How to Help a Widowed Senior Make Tough Financial Choices
When a senior parent or aging relative passes away, loved ones are left with enormous feelings of grief. If you recently experienced this sort of loss, allowing yourself to feel those emotions is essential for healing. If, however, the loss of your loved one has left his/her spouse burdened with difficult financial choices, you may need to set those emotions aside long enough to offer your help. Losing a spouse is never easy, but dealing with financial stress can make grief feel worse. Below, Vivolor offers some ways you can provide your support.
Help Your Loved One Avoid Unnecessary Funeral Costs
Whether the death of your senior relative was anticipated or not, unexpected funeral costs can take your family by surprise. If you feel comfortable doing so, you can help your surviving loved one deal with these expenses by providing compassionate and practical advice during the funeral planning process. Just try to keep in mind that making these seemingly simple decisions during a time of grief can be much more difficult.
Make Sure Your Family Member Can Afford Essential Care
When a loved one loses a spouse, your first job should be to provide helpful support as he/she processes feelings of grief. Try to remember that everyone’s grieving process can be different. While positive words may help ease your pain, your loved one may not be ready to move past the pain of this major loss. After all, losing a spouse means losing a big part of your life and your future, so try to be patient with your loved one’s grieving process.
Part of that patience can include providing gentle reminders for a senior to maintain healing self-care habits. For instance, if your loved one is not getting the medical care needed to stay healthy during this time, you could look into whether Medicare Advantage plans would provide additional coverage to make it more financially feasible to access preventative services, such as dental checkups, vision exams, and prescription medications. Making sure a senior relative has adequate Medicare coverage can give you the peace of mind of knowing that your loved one can pay for healthcare costs during retirement without any added financial stress in the future.
Encourage Your Grieving Relative to Hold Off on Major Decisions
After the loss of a spouse, many seniors may think that an immediate change of scenery will expedite the healing process. In reality, though, making major decisions while the wounds of grief are still fresh is rarely a good idea. This is especially true when those big decisions come with even bigger financial implications, like selling a home or moving to a different state.
If you are helping your loved one with these types of decisions, make sure those decisions will provide some financial benefit or won’t lead to any major financial losses. For instance, cross-country moves can be very costly undertakings. Not only will your loved one need to deal with the financial aspects of selling a home, but there will also be other expenses to consider, such as paying for a moving service and funding long-distance travel. Widowed seniors should allow some time before making such drastic changes and should seek financial advice beforehand.
Look for Ways to Encourage Healing
Recovering from the loss of a spouse can take years, but finding ways to begin the healing process will be especially helpful in navigating grief. So encourage your loved one to seek out opportunities that bring comfort and assurance. It’s true that this could be construed as promoting busy work that distracts from grieving, ultimately leading to more unmanageable grief. However, staying active is important to avoid falling into a deep depression or experiencing social isolation. It can also ward off unhealthy habits like excessive drinking or self-medicating.
There are plenty of ways your loved one can start to move forward. This could be in the form of volunteering opportunities with a local charity for a cause that’s near and dear. Or it could mean launching a nonprofit organization in the name of their deceased spouse. An undertaking of this magnitude will require a lot of research and the need to review important paperwork related to starting a nonprofit, but it can give your loved one the outlet they need during this difficult time.
There’s no way to ease this loss for your senior loved one, but you can provide the support that can make other difficult decisions during this time a little easier. Compassionate, patient support is all that you can ever offer a bereaved loved one, but be sure to reserve some of that same compassion and patience for yourself as you process your own feelings of grief. Vivolor offers education and an all-natural mega-supplement for memory and healthy aging. To learn more about our product and services, as well as the science that supports them, visit our website.
Here is a step-by-step guide to downsizing for seniors or those working towards retirement. It covers everything from finances and moving logistics to coping with the emotions that come from parting with a family home.
Here is an additional guide to aging in place
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By Stephanie Haywood of mylifeboost.com