Easing Grief After Loss for Older Adults During COVID-19
Ways to Help a Grieving Older Adult
- Setting times to call or “meet”: We still need to connect to people even if we are social distancing. Set a time in your calendar every day to call, video chat or meet in the driveway (6 feet away, of course) with your loved one. “Do everything that you possibly can to be present,” said Lennon Flowers, co-founder and executive director of The Dinner Party, a platform for grieving 20- and 30-year-olds in an article about grief and COVID-19. “Treat those spaces with the same sacredness that you would treat a conversation around the dinner table.”
- Grieving and healing: Jason Spendelow, Ph.D., clinical and coaching psychologist, suggests a dual-process approach to grief. Encourage your older loved one to participate in grieving activities, such as looking at photos of those who have passed, crying or sharing stories about the person. But then, follow-up with healing activities such as restorative exercises, planning for the future, or hobbies.
- Recruiting professional help: Many psychological clinics are now offering tele-sessions where the patient can visit with the therapist and psychiatrist via phone or on the computer. There are also apps, such as Talkspace, where anyone can connect with an online licensed therapist.