Dealing With the Death of a Spouse
To help the elderly cope with grief, the National Institute on Aging has added Mourning the Death of a Spouse to its Age Page series of easy-to-read brochures on health topics and related concerns.
Akinso: Faced with the death of a spouse, many older people feel that their entire world has changed. They may struggle with feelings of shock, sorrow, anger, fear, or even guilt. Grief can make everyday activities difficult. To help the elderly cope with grief, the National Institute on Aging has added Mourning the Death of a Spouse to its Age Page series of easy-to-read brochures on health topics and related concerns. Dr. Lis Nielsen from the NIA's Behavioral and Social Research Program talks about what the new publication provides for the elderly.
Nielsen: Losing a spouse or anyone you're deeply close to can be a transforming experience in your life on a lot of different levels. And so this publication looks at several of those areas in which people face challenges. First of all dealing with the emotions of grief alone which can be both painful and sometimes very confusing can be tremendously difficult. Helping people to understand that the kinds of feelings that they might experience may be in some cases extremely negative and strong, not just feeling lost but also feeling angry or fearful. It's important for people to understand that this emotional experience can be quite a rollercoaster. And that's on the emotional side, on the other side there are a lot of practical consequences that come along with losing a life partner. And that's someone who's filled many important roles in your life and that presents a whole other set of challenges both in terms of restructuring your social life, rethinking how you're going to deal with everyday responsibilities and in the longer term thinking about your finances or long-term planning for yourself. So on both of those levels this publication has a lot of insights to offer.
Akinso: For a free copy of this Age Page and other useful health information visit www.nia.nih.gov/HealthInformation or call 1-800-222-2225. This is Wally Akinso at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Wally Akinso
Sound Bite: Dr. Lis Nielsen