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Tips to Help Elderly Navigate Stages of Grief

For seniors, grief and loss manifest in a number of ways. In addition to the loss of a friend or loved one, seniors may also be grieving the loss of independence, mobility, the sense of purpose associated with work or even grieving the loss of former health. It’s important that caregivers recognize the signs of grief and help seniors manage their feelings appropriately. Know the Signs According to WebMD, grief is expressed physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually. Physical expressions might include crying, fatigue or sleeplessness and loss of appetite. Seniors may also be withdrawn and distant and appear anxious, frustrated or even angry. Know the Stages Psychologists suggest most people who experience a lost go through five stages of grief — denial, followed by anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance. Seniors grieving the loss of their youth or missed opportunities, for example, may spend more time in the denial or depression stages. Know the Strategies Examples of coping and grief counseling strategies include: • individual counseling • support groups • encourage seniors to remain active or participate in activities they enjoy • meditation • seeking spiritual counsel • engaging in non traditional bereavement rituals, such as journaling or scrapbooking

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