You’ve recently lost one of your parents. It’s been hard on everyone in your family, yourself included. But you’re particularly concerned about your surviving parent.
Maybe they’ve let things slip – their appearance, the state of their home. They’re not eating properly. They’re not getting out and socializing like they used to. It’s possible that getting out of bed in the morning is a chore for them.
You’re concerned about them living on their own. What should you do?
Should your grieving parent be living on their own?
Early on, it may be difficult to assess how well your parent will cope living alone in their current home long-term. Initially, they may be incapacitated with grief, but over time some of the shock may wear off and they may regain their ability to function day-to-day.
That’s why it’s often best not to rush into decisions like whether they need to sell their house. Of course, if they’re so fragile or they have cognitive problems that are so serious that you or other members of your family aren’t able to safely support them, alternative living arrangements may need to be made sooner rather than later.
Supporting your grieving parent
That being said, here are some of the ways you can try to support them:
- Keeping in touch and making sure they aren’t socially isolated
- Being patient with their subdued behaviour, swings in emotion, or reluctance to socialize
- Listening as they share memories of the person who died
- Helping them with simple tasks that may now seem overwhelming or that were previously handled by their spouse
- Researching things for them like social and volunteer opportunities
- Making sure they’re eating and sleeping properly
It’s important to recognize that grief isn’t about “getting over” someone’s death. There’s no timetable for grieving, some date after which your parent should be “moving on” with their life. Losing their life partner is something they may never completely recover from.
If they’re having a particularly hard time coping on their own, you may want to make sure that someone is with them, at least during the initial period following the death of your other parent. You may decide to move in with them or have them move in with you. But be careful not to box yourself in. If this turns into a long-term living arrangement, it can become a bigger commitment than you initially bargained for, especially as they age and need more and more of your support.
Alternative living arrangements
After the initial period of grieving, your parent may continue to struggle living alone in their current home. They may find that the place feels painfully empty now. And from a practical point of view, it may be too big for them to keep up on their own.
At this point, they may be willing to consider a move to a smaller place with less upkeep.
One option to consider is an independent living apartment in a retirement community. These are designed to be friendly to aging adults, more compact, easy to get around, and free of hassles like maintenance and yard work. Some suites come with access to dining facilities and/or a meal plan, even though residents do their own cooking for the most part. Other services and amenities may also be available.
People who move into independent living communities often find that it’s easier for them to make new friends. After all, these suites are usually located in active communities with lots of opportunities to take part in various recreational and social activities.
Independent living options
Independent living accomodations – and the services and amenities that come with them – vary widely from retirement community to retirement community. That’s why the best way to get a feel for what life is like in one is to visit.
Learn more about Sinceri Senior Living’s retirement communities
If you’re thinking a retirement community might be the way to go or you’d just like to explore it as an option, we can help. Learn more about Sinceri’s assisted living communities here, and contact us to schedule a tour.