Advice on Supporting Your Grieving Parent

For those of us with elderly parents, supporting them through the loss of a spouse, family member, and close friend is an inevitable part of life. Your parent has supported you, comforted you, and guided you throughout your life, but that doesn’t mean they’ll never need support from you, especially when they lose someone close to them.

Everyone grieves differently, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to supporting your grieving parent. It’s especially difficult when your parent loses their spouse, because that means you are also dealing with the loss of a parent or a stepparent and must manage your own grief while still supporting your surviving parent. However, there are things you can do to help them during this difficult time.

Make it clear you’re available to listen, but don’t pressure them to share their feelings

Grieving is a process, and everyone goes at their own pace. Some parents might feel eager to talk about the person they’ve lost by sharing memories, fun times, and stories from the past, while others need some time to themselves to process their loss. You can be there for your parent by letting them know you’re available to listen if they want to share, but don’t force them.

Help them with tasks around the house

When you’re grieving, even the smallest task like taking out the trash can feel like an insurmountable obstacle. It’s very easy to fall behind on things like cleaning, laundry, dishes, cooking, grocery shopping, and other everyday tasks. Helping around the house will give them some much-needed relief while they grieve.

Ask them if they want to celebrate special dates or anniversaries

If your parent has lost their spouse, perhaps they still want to commemorate their wedding anniversary or their birthday. It can seem small, but remembering the good times and honoring special dates like birthdays can be healing to those who have lost someone special.

Help them adhere to whatever their routine was before their loss

When your parent is grieving, you can’t expect things to return to normal right away. But as time passes you can encourage them to return to their routine, which may include things like going for a morning walk or meeting friends for coffee. Routines often provide a sense of comfort and can help your parent move on after a loss.

If your parent has lost their spouse, this is understandably a sad and difficult time for your family, especially if the deceased had a hand in caring for the survivor. Now that you’re the sole caregiver, you may feel overwhelmed. Your parent may need a level of care and support that you’re unable to provide, especially if they have any medical issues. You deserve to know that your parent can access specialists who can meet their needs, respect their independence, and be there for them when you can’t.

If you’ve considered assisted living for your parent but are unsure if it’s the right choice, we encourage you to call us and speak with a member of our team. We provide around-the-clock care and practice a dignity-centered approach, ensuring our residents have the best quality of life possible.

Learn more about hospice care in South Jersey

We understand that considering hospice care for your aging parent can be a difficult and complicated decision. To learn more about UMC’s hospice care in South Jersey, please contact us today. We look forward to speaking with you.