Depending on individual religious beliefs and spirituality, the majority of us understand the circle of life and we grow up accepting that all lives end. But later in life, this understanding may take on a completely different meaning.
Losing a spouse as a senior
Through the research conducted by Dr. Julie Piercy, professor of psychology in Central Virginia, it is important to note that more times than not, women are widowed more often than men. In fact, research reveals that actually, women in their eighties are four out of five times more likely to outlive their husband. Of the two, the wife will likely recover more quickly from the grieving process. Wives often have other females in their lives to turn to for emotional support and companionship. Husbands, on the other hand, do not develop skills as frequently for a life lived alone. In fact, they are much more likely to immediately find a new spouse than a widowed woman.
Is it grief or depression?
Knowing this type of information can help you better offer understanding in the event that someone in your family loses their longtime spouse. It is equally as important to understand and be aware of the very real possibility that your aging loved one might be working through their grief about a loss rather than being lost in the midst of depression.
Episodic depression may develop around particular, painful life changes such as a forced retirement before that person truly felt ready to retire. The death of a dear friend or pet, conflicts with adult children and grandchildren and financial woes can also be overwhelming reasons why a senior suddenly feels depressed. According to helpguide,org, reasons for depression in our golden years may develop due to:
- A reduced sense of purpose
- Fear of dying
- Anxiety about finances
- Grieving a loved one
It can be difficult for you to differentiate between whether your loved one is battling depression or simply trying to work through grief. Symptoms of both conditions include: loss of appetite, social isolation, fatigue, problems sleeping, physical complaints and lack of interest in activities they once enjoyed.
Give your favorite senior something to count on
Having someone to talk with on a regular basis and something to look forward to each morning can help seniors cope with a loss or stave off depression. Winter