How the Elderly Cope with the Death of a Spouse Essay

How the Elderly Cope with the Death of a Spouse Essay

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Ever noticed an elderly couple performing normal daily activities and think to yourself, what would they do without one another? Many of us have elderly relatives who are either married or have someone with whom they have a tight bond with, such as a best friend, and we believe they keep each other alive. We are all born to die, but how we cope with death is different. When someone dies, persons affected may feel depressed, sad and even angry. Looking at death from a different perspective, such as a loved one going to a better place, instead of a loss can cause relatives to celebrate. This is usually the case when the cause of death is natural. When death of a spouse is because of a traumatic event, love ones are left with many questions that they can live with for the rest of their lives. We may continue to live normal lives once the emotional pain is suppressed. I use the term suppress, because it is not clear that anyone ever "gets over" the death of a loved one. Bereavement in the elderly can cause the partner to become lonely, fall ill, and often times die soon after.
When an older adults life long partner dies, what is their mental state? According to Lund, the mental health of many older spouses is not as devastating as expected, although loneliness and problems associated with the tasks of living are the most common and difficult adjustments of the adult (Meiner, 2011). Research reported to Journal of Gerontologic Nursing (JOGN) indicates that the assessment tool, Inventory of Complicated Grief (ICG), can asses the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors associated with separation distress including … excessive loneliness (Barron & Minton, 2008). Additionally, another test can be done to assess the pro...


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... to make the person feel better too quick. Instead you should assist the older person through the grieving process which is normal and healthy (Meiner, 2011)


Works Cited

Barron, C., Minton, M. (2008). Spousal Bereavement Assessment: A Review of Bereavement- Specific Measures. Journal of Gerontologic Nursing, Vol. 34, No.8, 34-48. Retrieved from EBSCOhost
Elwert, F., & Christakis, N. (2008). The Effect of Widowhood on Mortality by the Causes of Death of Both Spouses. American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 98(11), 2092-2098. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Howie, L., Mcintyre, G. (2002). Adapting to Widowhood Through Meaningful Occupations: A Case Study. Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy, Vol. 9, 54-62. Retrieved from EBSCOhost
Meiner, S. (2011). Loss and End-of-Life Issues. In P. Burbank and J. Miller (Eds.), Gerontologic Nursing (pp. 351-365)

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