When a family member passes away it is normal to grieve. No matter your age, the death of a mother or father is one of the most painful, emotional losses that you can suffer. Losing a loved one is often accompanied by depression, anger, and profound sadness, so when a parent dies, the surviving spouse often feels isolated and lonely with his or her sadness.
Grief is exhausting, so anyone later in life is at a higher risk of physical symptoms, including loss of appetite, headache, trouble sleeping, fatigue, muscle tension. These can contribute to forgetfulness, decreased ability to concentrate, lack of motivation, general disorganisation, and guilt. It is so important to be there for a parent when this occurs, as sorrow can take a heavy toll and often the loss of one parent leaves the other unable to take on the tasks that were previously shared.
This is no easy feat. You have to deal with your own sadness, and yet a lot of responsibilities are thrust upon adult children, such as making funeral arrangements and putting a care plan in place for the surviving parent. It is important to take your own time to grieve by getting plenty of rest, eating nutritious meals and getting exercise. By staying healthy you will help the situation by being better able to cope with stress.
Here are the top 5 ways that you can support your grieving mother or father:
- Remember that your help or support will be needed long term. The best gift you can give your parent is patience and understanding in the weeks and months after the outside world has stopped sending cards or asking her how she’s doing.
- Help your parent manage the physical symptoms of grief, which can impair the immune system, by making an appointment with a physician so he can keep a check on her health. Sleeplessness is a common side effect of grief, so explore the option of getting her meditation to help her get the rest she needs.
- Assist with running the household by making a list of everything that needs doing at home including bill payment, gardening, rubbish collection, etc. Setting up direct debit payments is a great way to make sure that her finances are in order and bills are paid on time.
- Make sure she is eating regular, nourishing meals.You can step in and order food from supermarkets that offer on-line delivery, and help them plan meals ahead by making low maintenance meals for them to keep in the freezer.
- If you feel that you cannot do enough, use Care Sourcer to easily investigate and source care that meets your parent’s specific needs. Care Sourcer’s free service offers a searchable directory of local care agencies. If you need care urgently, our team of care experts are also available by telephone to guide you through the process.
Grief will diminish over time and your compassion is the vital ingredient to healing. It is most helpful to remind your parent that he or she is not alone, and that you are there for support every step of the way. If for whatever reason you think that they would benefit from extra support, Care Sourcer is the best way to ensure your peace of mind by providing the essential tool you need to customise your parent’s quality care requirements to support him or her at home or in a care home.