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Grief and the Elderly

Article from today’s NY Times Op-ED about Grief:

Grief Unedited
by Ruth Davis Konigsberg

EVER since Joan Didion’s book “The Year of Magical Thinking” began its lengthy run as a bestseller in 2005, a number of first-person accounts of losing a husband have been published. Among them were Kate Braestrup’s “Here If You Need Me,” Anne Roiphe’s “Epilogue” and Kay Redfield Jamison’s “Nothing Was the Same.” This week, they are being joined by Joyce Carol Oates’s “A Widow’s Story,” which recounts the death of her 77-year old husband, Raymond Smith, from complications following pneumonia in 2008. While these memoirs are often moving, they are also highly subjective snapshots that don’t teach us much about how we typically grieve, nor more importantly, for how long.

In the past decade, social scientists with unprecedented access to large groups of widows and widowers have learned that, as individual an experience as grief may be, there are specific patterns to its intensity and duration that are arguably more helpful in guiding the bereaved in what to expect. They have found that most older people who lose spouses from natural causes recover much more quickly than we have come to expect. In fact, for many, acute grief tends to lift well within six months after the loss. (more…)


When I first viewed this, I knew I would post it on our blog. What I also knew was I would share a brief synopsis of my own journey of grief. The one thing I discovered about grief is, it takes it own course and it is best to let it run the course it needs to go. When I lost mom, all that appeared to come forth was strength as I wanted to help dad through grieving his wife of 64 years. I was numb. And I could hardly believe it when dad died 3 months later and I found myself sitting back in that damn cemetery. Up to that point I had always viewed cemeteries with reverence for the deceased but seeing a headstone with both my parents names on it was horrifying. I learned we all grieve differently and we all grieve over different periods of time. (more…)

Senior Caregiver – A Daughter’s Journey to the End

As this year comes to an end memories come back to me of the precious last days I shared with my parents before their passing. It’s been 4 long years since their passing and not a day goes by that I don’t think of mom and dad. In fact, their passing charted my pathway into the senior business. I feel really blessed that I was able to be with each of them in their final moments. Their passing had a profound effect on my belief system …. (more…)

Coping with loss during the holidays

This is my first Christmas after losing my dad. Although my parents live across the country, I still feel the loss deeply. It felt strange to send a Christmas card address only to Mom this year. It was sad not to send him his favorite basket from The Popcorn Factory.  His passing was recent, but somehow the loss gets bigger during the holidays. (more…)