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Understanding Grief and Loss from a Caregiver Perspective

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Grief is a universal human experience, and it doesn’t just come in the wake of death. Any type of loss can trigger grief, including the loss of a job, a home, or a pet. In essence, grief may be experienced when anything meaningful in one’s life comes to an end. 

Although everyone experiences grief, we don’t all experience it the same way. It is highly personal and there are many ways to respond to it, some of these ways being more helpful than others. 

Older people are often more vulnerable to grief and its lasting effects. Caregivers can play a vital role in supporting their loved one as they move through grief and toward healing.

Supporting a loved one who is grieving

One of the biggest mistakes that well-meaning people make when dealing with a grieving person is minimizing, denying, or ignoring their experience. “It’s just part of life.” “The only thing to do is move on.” These kinds of comments can actually do a lot of damage by making a person feel like their grief is unreasonable and unwelcome. What’s more, these comments won’t make the grief go away—they’ll simply make the person feel like they can’t talk about it. This can be a very isolating experience. 

As hospice care providers and caregivers, the best thing we can do for a grieving loved one is to listen and hold space for their emotions, whatever they are. Accept, acknowledge, and support their feelings, no matter whether they are positive or negative. You may also encourage your loved one to express their feelings in a journal, which can be a very cathartic and healing practice. 

Many older people who are dealing with grief also find relief in support groups, where they can share their thoughts with others who are experiencing the same thing. For this reason, many hospice centers and hospitals have resources for connecting people with local support groups.

Getting extra help for grief

If grief has become overwhelming for your loved one or they don’t seem to improve over time, then counseling may be a good option for getting them the support they need. Although grief is natural and valid, holding on to unresolved grief in the long term can lead to serious outcomes, including depression and a diminished quality of life. Talking to their primary care doctor is a good first step to getting your loved one the help they need.

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La Bella Vita Hospice, Inc. provides home hospice care for patients in Los Angeles, Arleta, Calabasas, Canoga Park, Burbank, Chatsworth, Encino, Glendale, Glenoaks, Granada HIlls, Hansen Hills, Hidden Hills, La Crescenta, Lake Balboa, Lake View Terrace, MIssion Hills, North Hills, North Hollywood, Northridge, Pacoima, Panorama City, Porter Ranch, Reseda, San Fernando, Shadow Hills, Sherman Oaks, Sun Valley, Sunland, Studio City, Sylmar, Tarzana, Thousand Oaks, Toluca Lake, Toluca Terrace, Tujunga, Valley Glen, Valley Village, Van Nuys, Vergudo, West Hills, West Toluca Lake, Winnetka, Woodland Hills, Ventura County, Antelope Valley, and the San Fernando Valley. © Copyright 2020 - All Rights Reserved.  
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