How Seniors Can Recover After Losing a Spouse

We are pleased to enclose this article generously contributed by a guest writer - Jackie Waters. For more information about Jackie, please see her bio below.

Dealing with loss and grief is always hard on a person. That is especially true when you lose your spouse. Although death is a natural part of life, it’s always traumatic. But when a senior loses their spouse, the grief is especially painful. You just lost someone that you spent a lifetime with.

There are ways you can recover from this devastating loss. It won’t get better overnight, but you will get through it. You need to start by coping with the emotions surrounding their death. Then you can figure out how to take care of daily tasks and whether downsizing to a smaller home now makes sense for you.

Coping With Your Emotions

You are probably going through a myriad of emotions. While there are five stages of grief — denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance — these do not have to happen in any order. Acceptance can also be months away, if not longer. What can you do to cope with the loss?

Let yourself experience these emotions. Don’t try to subdue or repress how you feel. As the Senior Citizen's Guide says, you need to let the pain and sadness happen. To help with these feelings, here are some things that can help:

●     Find people who can support you. This can be a professional like a therapist or just a group of trusted friends.

●     Find closure. Write a letter or “talk” to your spouse, saying everything you couldn’t while they were still here. You can even create a small memorial to them like a photo album or a garden.

●     Get some exercise and eat right. The stress from experiencing those powerful emotions will tax your body. Keeping it healthy will help you recover more quickly.

Handling Daily Tasks

Even with a support team, some closure, and healthy living, losing your partner can hurt your day-to-day activities. Many couples split the household chores like bills or washing dishes.

The National Institute on Aging has great advice for a senior in these situations: Take charge of your life. That means recognizing that you are capable of doing these activities. It may be hard at first, but creating a weekly schedule of these daily tasks will definitely help. List all the jobs that need to be done each week, and then again each month. Then write them down in a calendar.

Each day, you open up that calendar, do the jobs, and check them off. Not only does this help remind you what needs to be done, it helps you cope better with the loss of your spouse.

When Assisted Living Facilities Are Best

As you organize your new life without your spouse, you might start noticing that these daily tasks are getting hard to complete. You can be living in a big, empty house that makes chores like mopping and mowing the lawn difficult. At this point, you need to consider downsizing by moving into an assisted living facility.

While that might sound drastic, lists some advantages to moving into one.

●     Your life can change somewhat fast in your senior years. As your needs change, your living condition might not keep up. An assisted living facility is designed for the flexibility you need.

●     You don’t have to maintain your home anymore. No mowing, shoveling, or even sweeping.

●     Medicaid and veteran’s benefits can often help defray the cost of staying in the facility.

When looking for an assisted living facility, there are a few tips that can help you choose the one right for you.

1.    Be realistic about your health and needs.

2.    Don’t judge the facility by how it looks. Ask for a tour and look online for any issues people have had there.

3.    Make sure you choose one that matches your tastes.

4.    Take your time. You don’t want to rush into this decision, so do your research.

You Will Recover In Time

You’re going through an incredibly difficult time right now. Anyone would after such a loss. The feelings you are dealing with are a normal part of the grieving process. Let them happen. Create a schedule for your daily tasks. And then consider the benefits of downsizing to an assisted living facility. But be sure to let things happen on your schedule. After all, this is your process.

About Me:  My name is Jackie Waters, and I am a mother of four beautiful and energetic boys. I live with my family on our three acre hobby farm in Oregon. My goals are to feed our family as much fresh and home-grown food as possible, focus on sustainability while doing so, and practice simplicity. I am here to tell you: you can have it all. With diligence and balance, you can achieve a beautiful, clean home. My journey has been full of challenges, but I learned so much along the way. I would like to share with you my ideas and tips on how to be...Hyper-Tidy!  Please visit my website at