Help For Seniors: Coping With Loss During The Holidays
Comfort Keepers is here to provide help for seniors who are coping with loss during this holiday season
After the death of a loved one, many older adults feel like they need to pretend they are doing well during the holidays in order not to ruin the festive season for others. However, it is of paramount importance to allow yourself to grieve, ask for assistance and support if you need it, and let go of some traditions that just make matters worse for you.
While the holiday season is joyous for most people, older adults struggling with the loss of a spouse, family member or lifelong friend may find it extremely challenging to participate in the festivities, starting from holiday shopping and decorating to attending family gatherings. No matter how many years have passed since your loved one died, the holidays are a time when people typically remember those who are gone – and with remembering those who passed, grief may come back to the surface and leave you vulnerable, sad or depressed.
You may be asking yourself the following questions:
- Should I pretend like everything is OK for the sake of the rest of the family?
- Should I make changes to my holiday rituals and traditions?
- Is it fine to skip some traditions that are too painful to continue?
As help for seniors points out, there are no right or wrong answers to these questions. What works for one person may not work for another. However, it is crucial to find something that can help make the holidays more bearable for you after the loss of a loved one. Here are some things to consider:
Accept that the holidays will remind you of your loved one
For many people who have recently experienced loss, the holiday season is painful. There’s no way around this, so simply accepting the fact that the holidays will remind you of your loved one and trigger pain can actually help you cope. It’s perfectly fine to lower your expectations for the holiday season and feel sad – and you should never feel guilty for this.
Prepare and plan ahead for the holidays
If you are unable to participate in certain activities during the holidays, let your loved ones know in advance. It may be a good idea to consider making changes to your holiday routines as well. Making detailed plans for the holiday season can help give you some structure in a time of grief and prevent you from getting lost in your sadness. Keep in mind that it’s more than fine to make changes to your plans if they become too overwhelming to handle.
Do not isolate yourself & ask for support
While it may be tempting to be alone during the holiday season, this is the worst thing you can do, according to help for seniors. Surround yourself with loved ones and don’t be afraid or embarrassed to tell them how you feel. Also, don’t hesitate to ask your family and friends for assistance with holiday preparations or coming up with new traditions. You may additionally want to consider joining local or online support groups and talking with people who know how you feel.
Create new traditions in memory of your loved one
Old traditions can be too painful for you to continue, so consider creating new ones that honor your loved one’s memory. For example, help for seniors suggest you donate to a cause they were passionate about, plant a tree in their memory, make a memory box, place a commemorative decoration on the Christmas tree, write a poem about your loved one and read it in front of the family, play your loved one’s favorite music, and more.
Help for seniors emphasizes that there is no right or wrong way to celebrate the holidays after the passing of a loved one, so the best way to cope with the festive season is to do what seems right at the moment, get lots of support from others, and take good care of yourself.