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All "Senior Health & Wellbeing" Articles

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Finding Your Source of Joy
As we celebrate our third annual National Day of Joy, I took a moment to reflect and consider the true impact joy has on our lives. Science proves that attaining daily doses or joy – big or small – works wonders on our overall wellness, including our physical and mental health.
Elderly Home Care and Depression
It is important to recognize depression symptoms when caring for an elderly loved one. While seniors aging in their own home can help them maintain their independence, it can also be isolating.
Dealing with a Cancer Diagnosis Later in Life
Being diagnosed with cancer later in life can be scary and overwhelming. A cancer diagnosis can make a person feel like their world is out of control.
Take a Deep Breath: Stress Relief Techniques for Seniors
In many ways, stress represents one of the few permanent components of life. At just about every point in our journey, a stressor – whether positive or negative – will arise
Loneliness and Isolation Can Affect Senior Health
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 11 million, or 28% of people who are aged 65 and older, now live alone. Consider these facts from the Administration on Aging:
How To Maintain Mental Wellbeing During Isolation
Our caregivers provide companion care to support senior health and wellbeing. Learn how Comfort Keepers can provide safe senior care in the comfort and safety of home.
Alcohol Consumption in Seniors: A Delicate Balance
Numerous studies on the effects of alcohol consumption in seniors indicate that moderate drinking by seniors can have a positive impact on general health. However, there is also a concern that heavy drinking can have adverse effects, and that alcohol abuse is often missed in the senior population.
Home Care Tips for Improving Memory for Seniors
While some decline in cognitive ability is to be expected as one gets older, there are ways to delay or even prevent memory loss.
Seniors and Post-Holiday Blues: Why it Happens and What to Do
If you're feeling let down after the holiday season, we'll offer you 10 great ways to get your spirit back.
Falls – Risk Factors and Prevention Strategies
Every year, 3 million seniors are treated in the emergency room for fall injuries. And, falling once doubles someone’s chances of falling again.

Helping Seniors Cope with the Loss of a Spouse

Bereavement can have a devastating impact on the immune systems of seniors, and may explain why many older spouses soon die after the loss of their loved ones. Studies show that one reason is that a type of white blood cell, the neutrophil, can be weakened. This white blood cell plays a critical role in fending off any invasions of bacteria or other infectious agents that could lead to serious illnesses, such as pneumonia ? which often claims the lives of older bereaved people.

Helping Seniors Cope with the Loss of a Spouse

Deep depression and an overwhelming feeling of helplessness are often a part of the grieving process, as well. It is, therefore, good to help the grieving loved one to cope during this difficult time.

For years, we’ve been told that grief comes in five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Some clinicians believe that we don’t grieve in stages at all, but have mood swings that rapidly come and go. A widow or widower might feel anxious and depressed one day, and feel quite cheerful the next. Over time, those swings diminish in both frequency and intensity until a level of emotional adjustment is reached.

Grief can cause both physical and emotional pain. People who are grieving often cry easily, and can have:

  • trouble sleeping
  • little interest in food 
  • problems with concentration 
  • a hard time making decisions
  • a feeling of being numb, shocked, or fearful 
  • guilt for being the one who is still alive
  • anger at his or her spouse for leaving

The splitting of household duties is disrupted ? and can be devastating. One person may have paid the bills, cleaned the house, and cooked the meals. The other person may have handled car and home repairs, filed income taxes, and mowed the lawn. Now one person is left alone to do it all, causing extreme stress.

Here are some helpful tips for someone who is grieving. Encourage him or her to . . .

  • Try to not make any major changes right away.
  • Try to eat right, exercise, and get enough sleep.
  • Take medicines as the doctor has ordered, and see the doctor for usual visits.
  • Talk to caring friends, or take a walk with a companion.
  • Go to the library to check out some books. 
  • Get involved! Volunteer at a local school as a tutor or playground aide; join a community exercise class or a senior swim group; be part of a chorus, bowling league, or a sewing group; sign up for bingo or bridge at a nearby recreation center. 
  • Think about having a part-time job. 
  • Offer to watch your grandchildren or a neighbor's child. 
  • Consider adopting a pet.
  • Join a grief support group. Check with hospitals, religious groups, and local government agencies to find out about support groups.
  • Seek one-to-one, short-term talk therapy with a counselor. Counseling can be particularly helpful for people whose grief has lasted a very long time, and who are likely suffering from a condition called "complicated grief."

Ideas that can help during one of the loneliest of times: mealtime. Some seniors lose interest in cooking and eating when they are alone. It may help a loved one to have a noon meal out at a senior center, a cafeteria ? or at home with a caregiver, family, or friends. When home alone, some loved ones find that turning on a radio or TV during meals helps with loneliness.

Grief is not forever, and sometimes goes away on its own.  Remember that mourning takes time. It's common to have rollercoaster emotions for a while. Grief is a severe ? but self-limiting ? condition, not a permanent state. Whether a grieving senior is able to move on afterward depends on his or her own inner resources, as well the kind of support they receive from friends and family. 

Comfort Keepers® can help. Comfort Keepers®’ Interactive Caregiving™ keeps senior clients engaged physically, mentally, and emotionally while living independently at home. Our caregivers can supply valuable companionship, share cherished activities, and help support a healthy lifestyle for your loved one. Call your local office today to find out more.

References:
Independent.com/uk. “Why the Elderly Can Go Downhill, After the Loss of Their Partner” by Steve Conner. Web. 2014.
AARP. “5 Surprising Truths about Grief”. Web. 2011.
National Institutes of Health (NIH). National Institute on Aging. “Mourning the Death of a Spouse”. Web. 2016.




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Filed Under:
  • Mental Health
  • Anxiety & Stress
  • Coping Skills