19 Sep Elderly Problems: Surviving the Death of a Spouse
For the baby boomer generation, the loss of a spouse is something you have an even chance of suffering in later years. Those who are on the surviving end of the process can sometimes feel the effects of bereavement with such severity that they wish they had been the one to die.
The sadness of losing a long term partner, wife or husband is hard to describe for those who have not been through the experience. A baby boomer going through the process of grieving for a lost partner finds it difficult to believe that life will eventually improve but of course it can and usually does.
Added to the difficulty and sadness of grief is sometimes the exhaustion that is involved in a long spell of nursing a sick partner closely followed by the necessary organization of a funeral that might involve meeting and greeting an army of people and providing hospitality at a time when catering is the last thing you want to think about.
When all the ceremony of death is finally over and the flowers and ribbons have been cleared from the hallway, bereavement finally finds a gateway and many widows and widowers find this calm after the storm the most difficult to face. The annoyance of over tactful and well meaning friends tip toeing through the house and avoiding any conversation which includes the word ‘death’ or ‘illness’ can be enough to drive a sane baby boomer to complete madness and so the bereaved person turns to solitude for comfort.
Although the period following death should include a time of reflection and memories, it should be understood that too much can be harmful. There is a happy middle ground between healthy grieving and morbid obsession. This balance must be found and the grieving process healthily addressed to allow life to move forward and embrace the changes that are necessary.
After a few weeks, the issue of moving on might be diplomatically approached by friends and family, although too hard a push at this point might result in some anxiety so it is well to avoid being over enthusiastic. The best way forward is the suggestion of a few options; especially if finances suggest a move is unavoidable. However, leave the matter open until the subject is raised again voluntarily by the bereaved person. If after another week there is no change; try again.
A baby boomer bereavement period is also difficult for friends close enough to be affected by the person’s obvious distress. A slow and gentle but firm resolve is required to help someone through this painful but sadly inevitable experience. Taking the time to consult a professional on grief counseling is always a good idea and can certainly help everyone through the process.
Waiting for the sun to come out after the death of someone close always seems to take ages and can sometimes be a protracted ritual but life does eventually pick up again and move forward. Life does go on, after all…And remember these steps to AdaptAbility:
Surviving the Loss of a Spouse is part of Boomer Yearbook’s continuing series of baby boomers psychological coaching tips and how to alleviate elderly problems. We believe knowledge is power. We’d love to hear what you think.
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