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Breaking The Bad News To Your Elderly – 5 Considerations When Talking About Death

You love your grandparents. You have a lot of respect and adulation for them. There is a special bond that you share with them and you do not want to put them under any stress whatsoever. But then this closeness has put you in a very difficult spot. You have been given the responsibility of conveying them the heartbreaking news that their best friend has passed away. You are torn between your desire to keep them happy and to tell them the truth without risking their health in any way. What do you do? You keep patience and read the following blog for assistance:

  1. Calm Your Nerves Down

The first thing that you will have to do is come to terms with your own emotions and feelings. You cannot even imagine conveying this dreadful news to your elderly without being stable yourself. You must understand the importance of a calm and composed appearance. Try not to come across as flustered or even sad or emotional when you are about to convey this message to your elderly.

You can of course join them in their sorrow once the news is out. But until then, you need to maintain your composure and strength not only for the elderly but everyone in your family who is shocked by this news. 

  1. Does The Elderly Have Dementia?

Dementia is a very common health issue that a significant amount of the elderly in our families and friend circles suffer from. There is a time when the disease has progressed too far. In such a situation, it becomes very difficult for the person to understand what it means to have lost their close friend. They will find it very complicated to process the knowledge of death.

At that point of time, they will need a lot of support and constant reminders about the same. This might be one of the most difficult situations that you will ever face. Dealing with a grandparent or elderly in your family who suffers from dementia and must be told about the news of their friend’s passing could be a life-changing experience for the entire family. The following tips could help you in this situation:

  • Gentle reminders that their friend is no more
  • Reminiscing about the person by sharing stories and pictures
  • Talking a little more frequently about how you feel about this loss
  • Putting a photograph of the deceased in front of them so that it is visible as they go about their daily routine
  • Asking them how they feel about the deceased and whether they miss them or not
  • Some kind of distraction may help them cope with the loss and keep the atmosphere stress free if they suffer from episodes of recall and resultant emotional breakdowns
  1. Understanding The Grief Process Of The Elderly  

If you have any senior members in your family, they are probably suffering from some kind of health issue already (other than dementia). You must understand their health conditions and complications before you introduce them to this new grief or bad news. Some elderly people may get a little more agitated or restless as compared to others. If you know that you have highly intuitive grandparents, it might be a little too difficult to open this news to them.

You must be clear with your choice of words whenever conveying such a message. In the end, you must remember that how they cope with their loss depends on their personality and their attitudes. They may respond differently as compared to how you may have responded to their passing. Do not stress over one painful point constantly. After breaking the bad news to them, you need to give them time so that this revelation can sink in.

  1. Telling Them About The Death  

When it comes to actually telling the elderly about the passing of their friend or loved one, you must be extremely careful. You can begin by sending out or posting a message on an obituary app so that you can be as discreet as possible without giving your elderly family members any unwanted shocks. Considering that these mobile apps cater to a specific demographic and that your grandparents do not fall under that user base, you should have little to stress over. Other than this, you can always take a little help from the following tips:

  • Do not tell them the news immediately. Try to build a little conversation around their health and what could possibly have gone wrong with them. It is always advised to warm them up to bad news by giving them moderate warnings in your conversation.
  • If you find yourself in the middle of an emotional breakdown, try not to have a conversation with your elderly. You can always ask their health care professional or perhaps a common friend to break the news to them.
  • Always use short and simple sentences to convey the message to them. This is a practical way to prevent any feelings of being overwhelmed for the senior family member.
  1. Helping Them Accept The Death Of The Loved One

It is very vital for everyone in your family to help your elderly accept the death of their friend or close one. A few ideas are listed below:

  • Remember to speak in the past tense about the person who has died
  • Talk with them about the deceased and express your sadness
  • You can share various beautiful memories with them about the deceased that they may not be aware of
  • Talk about your stories, pictures, and experiences that you may have had with the deceased and encourage them to do the same
  • Accept and show your acceptance of their death so that your senior members can follow suit 

Accept What You Already Know

Death is a universal truth. It is not only difficult to hear but very hard to accept. Hearing the news is one thing but coming to terms with it is completely another. In such a situation, there will be feelings of sadness, fear, distress, anger, concern, confusion, and longing. But you must remember to stay strong and positive in this difficult time.


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