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5 Ways Grief Can Affect an Elderly Person’s Health

Most seniors will experience grief at some point in their lives. The diagnosis of health conditions, losing loved ones, and concerns over their own aging process are all issues that can affect a senior’s health. To help ward off potential health complications, keep in mind the various ways grief can physically and mentally impact your elderly loved one.

1. Weight Loss and Decreased Appetite

It’s not uncommon for people to have a decreased appetite when they are grieving. This can become a problem for your loved one since many seniors already have a reduced appetite. Many seniors don’t carry excess weight because of this and can’t afford to lose more weight. Even if your loved one is at a healthy weight or is overweight, not eating regular meals can be hard on his or her body and immune system.

2. Depression

Being depressed can lead to a loss of enjoyment when participating in activities, a lack of desire to interact with others, excessive sleeping, and anxiety. Though depression may resolve on its own, for many people therapy and medication is required to get back on track. If your loved one is experiencing emotional symptoms that have lasted longer than two weeks, talk to his or her doctor about the possibility of depression.

3. Mood & Behavior Changes

Depression isn’t the only mood change seniors can experience during the grieving process. Anger, confusion, irritability, and fear can also be an issue for seniors facing difficult times. Some seniors feel a loss of control of their lives as they age and lose loved ones. This can result in changes in mood that can be either short or long-term. These changes may also affect how your loved one acts, leading to upset feelings over something that wouldn’t normally faze him or her.

4. Frequent Illness

If your loved one has recently gone through a difficult time and has been frequently ill during the grieving process, it’s possible the strain and sadness from the current difficulties have affected his or her immune system. Stress and sadness can lead to becoming seriously ill, and with greater frequency. This can be especially true for seniors who are already prone to injury and illness. With the help of North Coast Home Care Assistance, your loved one can have a support system in place to help prevent illnesses.

5. Desire for Additional Emotional Support

Sometimes a loss can cause your loved one to want to grab on to whatever is there and not let go. He or she may call you more than usual, come up with reasons you need to come over, or simply ask you to come over more often. It’s also possible your loved one will reach out to other friends and loved ones even with increased attention and focus from you. Do your best to be there for your loved one during this difficult time rather than brushing off his or her needs, and consider hiring a North Coast hourly caregiver as a companion your loved one can rely on.

Emotional wellness is often directly linked with both mental and physical health. If you are looking for ways to keep your loved one safe, happy, and healthy, turn to Home Care Assistance. Our compassionate caregivers are available 24/7 to help with many important daily tasks and provide the emotional support your loved one needs. For seniors who need more comprehensive care, we also offer Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and stroke care North Coast families trust. To learn more and to schedule a no-obligation consultation, please call one of our qualified Care Managers at (02) 6646 3527 today.