Legal and financial moves to take care of yourself and your loved ones. Nothing quite prepares you for the dark and debilitating grief of losing a spouse or life partner.
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Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin reed shortly after the death of his wife. A classic portrait of the grieving widower, his despondency did not surprise mental health professionals. One psychiatrist explained that "Women take bereavement better than men because the widow keeps her domain" while the widower tends to become disoriented. This article examines the perception that men, specifically aging men, are more emotionally distressed than aging women by their spouse's death. A literature review reveals little evidence from behavioral or psychological studies to support the perception, along with mixed evidence of higher male mortality rates in some age groups. Data from a random probability community mental health survey are presented.
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Coping with loss: help for widows and widowers
A leading indicator of our success is the feedback we get from our patients. Losing a spouse can be devastating.
Even a terminal illness that seemingly prepares you for the inevitable loss does not really help you deal with the finality of death. Everyone handles this critical life transition differently, and knowing how others have coped may ease some of the pain. Whether you have lost your spouse and recently, or are thinking what the future may bring, it is helpful to know something about the natural process of grieving. Some people rely on established traditions and close family members to ease the way. Others find that being alone and making changes at a very slow pace allows them to better adjust to life without a partner.
No one can anticipate how you will react, but experts can help you understand the different phases of bereavement and direct you to services that widow be helpful. It is also useful to be prepared for the practical matters that you may have to deal with when your spouse dies, and how to approach your new status as a widow or widower. Approximately 30 years ago, psychiatrist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross identified five emotional stages experienced by dying widower these same steps are commonplace among the bereaved, as well.
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While Kubler-Ross articulated the steps as a process of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, there is no guarantee that one phase will gently pass into another. Because emotions and very volatile, you might cycle through these phases a of times, you might skip a phase and cycle back to it, or you might even have additional kinds of reactions. How long you extend your period of bereavement is a very widow decision, and depends on your emotional reactions and your personal beliefs and ideas. Here, five widows and widowers talk about their experiences with grief:.
Shortly after her husband passed away, Joscelyn Carrington seemed to have accepted her loss and moved on with her life. She packed up her house and moved to a smaller condominium, distributing her husband's treasured possessions among close relatives so that his memory could live on. But even though she appeared to be reconciled, she found herself lonely and self-absorbed, and it took more than four years for her to finally accept Tom's death. Ken Mullin's children urged him to come and live with them after his wife's death, but he was reluctant to widower the house in which they had lived for forty years.
Finding another way to get through his own personal period of grief, he kept Julie's sewing room and for many months before re-arranging the furniture into a study for himself. I just wanted some aspect of her presence around for a while. Agnes Dannett was married for 30 years before her husband passed away 15 years ago, but she has had no widower in remarrying. Priscilla Tannen was 60 when she lost her husband of 30 years, and she found the difficult change to be liberating once she got over her overwhelming grief.
I have created a new me and I really like my life the way it is. An emotional response to death can also be accompanied by physical reactions and behavioral changes. Shortly after the loss of a loved one, the remaining partner might feel numb or widow of breath, or be disoriented and listless. After the initial shock wears off, some people have reported chest pains, fatigue, and a lack of resistance to illness, combined with a hypersensitive and over-reactive state of mind.
It is important to realize that the grieving process is a natural one and that your reactions are most likely a normal response to an inescapable life change. Take advantage of community organizations that offer programs for the recently widowed, reach out to family and friends, and consult a medical expert if you widow you need additional help or if the reactions associated with the death are impeding your widower life activities.
Even though you are feeling ificant emotional upheaval, you may also have to deal with the execution of a will, funeral arrangements, and other details surrounding the death of your spouse. Try to discuss some of these issues with your partner in advance, thereby taking some of the stress out of the situation before it happens. On the other hand, some people have found that being thrown into "crisis mode" and immersing themselves in the traditions and obligations surrounding a funeral keeps them from dwelling on death. Overcoming loss is a very personal issue, but understanding the wide range of responses helps to acknowledge that you are not alone.
Involve yourself with others in your community, get appropriate medical attention if you need it, and stay involved with your family. This can make the difference between your happiness and a and of extended grief. Life without your spouse is certainly different, but definitely not over.
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AARP final details: a guide for survivors. AARP: special section on grief and loss. Exceptional Nurses Winchester Hospital was the first community hospital in the state to achieve Magnet deation, recognition for nursing excellence. Supporting Our Community Our tremendous staff gives back to our community by coordinating free health screenings, educational programs, and food drives. What Our Patients are Saying A leading indicator of our success is the feedback we get from our patients.
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Dealing With Grief Approximately 30 years ago, psychiatrist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross identified five emotional stages experienced by dying people; these same steps are commonplace among the bereaved, as well. Here, five widows and widowers talk about their experiences with grief: Moving On Shortly after her husband passed away, Joscelyn Carrington seemed to have accepted her loss and moved on with her life.
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Talk to Someone It is important to realize that the grieving process is a natural one and that your reactions are most likely a normal response to an inescapable life change. Attending to Practical Matters Even though you are feeling ificant emotional upheaval, you may also have to deal with the execution of a will, funeral arrangements, and other details surrounding the death of your spouse. Here are some things to remember: Notify all your family members, or have a relative do it.
Notify the bank, insurance company, your lawyer, and all creditors.
Be aware of benefits, retirement s, and financial issues. Contact Social Security to apply for surviving spouse benefits, and ask about your eligibility for Medicare. If your spouse was a veteran, contact the Veterans Administration regarding benefits. In planning the funeral, consider your finances when picking a casket and funeral package. Do not feel you have to spend more than you can afford. Funerals can be costly, and many seniors have pre-arranged funeral plans.
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