11/15/2022 | By Seniors Guide Staff

Managing grief means recognizing and addressing your own needs as you cope with the loss of a loved one. Seniors Guide provide suggestions on how you can do that.

Losing someone close to you is painful. Use these suggestions to help in managing grief and loss.

First, surround yourself with supportive people.

You will discover that some people are better at comforting or distracting you. Spend time with such people. This can include friends and family who fill you up and help you see the positive parts of your world – or those who accept and love you through this difficult time of adjustment.

On the other hand, there are people you might find hard to be around, and that’s OK. Give yourself permission to prioritize your needs while you’re managing grief. Avoid people who might make your transition more difficult.

Related: Manifestations of grief

Second, enlist help for managing grief and the concrete demands of mourning.

As you’re navigating the loss of a loved one, dealing with a crowd of people wanting to help can feel very awkward.

If you’re a natural delegator, lean into that and give people jobs. This may help you as you’re managing grief, and it will help friends and family know they’re being helpful. Hopefully it will also make managing grief a little easier.

If you aren’t a natural delegator, assigning favors can be overwhelming. My suggestion is to appoint someone very close to you and let them be your help coordinator. Let them set up a meal train, a GoFundMe page, or a WhatsApp group. You can direct that helper just to ask people to pray or send warm thoughts.

Related: Managing grief during the holidays

Third, be gentle with yourself.

Remember that grief can manifest itself in a variety of ways, including distractedness, insomnia, changes in appetite, and fragility. Recognize that grief is affecting you and do your best to forgive yourself for perceived mistakes.

Kate tells of something that happened to her after learning that a loved one was being placed in hospice care. As she was leaving the hospital, she dropped her keys down an elevator shaft. She had to stand in the elevator holding it open for 45 minutes while the janitorial staff fetched her keys. “I get clumsy in grief,” Kate says, “and I know that about myself. Knowing that, I don’t beat myself up for what happened. I just go, ‘OK, this is my response to grief,’ and I move forward.”

Be gentle in your expectations of how quickly you’re going to feel better, too. Let yourself process on a timeline that works for you. Don’t worry about other people’s reactions to the way you’re managing grief either. No one knows how you feel or how big this loss is to you. You’ll get stronger at your own pace.

grieving senior couple. Image by Ruslan Huzau. Managing grief means recognizing and addressing your own needs as you cope with the loss of a loved one. Seniors Guide provide suggestions on how you can do that.

Next, express your grief.

It can be cathartic to pour it all out. You can cry in the closet in private if that’s your process, or cry on the shoulder of a close friend. Punch some pillows. Share your feelings in a journal. Scream with a friend – that can be very liberating.

Look ahead, even just a little.

Make a list of your next best steps. It doesn’t have to be long or even profound – just a few things to focus on that will help, directly or indirectly.

Your list could include exercise, an activity that brings you joy, a satisfying task such as weeding the garden, or acting to help somebody else. Pick one thing from the list and act on it.

Repeat as needed: another wave of grief hits you, express it, make a short list or choose from your previous list, then act.

Take it one moment at a time, one day at a time.

Finally, acknowledge when you need more help.

If you feel stuck, like you’re not moving forward as you should (and you’re the only judge of that), then seek help through therapists, counselors, and support groups.

Loss is painful, and talking to someone may be the best thing you do for yourself.

Seniors Guide Staff

Seniors Guide has been addressing traditional topics and upcoming trends in the senior living industry since 1999. We strive to educate seniors and their loved ones in an approachable manner, and aim to provide them with the right information to make the best decisions possible.