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Understand Anticipatory Grief and How You Can Help

By Melissa Hill, 9:00 am on

Anticipatory grief can come in many forms during the later stages of life. Though we often talk about grief as a state after the passing of a loved one, your elderly or terminally ill parent may experience grief as he or she anticipates his or her own death. Recognizing the symptoms, understanding motivations, and knowing how to handle a parent’s end-of-life feelings can deepen your relationship and ease any emotional or mental burdens.

Signs of Anticipatory Grief

It’s common for those facing death to encounter a sort of tying-up-of-loose-ends process. Attempting to settle debts or relieve longstanding tensions may become a priority for your parent, and this requires immense reflection and adjustment. Talk through inspirations and realistic actions with your loved one, and help chart a path toward resolution.

In later life stages, some parents may feel like a burden on their children. As your aging parent struggles with guilt and the potential loss of independence, it’s important for you to comfort and reassure him or her. Let your loved one know that providing in-home care offers a sense of fulfillment and a way to repay him or her for caring for you.

We all judge our own mistakes harshly. Your parent may fixate on negative aspects of the past and revel in guilt. Do your best to frame his or her past actions in a larger, spiritual context to lighten this weight.

What You Can Do

Anticipatory grief can bring about diverse scenarios. Recognizing the symptoms and utilizing some of the techniques below may ease the pressure on you, your loved one, and your family.

  • Encourage your loved one to share his or her feelings
  • If possible, help your loved one stay physically active
  • To a healthy point, give your time and attention to your loved one
  • Give the situation spiritual context
  • Openly discuss feelings and go through the process together
  • Build and utilize a knowledgeable support system

Walking through the circumstances with your parent can broaden your relationship and understanding of one another. To make the most of your time together, turn to the dedicated staff at Home Care Assistance. Our live-in and respite caregivers in Oklahoma can help with a wide variety of tasks and relieve you of caregiving responsibilities, ensuring you have ample time to focus on the relationship with your loved one. For more information, please call 405-285-4191 and schedule a complimentary in-home consultation today.