Coping with an Everyday Loss? Here are a few helpful suggestions
Loss may occur throughout our lives, but loss occurs more often late in life than in other stages. Both big and little losses can feel daunting; and, walking with someone who is experiencing loss can evoke feelings of helplessness. The good news is that people don’t want us to “fix it” for them. Simply sharing the moment and acknowledging their pain is most helpful.
Sylvia Thompson, a geriatric care manager, provides the following suggestions for helping a friend or family member process loss:
- Bear witness to and acknowledge your elderly person’s struggles. By doing so you’ll help them adjust to a new reality, whether that they need some assistance in the home, downsizing to a senior community, life without the job they once held, etc.
- Explain how life transitions can cause feelings of loss and encourage them to be gentle with themselves.
- Remind them that grieving is a process and takes time.
- Let the pain of loss exist without trying to cheer them up. Let things hurt.
- Allow them space to vent feelings of anger, sadness, frustration, etc.
- Accept the sense of profound loss and welcome it as part of the process.
- Let them know you’re sorry it’s happening and ask if they would like to talk about it.
- Admit that change is always hard.
- Encourage them to grieve in whatever way that is natural (and healthy) for them.
If you care for someone experiencing loss, don’t try to do it alone. Help them connect to local resources if it’s appropriate. A community helpline is available 24/7 by dialing 211.
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