Older adults are at a point in their lives where they may experience grief more frequently than they did when they were younger. Some of the things that may cause seniors to grieve are the loss of friends and spouses to death, having to move out of their homes, and retiring from a job they enjoyed. People grieve in different ways, so there’s not a right way for your aging relative to go through the process.
Unfortunately, there are lots of misconceptions out there about grieving that can be harmful. Knowing the truth about these 5 myths can help family caregivers to assist older adults through grief more effectively.
Myth #1: Grief Happens in a Linear Fashion
Truth: Back in 1968, the book On Death and Dying was published. In it, the author described grief in 5 stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. In writing the book, the author interviewed people who were dying. She did not, however, talk to people who were grieving a loss. Still, readers of the book from all over the world applied the stages of grief to those who were bereaved and not just the dying. As a result, people got the impression that grieving a loss happens in a linear pattern and ends when the final stage is reached. However, that’s not always the case. Your aging relative’s feelings might bounce back and forth between stages even after they reach acceptance.
Myth #2: If You’re Strong and Ignore the Pain, It Will Go Away Faster
Truth: Ignoring feelings or trying to be “strong” in the face of pain may temporarily stuff the feelings down, but it won’t make them go away. True healing requires facing feelings and dealing with them. In addition, trying to be “strong” gives others the impression that it’s not okay to feel sad, which isn’t helpful either.
Myth #3: Women Experience Grief More Keenly Than Men
Truth: Grief can sometimes be more obvious in women because they often show their emotions more than men do. Men, especially those of older generations, are sometimes taught that showing their emotions is a weakness. As a result, it might look like women grieve more, but the truth is that men grieve just as much.
Myth #4: Grieving Pets Is Silly
Truth: People who have not had pets or who aren’t animal lovers might think it’s ridiculous when an older adult grieves the death of a pet. However, there’s nothing wrong with it. Pets are loyal companions that offer unconditional love, so when they die, it can be extremely painful. It can be particularly hard for older adults who live alone and have only their pet for company.
Myth #5: Home Care Can’t Help with Grief
Truth: Home care providers can assist your aging relative while they are grieving. They can be a source of comfort and companionship that boosts the senior’s mood. Home care providers can also offer encouragement when the older adult is feeling low. Since grieving can cause physical symptoms, such as fatigue and headaches, a home care provider can allow them to rest while they assist with household tasks, like cleaning and cooking.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring Home Care Services in Sebastopol CA, call At Your Service Home Care. Call today! (707) 573-1003
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