Who’ll Care for Mom? Helping One Parent After the Loss of the Other

People in loving, lengthy marriages are always doing little things for each other throughout the day, whether it’s bringing a cup of coffee, checking the oil in the car, or any of the countless other small tasks that get taken for granted. 

As they grow older and one partner begins to fail in some way, the other tends to compensate for it, often subconsciously. Some couples may not realize the extent of their interdependence. For others, one might become the caregiver.  

When a spouse dies, the surviving spouse can feel adrift in unfamiliar territory and need to learn how to navigate the new normal.   In some cases, that person may not even know how to do certain things — balancing a checkbook, paying the bills, cooking and cleaning — because their partner always handled them.   

Adult children may also find themselves facing new and unexpected responsibilities. In the days following a loss, the care the surviving parent needs can be more extensive and last longer than expected. It can be stressful to realize that a surviving parent is more fragile than you thought they’d be, and it can be difficult when the time spent mourning a loss ends up being time spent planning for your parent’s care.  

When this happens, it may be time to call in an outside caregiver. Even if you have the resources to take your surviving parent into your home and care for him or her yourself, take your time making this kind of decision. It’s not always in your parent’s best interest to make major changes quickly. It’s perfectly acceptable to hire someone to help, even if it’s just in the interim while you’re weighing your options.  

Remember to take care of yourself, as well. You need time to mourn and to rest. Lean on your friends and family if you need to, and look to your community or religious organization for support.  

At Greenwood Memorial, we are committed to caring for the families we serve, providing exceptional and compassionate care. We can help your family plan for the funeral of a loved one and point you to resources in the community to benefit the surviving spouse. Call (619) 450-1479 for more information.

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