The importance of seeking help with grief

by the Editor, SeniorInsider | Jun 02, 2011

One of the most severe problems for elderly people is the intense array of emotions that they have to contend with when someone passes away. If you are a senior, you will find that you will have to deal with death at some point, whether it is in the form of a friend, a spouse or a pet. One of the best things you can do for yourself during this period is to reach out for the support of other people. Those who try to stay strong on their own will find that they experience even more depression and misery.  

Problems for Elderly: Intense Emotions


Everyone grieves in a different way. However, problems for elderly people can occur when they feel as though they are dealing with emotions that they just can’t handle. These emotions include shock, sadness, guilt, anger and fear.  

Problems for Elderly People can Result from Physical Issues


However, a person can become physically encumbered, too. Since there are already potential problems for elderly people stemming from physical issues, adding new ones due to grieving can take a heavy toll on a person’s body. Physical symptoms that can be caused by grief include fatigue, nausea, weight loss, aches and pains and insomnia. Issues with the immune system can also result.  Clearly, these are not issues that elderly people want or need as their immune systems need to be kept in very good shape.

Depression Rates Among the Most Prevalent Problems for Elderly


When someone passes away, it is common to have depressed feelings. Of course, since you will be flooded with a wide variety of emotions, it may be hard to identify depression from the rest of them.  However, in general, if you are depressed, you will find that you have an inability to focus, experience slow body movements, feelings of hopelessness and/or intense guilt. To counteract depression, be sure that you incorporate a variety of elderly activities into your routine. This can include things like dinners with friends, taking long walks, or going out to the movies.

Problems for Elderly Include the Five Stages of Grief


In the 1960s, psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross coined the term “the five stages of grief.” These are the different emotions that a person encounters when he or she has to deal with grief over losing a loved one to death.  

The first stage of grief is denial. During this period, the person feels as though the situation simply can’t be happening. The next stage is anger, which is when the person feels that he or she needs to seek out someone to blame and feel anger towards. The third stage of grief is called bargaining.  During this period, a person feels as though he or she wants to give up things in his or her own life in order to stop this from happening. The fourth stage is depression, during which the person simply may feel too sad to do anything. Finally, the last stage is acceptance during which the person begins to feel acceptance towards the situation. People go through all these stages at different rates, but they all have to be gone through before you can truly move on.

Consider Support Groups


Be sure to not overlook the amount of help that support groups can offer to you. Being in a group setting where you can discuss these issues with others can have a very healing impact. Most communities have a variety of support groups.  You can often find them through the Internet, or even through the hospital. Seeing a grief counselor can also be quite useful. Some counselors and therapists actually specialize in bereavement issues.

Neglecting to Ask for Help Can Cause Problems for Elderly Individuals


Make sure that you are not remiss to ask for help when you need it.  As the old saying goes, “no man is an island.”  We need to feel the love and support of those around us to truly heal.  People will offer you assistance, so be sure to take advantage of that fact.  

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