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Helping an Elderly Loved One Handle the Loss of a Spouse: What to Do Before & After the Funeral


By Hazel Bridges

No matter what age you are, losing a spouse is a devastating life-moment. It can be difficult to watch your senior loved one go through this emotional process. Sorting through all the details following a loss can be a long, drawn-out process. Most times, the person is completely drained by the time the funeral begins. Here are some ways that you can be there to support your loved one and help them through this difficult time.

What to Do in the Immediate Aftermath of Loss
The moments following loss are perhaps the most volatile for your loved one. There’s really no way to predict how they may handle the situation, but you can expect that the loss will deeply and profoundly affect them. Your first priority should always be to make sure they are okay and blanket them with your love and support.

Sometimes it can feel like time itself stands still after losing a loved one. However, time is always moving forward, and once a person passes away, the process of notifying family, preparing the will and obituary, and planning the visitation and funeral begins. This is a lot to keep up with, and your elderly loved one is still reeling from their loss. Now is the time for you to step up and help handle the planning and preparations so that your loved one has more time to handle their grief.

Splitting Responsibility
Deciding to help your elderly loved one handle the final preparations for their spouse is a big decision, but it’s not one you’re required to do on your own. If you have siblings, cousins, or other family members and friends who are close to you and your deceased loved one, you can enlist their help in making the final arrangements. There are a great number of tasks you will need to complete before the visitation and funeral, such as canceling mail, notifying social security, and other insurance companies.

Meeting with the Funeral Director
One of your first steps in preparing for the final arrangements will include choosing a funeral home and meeting with the director to iron out the details of the burial and visitation. Most often, funeral homes will handle a lot of behind-the-scenes tasks necessary to make the process go as smoothly as possible.

As a representative for the interests of your deceased loved one, you need to be prepared to make financial decisions such as choosing the casket, burial location, and choosing a headstone. In many cases, the deceased will leave instructions for how they want their remains handled. Sometimes, the deceased may have already set aside money to cover their own arrangements, which is something you should look into when handling the arrangements.

Looking Ahead: The Next Steps After Burial
Even after the final ceremony has concluded, your elderly loved one still has a long way to go in their post-loss recovery, and there are many more questions that will need to be answered. At some point, you will need to sit down with your loved one and have an honest discussion about what they should do now. Sometimes after losing a spouse, a senior might decide to move or relocate. There are also financial questions to answer as well. Was your loved one dependent on income from their spouse? Will they need to be looked after now that they are on their own? As long as you and family member are open and honest with each other, you can work together to find the best way to move forward after loss.

You and your family may be going through a difficult time. These are the moments when families need to come together and lean on each other for support. No matter how much pain you and your family may feel right now, there will be better days to come. Just don’t forget to love and cherish the people around you.

Hazel Bridges is a freelance writer and a Wellness Coach for seniors.

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Tuesday, 07 July 2020

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