I will be speaking later today at a meeting of adult caregivers on the topic of grief coaching. I feel passionate about the topic and particularly want more people to become aware that residents of care facilities, retirees, and even those who are aging in their own homes have a significant helping of grief to deal with.
Grief isn’t only about bereavement. For these individuals, it is about dealing with loss of youth and vitality, of health, of mobility, of independence, of a familiar location and routine. They mourn the friends, family, and co-workers left behind, the smells and sounds and faces they are accustomed to. This is a grief as real and poignant as any other, but it often fails to be recognized for what it truly is. Families and caregivers need to become aware of this grief and find ways to help. Listening without judgement is the best way. Don’t every say you know how they feel or tell the grieving person they’ll get over it in time. The first is simply untrue because each loss is as unique as the person and relationship is represents. The second is true but completely unhelpful to someone suffering from a loss. Do ask, “What can I do to help?” Then listen closely to the response without any preconceived notions.