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How counselling can help a grieving elderly?

How counselling can help a grieving elderly?

Grieving is never an easy process. Coping with the loss of a loved one is always difficult and heartbreaking. It is especially hard for the elderly when they need to cope with the pain of bereavement in their old age. For a senior citizen the loss of a spouse who was a partner, companion, and friend, could be devastating. Even if the actual passing away is after a long period of illness, the emptiness is unfathomable and in most cases unbearable. Though children try to provide solace, the person feels isolated. They start wearing the cloak of their sorrow and emptiness descends like a dark shadow.

At such times, availing counselling services for seniors may help them cope better with the loss.

The Importance of Counselling for Caregivers

It is important to provide them with the time and space to grieve. The grieving process may be emotionally draining for both the person and the caregiver. Grieving people cry easily and may have trouble sleeping. They often lose their appetite, have concentration issues, and may be unable to make prudent decisions. They can even experience health consequences during this period, some of which can even be life-threatening.

Apart from dealing with grief, the elderly also need to learn to cope with the new normal. Life is never the same again but it takes them a while to come to terms with that brutal fact. Some cope better than others and time is often the best healer. If the grieving process takes too long or moves to the depression phase, it is better to seek outside consultation. The healing process can be actively managed by availing professional counselling services for elderly.

A bereaved person faces a change in independence once the partner passes away. They don’t know how to deal with the change in status. There are new tasks to be done that may have been handled by the partner. The grieving partner may find the new tasks too overwhelming to deal with. In some cases, they may not even be equipped to handle the tasks, A feeling of helplessness grips them that may push them into the throes of depression.

In such a situation, they need to know that they are not alone. Sorrow is normal and is something that has to be endured and managed. The loss of dreams, the loss of plans with a loved one are all losses that need to be acknowledged and vented out. It is never a good idea for anyone to bottle up their sorrow and try to deal with it on their own.

Geriatric counselors help individuals and families to deal with issues related to the process of aging . Areas of concern include everything from the transition to retirement from active life and continues to the end of life. One of the central issues that the seniors need to cope with, is loss. Most people have their first experience with death when they are children. However, people deal with death much more frequently in their later years. It is particularly difficult to deal with the loss of spouse and longtime friends.

Talking to someone is the first step in the grief healing cycle. The elderly can choose from one of the following options:

  • Tap into the inner circle of family and friends: The first choice is to talk to family and friends – the close circle of people who know them well and have been around for most of their life. However, in many cases, they may be busy with their own lives and dealing with their problems. It is important to pick the right person to talk to, otherwise, the purpose of the conversation is lost and ends up having a negative impact.
  • One -on – one Senior Citizen Counselling: Several types of professional counselling services for the elderly are available. Trained professionals are available for geriatric counselling which can be offered in a one-on-one arrangement. This can take place at their home or the therapist’s clinic depending on the convenience of the person.
  • Group Programs: In some cases, group sessions are recommended for the elderly. Some people find it easier to open up in a group where they meet other people going through a similar phase and share experiences. They can join a grief support group that meets at periodic intervals. Samvedna offers Dementia Care group programs for the elderly.
  • Online Counselling for the Elderly: For those who cannot visit the counsellor personally, Samvedna provides online counselling via video calls and chats that can be of assistance and provide support and comfort in times of grief.

Counselling helps the grieving person to express their sorrow in words and participate in the process of self healing. It is a time consuming process and cannot be fixed overnight. Over a period of time, with the continued support and encouragement of the counsellor the elderly can accept the loss, mourn the loved one and get through this difficult phase in their lives.

How can you help as a caregiver to an elderly person?

If you have an elderly person who is sad or depressed, it will be good to spend some extra time with them. As a caregiver, it is important to watch out for symptoms of sadness and seek timely professional help from doctors or counselors to combat the symptoms of depression. Never underestimate the power of a kind word or a warm hug. Sometimes, a simple activity like watching a movie, playing a game, or browsing through an old photo album with them can dramatically improve their mental wellbeing. You can also get in touch with professional centres that provide counselling services for seniors and they will provide the necessary support. 

Samvedna provides a range of counselling services for the elderly that includes:

Samvedna Senior Care Foundation offers online counselling services for old age to handle the feeling of loneliness and isolation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.You can reach out to them on 9810887895 via call or WhatsApp.

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Samvedna Senior Care, G-7 Oriental Villas, Sushant Lok III, Sector 57, Gurgaon

Samvedna Senior Care, C-13 Anand Niketan, New Delhi