Losing a Spouse, Here’s how to Help
Losing a Spouse, here’s how to help… while losing a spouse is painful and emotional, the world doesn’t always wait for loved ones to grieve. After the passing of a partner, the widow or widower will often need to address financial and other issues as they navigate life on their own. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help your loved one tackle these crucial decisions. Losing a Spouse, here’s how to help, courtesy of Duffy Realty.
Help Them Grieve
When it comes to the loss of a loved one, there are no magic words to make the pain go away – so don’t pretend there are. Instead, be there for your loved one and listen, whether they want to talk about the loss or something else entirely. You can also help by suggesting a way to honor their loved ones. One great option is creating a nonprofit in the same of the deceased so that friends and family have something positive to focus on. The process is somewhat technical but a professional formation service can help. You can also have friends and family donate to a cause or charity that was close to the loved one’s heart.
Whether Living Alone Is Still Safe (or Affordable)
If your loved one and their spouse lived together at home, this means big changes in everyday life. If your loved one decides not to live alone — or if it is not safe for them to do so — now is the time to consider a move to assisted living. This will need to be dealt with carefully and patiently.
Psychology Today explains that older adults might no longer be safe living alone when they begin to experience frequent falls, have no support network or become confused with medications and daily tasks. And without their spouse’s financial support, paying the bills can become impossible, too. All of these need to be taken into account when deciding how to move forward after the death of a spouse.
Note that assisted living is generally for people who require some support with day-to-day activities, but it also preserves independence as your loved one will have a room or apartment to themselves. Such a transition can be safer and more enjoyable for your family member than remaining in a house all alone. To help your aging loved one narrow down the options, consider touring several facilities to see what features and services are available. It may take some time for them to agree to this new change.
They may also need help selling their home. First, even before contacting a realtor, use a free online calculator to estimate the value of a home; that way, you’ll have a better idea of what sort of budget your loved one will be looking at. After that, you can assist them in finding a reputable realtor, as well as cleaning and preparing the house for sale.
What to Look for in Assisted Living Options
Consider your loved one’s needs and the type of support the assisted living community offers. For example, if they require help with preparing meals or managing personal needs, make sure the community they choose offers these services. Many communities assist with medication reminders and organizing social and other activities for residents. You have a number of options in the Atlanta area and beyond. Make sure to tour them after narrowing down what you need out of each one. Prepare a list of questions when you go.
As Paying For Senior Care explains, facilities may also offer “levels” of care depending on residents’ needs, notes the National Institute on Aging. Think about your senior loved one’s personality, interests, and preferences when choosing the right fit for them. What are some of their interests or likes that the facility can offer to make it more appealing?
Whether They’re Able to Support Themselves Financially
Unfortunately, many older adults are living on fixed incomes that are below the poverty level. In fact, the National Council on Aging notes that the average older adult who receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI) gets only $475 per month. Also, women tend to receive less, putting them at higher risk of financial downfall. Food insecurity and the inability to pay housing costs are also common concerns for older adults. And on a single income, many widows and widowers are at a loss for how to make ends meet. After the death of a spouse, it is important to make sure that the surviving spouse can financially support themselves.
How to Help Support Financial Independence
While you might be willing and able to help support your loved one’s financial needs, many older adults prefer to remain independent. However, even those living in assisted living communities — with food and housing expenses paid for — may need extra money for personal care and other needs. Some older adults are also living with debt, which can further impact their ability to afford the necessities. Fortunately, Daily Caring notes that there are government programs that can assist seniors with debt and other financial challenges.
For example, retirees can receive healthcare benefits with Medicare, while the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can provide food access. Other programs like the Seniors Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) also give seniors special coupons for fresh and organic produce, which may otherwise be unaffordable.
Many programs exist to help older adults find gainful employment, too. If your loved one wishes to find a part-time job, organizations like the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) can help find a placement at community or government agencies.
Living alone after losing a spouse poses many challenges, but a primary concern is often your loved one’s financial stability. Helping to support your family member’s wishes while ensuring they are enjoying safety and stability is a significant part of their adjustment to life without their partner.
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Written by Real Estate Advocate Patrick Young