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  • Writer's pictureCrimson Village

Helping Your Elderly Loved One Cope with the Loss of a Spouse

As couples age, it becomes increasingly likely that one spouse will be left to mourn the loss of the other. The grief that accompanies is such a profound loss that it can have a devastating impact on the immune systems of seniors. This is one possible explanation for why many older spouses soon die after the loss of their loved ones.

In addition, the loss can bring on deep depression and an overwhelming feeling of helplessness that can cause behavioral changes that impact health, including:

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Decreased interest in food

  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions

The good news is that there are a number of ways you can help a grieving loved one deal with loss and move forward in a healthy way. Here are just a few suggestions that may be helpful in managing and overcoming grief.

Help Them Stay Active

After the loss of a spouse, it may be difficult to be in social situations alone. There are still ways that a senior can stay active. Some of these include:

  • Adopting a pet

  • Joining a bowling league

  • Volunteering

  • Visiting the library

  • Watching grandkids

  • Taking a class at a senior center

Encourage Self-Care

Maintaining healthy habits – both mental and physical – can be key to ongoing quality of life. You can help by encouraging your loved one to participate in their own care:

  • Try to eat right, exercise, and get enough sleep.

  • Take medicines as the doctor has ordered and see the doctor for usual visits.

  • Talk to caring friends or take a walk with a companion.

  • Join a grief support group. Check with hospitals, religious groups, and local government agencies to find out about support groups.

  • Seek one-to-one, short-term talk therapy with a counselor.

Make time for visits

Living alone for the first time can be particularly lonely, especially at mealtimes. It’s not uncommon for seniors to lose interest in cooking and eating when they are on their own. A midday visit to take your loved one out for lunch – or bring a meal to share at their home – may be the perfect way to help break up a day and ensure they’re eating well.

Consider a change in living arrangements

The death of a spouse may be a time to begin discussing a move to an independent or assisted living facility such as Crimson Village, where many of these recommendations are already built into the social environment of the community. Of course, it’s important not to make major changes too soon, but beginning the conversation early can help the transition go smoothly.

You can learn more about the social environment at Crimson Village – as well as the many other amenities, floor plans, and medical support available – by visiting our website for additional information here or contacting our helpful team members by email at or by phone at 205-632-6699 to discuss your specific needs.

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