MEMORY SEEM BAD? FORGETTING THINGS?
You may notice their inability to handle difficult tasks during that time.
Seeming to be unable to function is completely normal. During a stressful event, such as grief, catecholamines suppress activity in areas at the front of the brain concerned with short-term memory, concentration, inhibition, and rational thought. (Simply put: our brain protects us by affecting our memory when life is overwhelming or too painful.)
A widow or widower in great pain and feeling deep loss and sorrow cannot comprehend or think as clearly they normally could, yet, they are immediately called upon to start making important decisions.)
There is so much needing to be handled in a very short period of a time. Not thinking clearly, and based on just getting past the loss her decisions can be very flawed. Making major life decisions or missteps, while in shock, can prove complicated or perhaps impossible to undo years down the road.
Left alone to grapple with financial and legal questions she now has the worry of getting rid of all of the things they collected over the years. Where and how does she start to get rid of it all?
Sometimes it’s more than a person can take and the fatigue, anxiety, and stress affects ones health. Physical illness can also affect ones memory.
Overwhelmed with every aspect of life, they need help with mundane things. Consider helping by making a meal, cleaning the house, or doing a few loads of laundry. Perhaps you might help with home or car repairs or mowing the yard a few times. appreciate assistance with yard work, a ride to Walmart if someone near me was going or if someone could just pick up a loaf of bread.
Funerals are very expensive plus other factors may make money tight (When a spouse dies one Social Security check goes away. If the deceased spouse did not have a will or if this is a second marriage his estate may immediately have to go through probate (which is also very expensive). That can deplete the savings even further.
THE WIDOW MAY BE SCARED WITH MONEY SO TIGHT.
Reprinted Nov 29, 1998 were suggestions to help the widow, instead of loading her up with more “junk” that her heirs will be stuck getting rid of….
When buying gifts for seniors, keep in mind that most seniors have more than their share of dusting powder and aftershave, and have run out of room for bud vases and bird feeders. Some practical alternatives suggested were:
— A gift certificate for their favorite grocery store, deli or pharmacy.
— If the person on your list is on a limited income, a check in any amount will be appreciated.
— A “paid in advance” certificate for 10 lawn mowings or snow shovelings by a neighborhood youngster.
— A “certificate” for a service you can perform that is difficult for them — a thorough house cleaning, a month’s laundry, a handyman visit for home safety inspection and minor repairs.
— A drive to see the Christmas lights and decorations.
— A subscription to their favorite magazine or the daily newspaper.
— A generous supply of postage stamps..
— A month of Sunday drives to church, or to the country, the museum or the park.
If a senior says, “Please don’t give me anything,” that usually means, “I have more things than I need.” However, a gift of your time will be appreciated and remembered long after the holiday has passed and the material gifts are stored away. Trust me.
It is important to treat a widow with dignity and respect, instead of like a very young child.