4 Ways You Can Help a Senior After the Death of Their Spouse

Watching someone you love grieve is heartbreaking in its own unique way. Many people experience this when one of their aging parents dies and leaves the other widowed. They find that the sadness they feel over losing their parent takes a backseat to the empathy they feel for their surviving parent, who they know is grieving more deeply and intimately than anyone else. When this happens, many people find solace in helping their surviving parent work through the after-death preparation and grieving process.

Here are four ways you can help your parent (or any senior) after the death of his or her spouse.

Assist with Funeral Arrangements

Nobody wants to think about a budget or paperwork when they are grieving, but financial limitations and bureaucracy are a reality in this day and age. A grieving spouse is often not the best person to make rational, wallet-based decisions, so offer your help in handling arrangements related to disposition of the body, burial site, and funeral or memorial services. If you need to cut costs, you can be the one to run numbers and find creative but respectful solutions, such as hosting an “open house” instead of a full funeral procession. Don’t let unscrupulous people upsell or take financial advantage of your loved one’s grief. Be their rational eyes and ears. That said, some grieving spouses prefer to take on a more active role in funeral planning than others, so don’t take on more responsibilities or tasks than your loved one is comfortable with.

 Contact Friends, Family, Acquaintances, and Authorities

 In the days, weeks, and months following a death, there is no shortage of people who need to be contacted. One way you can help a new widow is to handle the notification of death for them. Offer to be the person who calls close friends and family to tell them about funeral arrangements. Inform organizations like churches or social groups that the deceased was a part of. Likewise, the Social Security Administration and life insurance providers need to be notified so that the spouse can begin receiving the financial assistance he or she is entitled to. Open bank or credit accounts should be closed and all debt collectors informed. However, you’ll need the official death certificate before some of these notifications can be made.

Let Them Grieve

Remember that there is no definitive formula or timeframe for moving on after the death of your spouse. People grieve in their own ways, and it’s your job to respect that. Funeralwise suggests being available, being patient, referring to the deceased by their name, and avoiding unhelpful statements like “you have to be strong now” or “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” Listen more than you speak. This is their pain to share, not yours to fix. For some, grief will come on strong and dissipate over time. For others, grief will be delayed. It’s important you recognize the signs of grief so you can address them when they do manifest. Signs of grief can include forgetfulness, disorganization, an inability to concentrate, and a lack of interest or motivation.

 Help Them Adjust Their Life

 For many people, the loss of a spouse necessitates many long-term legal, lifestyle and financial changes that might require some tough decisions. For example, if the recently departed spouse was the beneficiary of the new widow’s insurance policies or wills (and no secondary beneficiary is named), then those documents need to be adjusted to reflect the living’s desires for disbursement after death. Similarly, many aging seniors find that downsizing or moving homes after the death of their spouse is the most practical and economical. While it may not be advisable to address such issues immediately after a death, you would be responsible to make sure that a grieving senior does not let such decisions fall by the wayside indefinitely.

Although the death of a spouse if never easy, you can ease some of that pain by helping your loved one during this difficult process. However, remember to be respectful and pay close attention to their specific needs as they grieve.

Photo via Pixabay

What Worries You Masters You

From Feisty Frugal and Fabulous

In an era of self-help, the idea of taking control of one’s destiny and being mindful are constants. Which is a good thing, but for some people, these thoughts can add to a growing list of worries and become overwhelming. It can be a vicious cycle, but only if you let it.

When presented with a stressful situation, I try to make a conscious effort to not let my thoughts get out of control. I am one of those people who can immediately think of a worst-case scenario and then determine all the possible outcomes of that scenario. I’ve had to remind myself that worrying gets me nowhere, and that I need to work through a problem (and all those possible outcomes) and then leave it be. In other words, “I’ve addressed it, now I have to leave it.”

Mindfulness is key. We’re going to have worries, anxieties and life stresses – that can’t be helped – but if we learn to master those thoughts when they begin, and be more mindful, we can better deal with the issues as they arise.

Last month, for the 12th consecutive year, Capital One Canada and Credit Canada Debt Solutions (CCDS) partnered to celebrate Credit Education Week and raise awareness of financial literacy among Canadians. This year’s theme was focused on helping Canadians manage their stress and become more mindful, as it pertains to personal finance. Capital One Canada and Credit Canada fielded a survey to uncover Canadian sentiment towards finances, which revealed some interesting info about how Canadians are feeling.

