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How can I help Grandma cope with losing Grandpa?

My grandfather was the one who paid all the bills, house repairs and driving. Grandma has only ever taken care of domestic chores and raising children. Grandpa died a few months ago and she has no idea how to function without him. She is otherwise healthy and doesn't need assistance with anything else. She is lost and I don't know how to help.
Status: Open    Jun 16, 2014 - 07:34 PM

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Expert Answers

Aug 26, 2015 - 02:17 PM

My heart goes out to you and your Grandmother.

Clearly, this is a difficult time for you and your family and at these critical moments, it is easy to become overwhelmed.

My first piece of advice would be to take a step back and realize that you are not alone.

This will hopefully provide a small consolation to help you deal with your acute pain and personal loss, to know that others empathize with you.

We don’t live in a vacuum and I’m sure that your many family friends and loved ones are there to assist you in your time of need.

On a practical level and based upon the specificity of your question, here is what needs to be done asap:

1. Your Grandmother needs expert counseling. Look for a qualified psychotherapist who deals with loss and bereavement.

2. Your Grandmother needs to appoint and designate a POA to handle her affairs, clinically, financially, or perhaps even both.

3. Your Grandmother needs to be kept busy, stimulated and surrounded by love (and those whom she loves) as often and as frequently as possible. As a previous responder mentioned, do NOT allow her to isolate herself and withdraw from life, literally.

4. Get her involved with senior and community centers in her area and consider enrolling her in an Adult Day Care Center for daily activities and recreation.

5. Consider engaging with an Elder Attorney to discuss important issues related to Wills, Estates, Trusts and Advanced Directives.

If you have specific questions and would like my personal assistance, feel free to reach out to me via my contact information.

Godspeed to you and yours!

Judah Gutwein, L.N.H.A.

Regency Nursing Centers, NJ

Answers

Aug 03, 2015 - 01:13 PM

I'm sorry for the loss of your grandpa. My first suggestion would be, if possible, to try to not allow your grandmother to isolate herself. If there is a senior center close by, call the outreach worker, who would be happy to do a home visit and suggest any assistance that the senior center would have to offer. They may even have a bereavement group.
There are volunteers that do friendly visiting, bonded and screened money managers, trips, volunteer groups, etc. Senior centers have knitting groups who make caps for soldiers, children in hospitals and folks in nursing homes. She may find comfort in doing for others.
Sometimes old friends stay away from those suffering from grief because they don't know what to say, or fear that it would be too difficult for them. Perhaps arrange for a tea or luncheon for a small group of her friends so as to break the ice. Call them yourself if you have to. Remind folks of the time thay said, "is there anything I can do?"
The benefit of a pet, (not puppy, they can be too much to handle) but an older dog or kitten or cat, is underestimated and can bring much comfort and focus a caring nature. I hope this helps in some way.
Diana, an outreach and bereavement counselor

Aug 24, 2015 - 04:20 AM

You can also consult an attorney about Power of Attorney if she is not "getting it" with her financial affairs. I had to do this for my aunt, who was able to take care of herself into her 90s except for money matters. This has to be done while she is still mentally competent and can be a very sensitive topic of discussion. Many older people do not want to give up their independence with money. Others are happy to turn over financial affairs to other people. She would have to agree to designating someone else as POA. I set it up so that most bills were paid automatically from her bank accounts. For other checks, I'd write them out for her and have her sign them.

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