Seniors Losing Long Time Friends

by francy Dickinson                  

Dear Francy; Dad just lost a long time friend. Today a few well known stars have passed. Dad is reacting saying he needs to stop his meds and just let the world go by without him. I am upset, his health is not extreme just managed with medications.

I understand, I went through a daily reminder of my mother’s loss of all of her old friends as she lived with us in her last five years of life. She would tell me how she missed them and how she could not share her memories with anyone. So, I have been there the only idea I had for her moods of sadness was to re-direct her to thinking in the now.

Here are a few tips:

    1. If there is a big dedication for well known personalities that have passed keep it down to a dull roar. Yes, watch an hour or so and get the information, then the channel gets changed.
    2. Get the senior out of the house, the world has sights that bring all of us back to calm. Going for a walk or drive will bring the neighborhood back into the mind of the senior, the coffee shop they love back to the forefront of their brain.
    3. Make sure you talk about passings of others but do it with humor. Remember old stories that bring smiles. Those that past should represent good memories, not sadness.
    4. Honor passings. Even if the friend that passes has not been around for a while, find a picture of them to put out and talk about the person and ask when the senior first met them and the most enjoyable time they had together? Let the senior remember and talk about the person to work through their grief.
    5. Ask if the senior wants to go to the memorial. Some times they do, some times not. When one of mother’s old card pals passed, she was to unwell to go to the memorial. So I went for her. I did not know the lady well, but I reported back to mother about the day. Signed her name, and mine, in the guest book and took a picture of the flowers and receptions table for her to view.
    6.  When she was sad I would ask her to tell me a story I had heard in the past about her family or friends and some funny thing that happened or family event. I did this often to keep the memory of those that passed around mother in a positive way. Not tucked away in the dark and sadness.
    7. When mother lost her small dog, I bought a balloon for both of us and we went outside and let them go. We talked about when the dog first came to mother and the thought of loss was honored.
    8. When mother’s brother was very ill and we thought he would pass, we make sure she visited him. She was weak and it was a hard thing to do, but she needed to see him and tell him she loved him. He got well but she would pass a month later. It was a good- good bye that she needed.
    9. When a singer passed that she used to listen to when she was young, I got a CD of his music at the library and played it for her and we talked about her and dad dancing the night away – one night long ago. We got silly and I pushed her wheelchair around the room with the dog in her lap!
    10. When her neice died I got a picture of her out of the memory book, had it enlarged at the copy shop and framed it. I put out the frame and a small voltive candle and had it burning each evening for a couple of weeks. She needed a way to work through her grief.
    11. Each time she complained about her old age and passing, I reminded her how much both my husband and I enjoyed having her with us. I would tell her about how much she helped me with this or that. I feel a senior just needs to feel wanted and needed. Like all of us, they need a purpose to keep life on the top of their plate, not start to think that that their death would not effect anyone. Once they get that reassurance, they perk up again.
    To Review: to honor a passing, but not dwell on it. To remember a friend’s passing by honoring the happy memories. To have a ritual that that helps to set the grieving process in motion. To remind the senior that they are still loved and needed, no matter who else is passing along the way.

I hope this has helped you with ideas. Please do go to my website at for more ideas. I have a great e-book called Care Giving 101 Workbook that will help you with giving care in your own home or in the senior’s home. It has all the basic home nursing tips and gives you ideas to support yourself as well as your spouse or loved one. These books are very popular with care givers and I encourage you to buy one so you can feel more in power of your situation as the care giver. It can be very lonely out there all alone when you are giving care – I want to make the experience more comforting for you.

I write these blogs to share information that I have gathered in my many years of care giving. I am now tending to my husband with Alzheimer’s and my books and services are how I’m able to stay at home and care for him. Thanks for all you are doing for your own loved one, blessings. francy

PS I am on Twitter @seniorcaretips and I would love to have you listen to my talk radio show on senior care issues just click the radio button on my home page. The show is on demand so you can listen whenever you have time.

One thought on “Seniors Losing Long Time Friends

  1. Thank you for a beautifully written piece. My mother (living in a large retirement community) often remarks about the loss of her friends. I never really knew how to respond. I didn’t want to minimize her grief but I wanted to help her. You’ve given some good concrete steps.
    Thank you. Dale Carter

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s