According to the study, 44% of Canadians believe that their financial situation negatively impacts their mental health. The biggest financial stressor on Canadians’ mental health is their total debt load (31%), followed by affording essentials (20%).

But here’s the thing: that same study found that one in five Canadians (21%) would go to extremes to avoid reviewing their personal finances, including:
– Eating dinner with an ex-friend or ex-significant other (11%)
– Getting stung by a bee (7%)
– Sit through a root canal (6%)
– Sitting next to a sick passenger on a long-haul flight (4%)

Yikes! I realize looking at our financial situation can be awkward and uncomfortable, but it surprised me the lengths people would go to to avoid that experience. It doesn’t surprise me then that so many Canadians have debt that is mounting rather than subsiding – especially when we’re not willing to even look at the problem.

Read more here…

7 Secrets For Improving Your Emotional Health and Becoming A Happier Person

From PsychCentral

Many lucky children are raised by families that are able to provide them with all of the tools to live a happy and healthy life.

But as a psychologist who specializes in Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN), I know that many adults were not so fortunate. In fact, I can say without a doubt that children who grow up in families who are not aware of the importance of feelings or emotions usually grow up with some important gaps in their emotional toolbox. These are the people who grew up with CEN.

As you read the 7 Secrets of an emotionally healthy person below, I hope you will be thinking about yourself and about how well you are able to do them. And about the possibility that perhaps you grew up in an emotionally neglectful home.

7 Secrets of an Emotionally Healthy Person

  1. Manage your feelings. Life is so hectic and stressful that we all find ourselves trying to manage schedules, jobs, children, and finances, believing that the better we do at all of those things, the happier we will be. And all of them are very important, of course. But few things can erode your quality of life more than unexpressed anger, unresolved sadness, or unexpressed fear, for example. Unacknowledged, unresolved feelings have a way of sapping our energy and strength. They also can emerge at the least helpful times, and ruin a whole day. Most people are unaware that emotions are important messages sent by their bodies. Most folks do not realize that if they pay attention to their feelings, they will receive answers to many questions they might have about themselves, their lives, and the people around them. Acknowledging that you feel sad, for example, helps you think about why you feel sad. And that may be your body saying, “You’re losing something” or “You need something.” Your feelings can tell you very important things about your life.
  2. Know what you want. It’s entirely possible to go through your whole life seldom paying attention to what you want for yourself. For example, some folks fail to consider what they want to do for work, instead of taking whatever opportunity presents itself. Some people worry too much about what other people want and organize themselves around that. This can even apply in much smaller decisions, like what to do, what to eat, or where to go. Failing to check in with yourself and think about your wishes and desires leaves you vulnerable to ending up with a life you never chose. But when you pay attention, consider your wishes, and plan for yourself, you’re far more likely to end up in a place you have consciously chosen, and with a life that you purposely carved out for yourself.
  3. Welcome criticism. Receiving negative feedback from others is difficult, for sure. It’s never easy to hear negative comments from another person. Most of us will go to great lengths to avoid hearing criticism; and once we hear it, we get too hurt, angry or upset to adequately process its message. But if you think about it, it’s not humanly possible to go through life without making mistakes. And the people who are willing to criticize us are the ones we should value the most. Criticism is, after all, an opportunity to learn. Not that it should be accepted without question; all criticism is a product of its creator, and it usually says as much about the criticizer as it says about the person being criticized. But as long as the criticizer is generally well-meaning, once you sift through his motives and needs in your own mind, you can usually glean a helpful bit of information about yourself, and how to be better.

Read more here…

Being outside can improve memory, fight depression, and lower blood pressure

…  here are 12 science-backed reasons to spend more time outdoors

From Business Insider

  • Spending time in forests, hiking in mountains, and just being outside can lead to significant health benefits.
  • Studies have shown that walking in the woods can improve blood pressure, boost mental health, and decrease cancer risk.
  • So go spend some time “forest-bathing” to improve your health.

Many people spend workdays indoors under fluorescent lights and in front of computers, then return home to bask in the glow of television screens.

