It can be difficult to support your senior parent after the death of their spouse. You are still trying to untangle your own feelings about the loss of your other parent and yet you also want help your remaining senior parent and provide the support they need. According to other family caregivers and some mental health experts some of the things that you can do to support your senior parent during their grieving process are:
Respect Their Feelings
Losing a loved one is never easy for anyone. But you should understand that your feelings about your parent were much different than the feelings they had for their spouse. Your senior loved one will have a lot of feelings to process and some of them may shock your or make you sad. Couples go through a lot of ups and downs over the years and it’s normal for your remaining senior loved one to have some feelings about the bad times with their spouse as well as the good ones. Respect that they have a right to all of their feelings, even ones that are angry.
Separate Your Feelings From Theirs
It’s also important for you to recognize your own grief and how that will impact your relationship with the surviving parent. Your grief may make you impatient with your senior loved one or impact your ability to provide care for them. Talk to a professional to get help if you need help sorting out your feelings or if you feel like you need to talk to someone who can help you make sense of your feelings. Don’t expect your remaining senior parent to do that for you. You can share your grief with your senior loved one and remember your parent with them but take responsibility for your own feelings and for your own grief. Many family caregivers find that professional counseling is a big help when it comes to processing their own grief.
Give Them Some Space
Sometimes you may just need a breather from your senior loved one and they might need one from you too. If you had a not so great relationship with the parent who passed away, or if the parent who passed away was someone that your senior parent married after you were an adult you may not have the same feelings of grief and loss that your senior parent has. And that’s ok. That’s valid. However, your senior parent may need some space to process their feelings. Home care assistance providers are a great buffer when you and your senior parent need some distance from each other. A home care assistance provider can help your senior loved one with day to day tasks and upkeep so that you can take a step back if necessary.
Help Them Visualize A New Chapter Of Their Lives
Your senior parent may be lonely and scared about what comes next for them. Reassure them that whatever life has in store for them next they won’t have to go through it alone because you will be there to support them.