Dealing with Grief after Losing a Loved One to COVID-19
Seniors have been heavily impacted both physically and emotionally by COVID-19. The virus has been devastating for people over age 65, who have a higher risk of becoming seriously ill if infected. Spending more than a year alone and isolated to avoid getting sick was hard on people as they were away from friends and family.
With vaccinations, many seniors have been able to resume some normal activities again. While the return is a welcome change, they may now be faced with the heartache of getting back to life without loved ones lost along the way. Hundreds of thousands of people were lost to COVID-19, with people over age 65 making up about 80 percent of the victims. If you have lost a friend or family member to COVID-19, here are some ways to work through the grief you may feel.
Find a Support Group
Grief can feel incredibly lonely, especially if you have lost a spouse or close family member. You are not alone, however, and finding people who have experienced loss can help you work through it. A support group will give you the chance to talk to people who understand what you are going through.
Talk to Someone
Support groups aren’t for everyone. You might not be ready to get together with other people to talk about your experiences. Even if you don’t want to find a grief support group, talking to a therapist could be a good option. Researchers have found that talking to a grief counselor can not only help decrease symptoms of grief, but those feelings can continue to ease even after counseling has finished.
Even when a loved one has died, their memory lives on for their family and friends. Reminiscing about the people you have lost is an important way for you to remember all the reasons you loved them. Don’t tell yourself it is time to “move on” just because someone is no longer with you. Share their memories freely, and allow others around you to share memories as well.
Write about It
You don’t have to be an aspiring novelist to keep a journal. Writing about your grief is just about you. It is the perfect way to let it all out without worrying about getting emotional or sharing too much. Just get out a pen and paper and let your thoughts and feelings flow.
“Grieving the loss of a loved one can be difficult, especially during a pandemic that has been especially deadly for seniors,”says Sarah Hilton, a registered nurse. “The support of family and friends, as well as community members who have also experienced loss, can help people heal.”
There is no perfect way to deal with the grief you feel after losing a loved one. The most important method is whatever works for you. Take the time to care for yourself and your needs, and allow yourself to work through your grief with the help of the people who love you.