Important Tips for Seniors Dealing with the Loss of a Spouse

Published on 3/3/2022
A set of Memorial Day flowers on a gravestone
For seniors, a whole new life begins the moment they lose their spouse. From coping with the immediate aftermath and making the proper arrangements to avoiding family conflicts and dealing with intense, often long-lasting grief, you must learn new ways to cope when dealing with the sadness seems unbearable. Here are some tips for dealing with the death of your beloved, presented below by Corral Storage.


In the days following your spouse’s passing, you will be forced to deal with the many procedural issues that come with the death of your partner, and you’ll have to do this while also beginning to feel immense grief. It’s a difficult time, but if you have a plan for how to tackle it you can get through it.

In the hours following the loss, you’ll want to begin making calls. You need to notify family, contact someone about funeral services, and prepare an obituary. You’ll need to acquire multiple death certificates (around a dozen), which you will need to deal with the many legal and financial issues that will soon arise. You’ll need to contact your spouse’s life insurance company and file a claim. You’ll need to call to cancel other insurance (health, auto, etc.). You’ll have to contact banks, investment companies, and retirement funds. For those with a will, you’ll need to call a probate attorney. If you need to sell your home, you’re going to want to contact a reliable real estate professional and start preparing your home for sale, which can include making updates and repairs.

It may sound daunting, but you should enlist the help of your family at this time. There’s a lot to do, and you shouldn’t have to do it alone.

During Following the Weeks and Months

Though you’ll be dealing with grief from the moment of loss, it may not fully hit you until after the funeral. The finality is a trigger for many, and the real work begins when everything is over and done with.

The first step in coping with grief is to accept it. It’s unhealthy to try to fight it. Let yourself grieve - it’s 100% healthy and natural. Letting yourself grieve, however, does not mean walling yourself off in a sort of sorrowful isolation. It is vital that in the weeks and months following your spouse’s death you actively maintain relationships and stay connected to friends, family, and others in your community. This will not only help you but will also help the people around you.

“Talk about the death of your loved one with friends and colleagues in order to understand what happened and remember your friend or family member. Denying the death is an easy way to isolate yourself, and will frustrate your support system in the process,” notes the American Psychological Association.

Also, do not hesitate to speak to a professional if you feel your grief is overwhelming you. Fortunately, if you’re a senior enrolled in Medicare, mental health services such as psychiatrists and clinical psychologists are covered by Medicare Part B. Talking may not help ease the pain, but it can help you learn coping techniques to help you through.

During this time, you may begin to sort through your loved one’s belongings to determine what you’d like to keep and what you’d like to let go. However, don’t rush into any decisions; take all the time you need to make a comfortable choice. If you want to store items, you’re unsure about, consider renting a storage unit from Corral Storage. That way, you can securely protect these possessions until you’re ready to decide how you want to proceed.

When Grief Persists for Years

Complicated grief (often referred to as protracted or chronic grief) is grief that lasts for a long time and can mimic the symptoms of a psychiatric disorder. Grief can last for a long time, but if the symptoms are intense and long-term and interfere with work and relationships, you could be experiencing complicated grief.

It’s important that you can recognize when grief becomes unhealthy and that you take steps to get help. Complicated grief is a condition, and thus can be treated. Contact a medical professional if you feel you are falling into a deep depression past the normal grieving period.

It can seem like the grief from the loss of your spouse is all-consuming, and there may not seem like there is a light at the end of the tunnel. But according to research, the majority of those who suffer a major loss do come out the other side healthy.