As an adult child, losing a parent is an extremely difficult time for you and the entire family. But what about the surviving parent? It is important to remember that losing a parent differs from losing a spouse. The loss can be overwhelming, and while everyone will have their way of grieving, it can be challenging to support a grieving parent while trying to navigate the loss of a parent. Your parents may have had very distinct roles in their relationship, and it could be the first time they face responsibilities for the entire household. How will everyone’s life change? Will the surviving parent be able to take care of themselves? Will you be able to grieve your loss while supporting your surviving parent?
First, make sure you understand the signs of grieving by educating yourself on grief. Your surviving parent may have trouble remembering simple things and become disorganized and lacking motivation. Grief can cause physical and emotional pain, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, and sleeplessness. In addition, grief can cause various emotions, such as anger, disbelief, regret, shock, depression, or relief. Seeking professional guidance or joining support groups through church or your community can provide comfort. In addition, counseling and support groups can offer a safe environment for you or your parent to learn and share experiences.
Consoling a parent while dealing with your own feelings of loss can cause frustration. Instead, allow your parent the time and space to process their loss by being patient and supportive. Remember, there is no standard way to grieve, so try not to compare but listen.
There are also numerous financial responsibilities, including paperwork and planning a funeral or celebration of life ceremony. On top of daily tasks, your surviving parent is still learning to cope with living without their spouse. Helping with daily chores can be one way of showing your support for someone struggling with grief.
However, supporting the surviving parent is difficult while still allowing yourself the time to grieve. One way you can help alleviate frustrations while providing your parent the necessary help is through professional home care services. With the assistance of a caregiver, you can be assured that your parent has help with activities of daily living as well as much-needed companionship. Some of these activities include transportation, light housekeeping, laundry, and meal preparation. Knowing that you and your surviving parent don’t have to navigate this process alone can be the first step in healing.
In addition, Veterans and surviving spouses with limited income may be eligible for the Pension with Aid and Attendance benefit, which may be used to help offset the cost of home care services. Surviving spouses of Veterans may also qualify for this benefit.
Veterans Care Coordination’s mission is to make it easier for Veterans and surviving spouses to age at home. We do this by partnering with quality home care providers to help navigate the VA’s application process for pension funds, maximize the VA pension funds, get care started as quickly as possible, and assist in managing the benefit for as long as needed.