Coping With A Senior Spouse Death

Aug 10, 2017

Coping With A Senior Spouse Death

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The loss of a family member or loved one can be tough at any age, but dealing with the loss of your partner as a senior can be a very difficult loss to recover from. Losing a best friend after countless years can leave many seniors feeling a whole gamut of emotions. About 40 percent of women and 13 percent of men who are 65 and older are widowed, according to latest census figures. Until recently, very little sound research existed about how we live on after a loved one has died. However, today there are a variety of different resources and articles that will allow you or your loved one to grieve and cope with a senior spouse death in a healthy and productive way. Below are just a few ways that you or your senior can cope with the death of a partner.

Coping With A Senior Spouse Death

Everyone Grieves Differently

While we know about the tradition 5 stages of grief mantra, it’s important to know that not everyone grieves the same way. However, grief can be very specific, and luckily you can use this to your advantage. Many seniors will often feel lonely because they do not have a companion to spend time with. Others will grieve because they feel like they do not have direction anymore. Digging in and finding out exactly where you or your loved one’s apprehension lies can help to properly manage the grieving process. 

It’s also important to note that when coping with a senior spouse death, you or your loved one might feel different on a day-to-day basis. A widow might feel anxious and blue one day, only to feel lighthearted and cheerful the next. In other words, we don’t grieve in stages at all, but oscillate rapidly. Over time, those swings diminish in both frequency and intensity until we reach a level of emotional adjustment. In this instance, it’s important to embrace the emotions and acknowledge them as they come and go.

Focus On Independence

Another major issue that many seniors will face when coping with a senior spouse death will be maintaining independence. After the death of a loved one, many seniors feel like they’ve lost the one person they can depend on. On one hand, these seniors may feel helpless, which is when a support system needs to step in and assure them that they are able to handle any obstacle in their way. On the other hand, you or your loved one may feel like your family members have begun to baby you or walk around you on eggshells. There’s nothing more annoying than being babied, especially after the loss of a spouse. This is why it’s important to air out any issues you come across during the grieving process. While it’s always great to have a surrounding support system, you also don’t want to cause any more turmoil between friends and family. Remaining independent is a great way to cope with the loss of a loved one.

Stay Active

Exercise and staying active can be a great way to cope with any recent trauma or death of a senior spouse. Physical activity actually releases endorphins, which can quickly pick up the spirits of you or your loved one. Try to take walks on a regular basis, even if it’s a short trip down the street. Joining a bowling team or other physical activity is also a great way to meet new people. We’re sure that your spouse or your loved senior’s spouse would want them to remain active and engaging with other people. Focusing on a physical activity is also a great way to keep your mind from getting stuck on the loss of a loved one.

Get Financial Help

The loss of a senior spouse can often put the surviving partner in a tough financial situation. This is exactly why it’s important to ensure that you or your loved one remains financially stable. It’s enough to deal with a senior spouse death, but also balancing a tough financial situation can become too much of a burden. With the death of one spouse, income is reduced. Annuity or retirement plan distributions may also be changed. In many cases, the deceased spouse may have been responsible for making day-to-day management decisions in the family retirement portfolio, expertise that is no longer available with the passing of the partner. Finding financial help is a great way to reduce the financial burden and ease the stress that comes with a senior spouse death.

If you’re looking for some support with housing after the loss of a loved one, be sure to check out our many resources provided at

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