quickly and completely. Praying, meditation, reading religious or spiritual texts, or listening to uplifting music can help boost your loved one’s mood.
A grief support group can also be beneficial. Speaking with others who are dealing with the same emotions is helpful, and your loved one may feel more comfortable sharing feelings and concerns in that setting. Ensure your loved one maintains regular visits with his or her healthcare provider, and discuss seeking short-term talk therapy with a counselor if he or she is struggling with the emotions of grief.
Losing a spouse is ranked as the most stressful event a person can deal with in life, and experiencing the grief and changes that come along with it brings additional stress. Be there for your loved one during the emotional rollercoaster of grief and help build a strong support system around him or her. Ensuring your loved one stays healthy is of the utmost importance, so encourage him or her to get plenty of sleep and to eat well and exercise. With your help, your loved one can move forward and stay healthy during this trying time.
From Jackie's website;
My name is Jackie Waters, and I am a mother of four beautiful and energetic boys. I live with my family on our three acre hobby farm in Oregon. My goals are to feed our family as much fresh and home-grown food as possible, focus on sustainability while doing so, and practice simplicity.
I am here to tell you: you can have it all. With diligence and balance, you can achieve a beautiful, clean home. My journey has been full of challenges, but I learned so much along the way. I would like to share with you my ideas and tips on how to be
If you want to know more about Jackie you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit her website Hyper-Tidy.com .