But research suggests it’s important to make time to get outdoors as well, since doing so is beneficial — maybe essential — for human health. Psychologists and health researchers are finding more and more science-backed reasons we should go outside and enjoy the natural world.

In her book, “The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative,” journalist Florence Williams writes that she started investigating the health benefits of nature after moving from the mountainous terrain of Boulder, Colorado, to what she describes as “the anti-Arcadia that is the nation’s capital”: Washington, DC.

“I felt disoriented, overwhelmed, depressed,” she wrote. “My mind had trouble focusing. I couldn’t finish thoughts. I couldn’t make decisions and I wasn’t keen to get out of bed.”

Read more here…

What the beach does to your brain

Science says the surf and sand does the mind (and body) good. Here’s how to reap the benefits of all that ‘vitamin sea.’

There’s nothing quite as synonymous with summer as the beach — and we’ve got good news for those who flock to the surf and sand as soon as work lets out on Friday afternoon.

Research finds that spending time by the ocean is pretty good for your wellbeing. In fact, according to an analysis of English census data published in the journal Health Place, those who live by the coast report better physical and mental health than those who don’t.

And in a study published in the Journal of Coastal Zone Management, participants who live in homes with ocean views report feeling calmer than those without them.

So, it makes sense then that Hawaii has earned the ranking of happiest state in the U.S. by the annual Gallup poll six times since 2008, doesn’t it?

Read more here…

5 Ways to Simplify Your Life

By Amy Morin for Psychology Today

Make room for the things that really matter.

I’ve spent the majority of the last two years living on a boat. Life on a sailboat has required me to think about what I actually need to be happy in life.

I discovered that having less stuff, fewer obligations, and more time makes room for the most important things. I have more space in my life for people I love, things I appreciate, and opportunities I want to take.

And while living on a boat has lots of benefits, it definitely isn’t for everyone. But no matter where you live or what you do, you can take steps to simplify your life.

Here’s why simplifying your life is important — everything in your life takes up space. Whether it’s mental space, physical space, or calendar space, you only have so much room.

Everything you own, everything you do, and everyone you spend time with costs you something. And when you have an abundance of stuff, it costs you a lot.

Simplifying your life will give you more time, space, and energy. The more space you have, the freer you’ll be to truly enjoy everything. Here are five ways to simplify every area of your life.

1. Declutter your house.

Your environment affects how you feel physically and psychologically. Whether you waste time looking for misplaced items, or you grow overwhelmed every time you open your closet, having too much stuff wastes your resources.

A clean, organized space helps you feel more productive and energetic than when you’re living among heaps of clothes, stacks of papers, and piles of dishes.

When you have fewer items to worry about, you’ll feel lighter. You’ll also have energy to care for the items that you keep. Start decluttering one room at a time, and see for yourself how much better you feel when you get rid of things you don’t need.

A 30-minute morning routine that will clear your mind and banish stress

From NBC

What you do the moment you open your eyes has more impact than you may think on setting the tone for the day.

Morning routines can be a struggle even for those who are naturally “morning people.” If you’re facing a busy schedule and/or managing a family, the impetus to get up and get going stat can be extreme — but for an optimal day of productivity and positivity, it’s best that we take some time to ground ourselves and start the day on a good note.

How much time? While it does depend on how early you rise and what sort of relaxation methods you prefer, we’ve determined, through conversing with mental health experts and life coaches, that a half-hour should do the trick.

We’ve broken this 30-minute routine into two, five- and 10-minute intervals. Here’s what to do, starting with the moment you open your eyes to get your day on the best possible track. You can do this all before a workoutshower and breakfast, or build these activities around those essentials.

Relevez le défi « j’arrête de me plaindre » pendant 1 mois

This article is in French, but it is great for those of you who speak/read French – the basic premise? “I am stopping complaining for 1 month” – a simple (?) and yet very difficult and very *positive* change to try for yourself!

Deux Belges ont lancé un nouveau défi pour nous aider à lutter efficacement contre la négativité : ne pas se plaindre pendant un mois. Dans un monde où il devient de plus en plus difficile de voir la vie du bon côté, cela devrait nous aider à voir les choses d’une manière plus positive.

 

Read more here…