The older we get, the more we experience the death of people we care about. Whether a spouse, a best friend or a long-time neighbor, the loss of those who shared our lives in myriad ways can be heartbreaking. Seniors, in particular, may find themselves dealing with feelings of profound grief, as everything around them reminds them of their loved one who has passed on. We all spend our lives gathering people around us who bring us joy, laughter, and a sense of purpose. When one or more of these people is missing, it can be difficult to find happiness. But loss does not have to be the end of the story for a senior.
Older adults need to be part of a community that provides meaning, connections, and belonging. These attributes are known to provide significant physical and mental health benefits, especially when dealing with losing a loved one. Living within a community is also one of the best ways to fight feelings of loneliness and isolation so seniors can experience a joyful and vibrant life.
Everyone needs time and space to heal after loss, of course. But if you recently lost a loved one and aren’t sure how to get back into life, read these five tips. They might give you insight into how you can rediscover joy, even if life is different.
- Activate your creativity: Sometimes the best way to move forward is to try something new. Artistic endeavors are a great way to engage the mind and inspire joy. The beauty of art is that you don’t need to be “professional” to express yourself. Take up painting or learn how to play an instrument. Arts and crafts are a powerful way to process your feelings and emotions. If you feel like you want to do something to remember your loved one, try scrapbooking! You can sort through favorite photos and find thoughtful and meaningful ways to arrange and preserve your lives together.
- Keep moving: When we lose someone, it can feel like all we want to do is sit on the couch all day. Not only is this bad for us emotionally, but it is also physically detrimental as well. Creating a daily routine that keeps you moving and active is the best way to ensure you don’t end up in depression – from morning walks to gardening in the afternoon to an early dinner with friends. Living actively benefits all five components of wellness — physical, intellectual, social, emotional, and spiritual.
- Rediscover hobbies: Sometimes life takes all of our time, and our favorite hobbies get lost over the years. Now may be a great time to pick up where you left off and rediscover a pastime you once loved. Grief can be paralyzing, so returning to something familiar and loved is a great way to move forward after loss. Online communities offer an easy way to find others who love what you love, allowing you to make new friends and get back out there.
- Consider volunteering: Many seniors have cared for people their entire adult lives. Losing a spouse can feel like you’ve lost your sense of purpose. But being of service to others and volunteering your time is a powerful way to rediscover meaning. Helping those in your community who need assistance is an important role – so whether you serve at a food bank, volunteer at a local school, or take tickets at the botanical gardens, you are sure to feel fulfilled. you can also choose to volunteer for a cause close to your loved one’s heart – a beautiful way to honor their memory.
- Actively seek relationships: As stated above, we spend a lot of our lives seeking relationships, and as we are older, we tend to feel comfortable with the ones we have. Losing those we have formed deep connections can be difficult, but it does not preclude us from meeting new people to walk through life. We all need people to celebrate with, talk to, and even grieve with. No matter your age, you can develop meaningful connections with people – not to replace your loved one, but to bring joy back into your life.
At A Banyan Residence, we know the importance of cultivating an engaged and meaningful life. We provide ample opportunity for our residents to spend time with one another, get creative, learn a skill or go on an excursion. If you are seeking a professional and compassionate adult residence in the Venice area, we invite you to call for a tour.