Death is not easy to handle, especially when it comes to handling the elderly. They may want to isolate themselves from family and friends. The grieving process is not always easy and the elderly can harm themselves during it.
Do you know what to do during a tragic time like this?
Life has its up and downs. There are moments that make us happy and that are dear to us. Then there are moments that take away our peace and forever will be embedded in our minds.
Happy moments like marriage, the birth of a child, being finally cancer-free, and the coming home of a soldier are moments that bring tears to our eyes. They are tears of joy!
Then there are those moments that sink in the bottom of our hearts and can’t help but to ask why it happened. It could be a bad breakup, a divorce, or even a death. We can always get over a breakup and divorce but, death is something that many of us have questions and will never get answers to.
Besides blogging, I work as a personal care aide for the elderly. Through this field, I’ve learned to love and care for the elderly as well as be able to hear their stories of life. It is a job I truly love!
Sadly, a death has passed through one of the families of the patient I care for. It was sudden and unexpected. It was a shock to the family.
When a death passes in the family, everyone mourns in a different way. Some may be in denial while others may have accepted it. Most may express their mourning through anger, while others cry.
There have been many deaths in my family as well as friends I have gone to school with. Death leaves a void in our hearts that only that person was able to fill it with love.
While this family was making arrangements, I was responsible to keep the elderly person in peace. It wasn’t easy but, I was able to keep them alive in their spirits.
The Bible says that those who mourn are blessed, for they will be comforted (Mt 5:4). It may not seem like a blessing at the moment, but God promises them comfort.
Comfort is the best remedy you can give someone in their time of grieving. God is the one who brings comfort (Is 51:12) in our moments of sadness. It is through Him that we can be able to find purpose again and live life doing His will.
In case you ever have to handle an elderly person during a time of grief, check out these tips that I used to be able to keep that person in peace during this tragic time.
Let Them Mourn
As I had mentioned earlier, we all mourn in our own way. As for the elderly, many want to be left alone. They may refuse to eat, sleep, use the bathroom, or even shower. The best thing you can do is to let them mourn. Let them cry. When they seem to have calmed down a bit, reach out to them and lend a hand in any area they may need help in.
Show Unlimited Love
When God grants you a long life, you wish to see love as you get older. Hug and kiss the elderly person as much as possible. They need the love more than ever. Many elderly feel they are a burden to the family and therefore may feel depressed and lonely in their old age. Embrace them and show them they are a beautiful person. Hug them long and hold them. It is something they may have needed for a very long time.
The elderly lady I take care of told me this, which touched my heart.
“I need to talk. I need to talk about my life because all I have left are my stories”.
These elderly people were young once just like us. They may have had houses, great careers, great celebrations. As they had gotten older all those gifts and things they have received may be collecting dust somewhere in their home. All they truly have are stories.
Let them talk. Many will talk about the memories of the person they lost. They will talk endlessly and tell you many more stories of other family members in the family. All they want in return is someone to listen to them.
They may even say things like this:
“It should have been me, I’ve been here long enough”
“I want to be with (person who has deceased). I’ve lived long enough.”
They may be in denial and say these things. All you can do for them is listen. If possible, try to steer the conversation into something positive and have them talk about other things.
Can you imagine growing old and not having anyone to talk to from your early years because they all have passed before you? It is very lonely! So let them talk and you listen on.
Some elderly will refuse to eat or drink. It is important that they eat and drink something during this time of grief. It’s best if their favorite foods are made, even it’s unhealthy to them. Let them eat what they want and when they want. Remind them that they need to be strong for the family and their family can’t worry about them getting hurt. Encourage them to eat other things as well when they seem to have their energy back.
Also, if they take medication, pay close attention that they don’t skip any. It’s just as important as eating and drinking. They may refuse at first but let them know it’s needed for their strength and health.
When a death passes through the family, the elderly may want to be left alone. They want to mourn in their own way. However, encourage them to see the other family members. If they live alone, encourage them to stay with the family for a few days. They may say they will feel like a burden to them but, let them know that their family won’t see them that way. Leaving the elderly with other family members will give them the strength to be strong for others such as the younger children who don’t understand. It will also bring joy in their life to see their family come together.
Death is very hard to accept at any given time in life. Everyone mourns in their own way and are left with unanswered questions. As with the elderly, they may want to be left alone and not be a burden to anybody. Encourage them to be with other family members and let them talk about their life. All they want in return is someone to listen to them and to still feel loved. Most importantly, make sure they are eating and drinking as some tend to not care anymore and refuse to eat or drink. They lived a long life and may have experienced many deaths in their lives. It’s best that someone is always around and in their care for such a tragic time.
How do you handle death in the family? This is my own personal experience as a personal care aide and will love some feedback to help better the situation. Thanks in advance!
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