The idea of selling a home (or buying a home) can be stressful for many of us, regardless of age, background, or current situation in life. Relocating into a new home can be especially stressful for seniors, who have often lived in the same home for most of their lives. It can be tough leaving the very same home that you have had for decades. This often involves having to sort through all of one’s belongings, and having to leave behind so many nostalgic memories that were tied to the former home.
A move is a life-changing event and a massive undertaking. That being said, there are certain situations in life when it may be time to consider moving. For our senior loved ones, the death of a spouse can be one of these situations.
There are many reasons why seniors consider moving after the death of a spouse. First and foremost, there are understandably strong emotions while dealing with the loss of such a significant partner. When we lose a close loved one such as our spouse, we often find ourselves constantly reminded of them everywhere we go.
Continuing to live in the same home we used to share with our spouse – especially sleeping in an empty bed without them beside us – can really add to our pain and grief. Bereavement has been shown to decrease immune system function among seniors. Sometimes, it is physically and emotionally beneficial to make a move.
Seniors who are still very active might consider simply downsizing into a smaller home, such as a one-level house, apartment or condominium. A one-level home with an entrance on the first floor becomes increasingly ideal as we age. One reason for this is because stairs can become difficult to climb, sometimes causing pain in the body. To help prevent any falls or injuries, a single level home is more ideal for seniors.
Additionally, smaller homes are easier to clean and maintain. This becomes one less thing for your loved one to worry about, and the reduced stress level can actually contribute to improving your loved one’s overall mental, physical and emotional health.
We all face grief at some point in our lives. Unfortunately, we have no control over when we lose our loved ones. It is simply a challenge we all must face at some point. Your senior loved one’s ability to move on depends upon his or her support system and inner resources, such as resilience, self care, and courage.
If you are helping a widowed loved one deal with the loss of a spouse, you are doing the right thing by researching and by being supportive. You have already shown your compassion by taking the time to read this article. We don’t ever really “get over” the death of a loved one. However, with your help, your senior loved one will hopefully be able to work through his or her grief in healthy ways that allow continued appreciation of life’s everyday joys.