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Helping Seniors Face the Loss of Loved Ones

Perhaps one of the most difficult things about aging is the loss of those we hold dear. Your senior loved one’s friends are also aging, and he or she may regularly be losing friends as they pass away. One important aspect of providing Las Vegas home care for your loved one is promoting his or her emotional wellbeing. Being sensitive to your loved one’s emotions and needs can help him or her manage the grieving process easier.

Understanding the Grieving Process 

It’s important to do your research about what the grieving process is like. Knowing what to expect and how to help is imperative in aiding your loved one through the process. Bear in mind grief isn’t always predictable. For instance, your loved one may go through a stage of denial and seem perfectly fine, then suddenly break down over something seemingly minor and unrelated. There is unfortunately no set timetable for grief. The closer the loss was to your loved one, the more likely the grieving process will profoundly affect him or her for a longer period of time. However, casual friendships can lead to grieving as well. The important thing to remember is everyone manages loss in different ways and there is no right or wrong way to grieve, nor any specific amount of time that is too little or too much. Once you understand the process, take cues from your loved one about how he or she is feeling rather than trying to guide his or her grieving process. 

Listening with Compassion 

Processing feelings about the loss of another person may be easier if your loved one can talk about the experience. Let your loved one know you are there to listen to anything he or she wants to talk about. Remind your loved one there are no wrong feelings and that he or she can share any emotion with you. Don’t avoid bringing up the loss. Your loved one needs you to acknowledge it rather than pretending it never happened. Once you’ve expressed your willingness to listen, let your loved one lead the discussion. Use body language such as leaning forward and making eye contact to let your loved one know you care about what he or she is saying. Sometimes your loved one may not feel like talking about the loss. In this case, being willing to simply sit in silence and offering your companionship can be a wonderful gift. 

Offering Assistance 

Offering to help with daily tasks can make going forward less overwhelming for your loved one. If you provide in-home care for your loved one, you may already help with many tasks, but you can always look for others to add to your list so he or she doesn’t need to worry about them. Some good examples are preparing meals, offering transportation, doing some light cleaning around the house, and spending time together to keep his or her mind off the loss. An hourly caregiver in Las Vegas can also help with these tasks. These assistances may be needed for longer than just the days following the loss. While some aspects of life may return to normal soon after, emotions take far longer to resolve. Let your loved one know you will be there to continue offering assistance for as long as he or she needs. 

Preserving Memories and Creating a Legacy 

Losing someone can be difficult because it is out of our control. Offer to do something with your loved one to help him or her gain more control of the situation. For instance, ensure your loved one will always have positive memories of his or her friend by asking if he or she would like to talk about the memories and write them down. You can also help your loved one create a scrapbook or photo album or do something in honor of the person who passed on. If your loved one’s friend was an animal lover, for instance, offer to go with your loved one to volunteer at an animal shelter or make a donation to the SPCA. Look at what was valuable or important to the person and try to help your loved one find a way to support or continue that work.

When your loved one experiences loss, he or she will need a strong emotional support system. If your loved one needs additional support beyond what you and your family provide, Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers are available 24/7 to provide companionship for your loved one as well as help with many daily tasks around the house. We also offer specialized Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and stroke care in Las Vegas. For more information, call one of our compassionate Care Managers at 702-550-3185 today.