cremation services provided in Shaker Heights, OH

The Effect of Grief on the Elderly

Grief resources are among cremation services provided in Shaker Heights, OH. Elderly people are affected by grief in very profound ways. When elderly people lose loved ones, which is more frequent and often includes spouses, existing health problems can get much worse, living arrangements may have to be changed, and stress gets much more intense.

Because the elderly experience grief more frequently, as friends, family members, and peers die, they may sense that their time to die is closing in on them, which can lead to greater feelings of anxiety and loneliness.

The emotional and physical ways that grief may affect elderly people are different than for younger people. Grief always has an impact on physical health. However, elderly people are much more susceptible to severe health problems after a loved one dies because their stress levels are significantly elevated for a longer period of time.

A decrease in appetite is one physical symptom of the effective grief on the elderly. Many older people have a normal decrease in their desire to eat. They will eat fewer meals and their meal portions will be smaller. However, grief can decrease their appetites even more, which can lead to malnutrition and dehydration.

Feeling confused during the grieving process is common at any age. However, among the elderly this confusion can be much worse and lead to periods of forgetfulness, disorganization, and disorientation. Since these are many of the same symptoms associated with cognitive impairment and dementia, testing should be done to eliminate these conditions as the source of confusion.

Elderly people are more likely to experience significant life changes following the death of a loved one, especially a spouse, then younger people. For elderly spouses who were married for many years, the loss of the other spouse creates a void in caring and support. The surviving spouse may find themselves having to leave a home that they’ve lived in for many years and either move into small apartment, in with their families, or into an assisted living facility. These kind of life changes magnify the stress of grief.

Another loss that elderly people may experience following the death of a spouse are financial difficulties. Unless there is life insurance or financial investment that ensures financial security, many elderly people who lose their spouse also lose the fixed income that the spouse received. So instead of living on to fixed incomes, the surviving spouse has to make it on one fixed income. This is also an extra stress added to the grieving process.

Another source of stress associated with grief among the elderly are the feelings of being isolated, alone, and lonely. Losing a spouse, a close friend, or close relative can mean losing someone to confide in, to talk to, or to spend time with. Younger family members are usually wrapped up in their own lives with and raising families, so they don’t have a lot of extra time to spend with older family members (and they don’t realize what older family members are feeling and experiencing). This can lead to elderly to believe that they are truly all alone in the world, which can exacerbate the stress associated with grief.

Grief support and grief counseling are good resources for elderly people who are dealing with extra stress and different grief than their younger counterparts. Many of these resources are free.

If you’d like to learn about grief resources and cremation services in Shaker Heights, OH, our compassionate and experienced team at E. F. Boyd & Son Funeral Home is here to help. You can visit us at our funeral home at 25900 Emery Road, Warrensville Heights, OH, or you can call us today at (216) 831-7906.

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