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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…)

Should Seniors Grieve Alone?


(photo courtesy of ohbnkr and flickr)

Throughout life we are taught so many different things but nobody ever teaches us how to grieve. As a person gets older their mortality becomes very real as more and more friends and family members begin to pass. At a time in one’s life when the losses (more…)

The Angels of Hospice


(photo courtesy of Metrogirl and Flickr)

Click Here to read a great article on what hospice is. I am sometimes still amazed at the lack of knowledge society has with regard to hospice. Most people still only think of calling hospice in the final days of the death process and also don’t know that hospice is covered as a benefit by Medicare. I have never met a person working in hospice that was anything less than gentle, compassionate and just the epitome of what giving is all about. Death and dying (more…)

Surviving the Loss of a Loved One


(photo courtesy of and Flickr)

One of our blogs yesterday was entitled, “What Do You Do When He’s No Longer There?” It was all about emotion, however in addition to the emotion comes the real world and trying to create a list to make sure everything gets done. I put this list together in hopes it would help. These are the phone calls and paperwork you will need to take care of: (more…)

What Do You Do When He’s No Longer There?


(photo courtesy of John.Fisch and Flickr)

Fifty years after our wedding day and he’s gone. We take him to the hospital and just like that, he’s gone. I wasn’t prepared to go home alone. I’m not prepared to be alone now. What do you do after fifty years of marriage and a generation whose foundation was built on the man “actually” being the man of the house? Finding out was (more…)