One of the most challenging situations you can face is helping your mom or dad cope following the death of a spouse. It’s especially difficult as you are also in the grieving process. Here are tips you can use to help your mom or dad following the death of a spouse.
Don’t Set a Timetable
The grieving process doesn’t include any right or wrong processes. If your mom or dad decides to clean out the closet just a day or two after your other parent’s death, that’s fine. Be supportive and understanding. Help out when asked and stay out of the way when that’s requested too.
Your parent may also not start to grieve for a few weeks. This is normal. Some people need time to get past the shock of the loss. If your mom or dad isn’t grieving immediately, don’t worry about it. Grief will come when it’s time.
Take a Close Look at Physical and Mental Needs
Now is a good time to call a physician or elder home care specialist to discuss what happens next. It’s a good time to talk to doctors, if HIPPA paperwork is in place, about any care your living parent was getting or needs. Make sure your living parent had been for necessary medical check-ups. If there are any gaps, schedule those appointments for a few months out to let the shock of losing a spouse settle first. A doctor is also the best way to approach the need for a grief counselor.
Plan a Private Celebration
Following the death of a loved one, things can become hectic with funeral planning, bills, paperwork, and legal transactions. Gather the immediate family for a relaxed evening together. This is a good time to get out photos and reminisce together.
You also need to grieve. Don’t feel that you need to hide it from others. It’s natural and expected. You may find a song, section of a TV show or movie, or book chapter starts the tears flowing. Let it happen and accept the comfort others.
Bring in Help
If your deceased parent acted as a caregiver to your living parent, you face the additional challenge of taking over the role of caregiver. It’s hard to balance grieving with care. Call a home care agency about the benefits of having a professional caregiver to take over chores like meal preparation, laundry, and light housekeeping. You’ll have enough on your plate without also having to worry about home care duties. A home care professional can help you focus on helping your mom or dad grieve the loss.