Has your parent received elderly care recently experienced the loss of a loved one? Is grief taking a toll on their physical and/or mental wellness?
Today we will discuss the five stages of grief and what to do if you have concerns about a loved one who is struggling.
- Denial: Initially upon experiencing the loss of a loved one, they may be thinking “This isn’t happening.” They may be in shock or disbelief, overwhelmed with emotion. A new loss doesn’t quite feel real, and it is difficult for them to come to terms with the finality of what has happened.
- Anger: As reality sets in, they are forced to face the pain of their loss. Their feelings of frustration and helplessness may turn into anger. To be angry with a loved one who died and left them alone is a common and natural response.
- Bargaining: During this stage of grief, seniors tend to dwell on what they could have possibly done to prevent the loss. In most cases with elderly care, there isn't anything that they could have done, however that doesn't stop the thoughts of “what if…”
- Depression: As they begin to understand the loss and its effect on their life, sadness sets in. Be on the lookout for signs of depression which include crying, sleep issues, and changes in appetite. They may experience overwhelming feelings of loneliness and regret.
- Acceptance: In the final stage of grief, they begin to accept the reality of their loss, which they realize is something they cannot change. Although they still feel sad, they start to be able to move forward with their life.
Most bereaved people are eventually able to overcome their grief, but in 10% of cases, grief becomes prolonged or complicated. Symptoms of complicated grief include searching, yearning, preoccupation with thoughts of the deceased, crying, disbelief and feeling stunned by their loss. when such symptoms are present for at least six months. With prolonged grief, a sense of hopelessness will also develop.
There is also a tendency for family members to dismiss these psychological symptoms and underestimate the severity of their loved one’s grief. This is why it is so important for seniors in elderly care to be watched closely following a loss and for their caregivers to be kept informed of any concerns you may have so that they can be an extra set of eyes and ears to create the best plan of action for caring for your parent through the grieving process.
Following a diagnosis of complicated grief or depression, seniors may receive either bereavement counseling or be prescribed antidepressants, depending on severity.
It is essential that your parent’s health care professional assesses them regularly before they suffer a loss so that they can be aware of any changes that they might attribute to grief and help in any diagnosis or treatment.
Previous research proves that a preventive intervention in the form of counseling is effective in the early bereavement period for those who are at high risk of abnormal grief.
If your aging loved one is dealing with feelings of grief, loneliness, loss of mobility or difficulty with daily living tasks can only exacerbate the issue. Consider an elderly care provider for your aging loved one, to offer companionship, mobility assistance, warm meals, help with laundry and more. Elderly care can be invaluable to the grieving process.
If you or an aging loved one is considering elderly care in Shepherd, MT, please contact the caring staff at SYNERGY HomeCare Billings today at 406-839-2390.