Coping with the death of a loved one can be difficult for anyone. But for a senior, the experience can be a greater struggle. Health problems, loss of independence, loneliness, and other issues that accompany growing older can compound and heighten grief. Moreover, an emotional support system that used to exist may no longer be in place because peers have passed, and adult children may be busy with their own lives.
The loss of a loved one is one of life’s most stressful experiences and can cause a major emotional crisis. When a death takes place, seniors may experience a wide range of emotions, even when the death is expected. Many older adults are not prepared for the intensity and duration of their emotions or how swiftly their moods may change.
They may even begin to doubt the stability of their mental health. Many seniors report feeling an initial stage of numbness after first learning of a death, but there is no real order to the grieving process.
Common emotions seniors experience after the death of a loved one include:
IDCC’s clinicians recognize the unique steps that are required to help older adults who are going through a Bereavement period. Our mental health counselors understand that each individual reacts differently to the loss of a loved one. Clinicians that help treat Bereavement develop a personalized and comprehensive therapy plan that allows older adults to absorb the impact of a major loss so they can fully recover, move on and live a happier, healthier life.
For seniors who have trouble coping with their loss, grief counseling or grief therapy is an effective treatment option. The goal of grief therapy is to identify and solve problems the mourner may have in separating from the person who died.
Once those problems are recognized, counseling can then continue to help the bereaved accept the loss by helping them talk about the loss, learn effective modes of coping, and even start new relationships. Grief therapy can be facilitated in private and group settings.