Whether you are in your 40 and 50’s or in your retirement years, each age group has its own challenges.
The younger you are, the more time you have to create a new life. On the other hand, the younger you are, the more likely you are to have school-age children at home. Because the death of a parent is a life-shattering event for a child, you might subordinate your own grieving to care for your grieving child. In addition, you carry the stress and ultimate exhaustion of trying to fill the roles of both mother and father. Neither situation lends itself to getting your own needs met.
Other issues for a younger widow or widower:
- Fewer years of saving for a financial nest egg.
- Higher level of anger and resentment, especially if the death was an accident, a suicide, or a health problem that could have been prevented.
Issues aside there is light at the end of the tunnel and you need to keep your eye on it: children grow up and mature, new relationships are built, finances stabilize, and five years from now you will find yourself in a much better place.
When you are older, the lack of remaining years might cause you to think you need to settle for less than you would like. Thankfully, I have witnessed many seniors volunteer, travel, and commit to new relationships. Clearly these individuals are willing to take risks and thrive rather than just survive. Bottom line: knowing you have less time can propel you to investigate activities and interests to insure your life is as enjoyable as possible.
The biggest disadvantage to being elderly can be the lack of mobility. If your movement is severely restricted, be aware that forced isolation can turn into serious depression—quickly.
While it is not advisable to make major changes in your living arrangements during the first year after your loss, I highly recommend you look into doing exactly that if you are struggling with your basic needs. Ask family members and friends to help you investigate seniors’ communities where you can live in a studio or small apartment with your own furniture. Since your food and transportation will be provided, you can focus on making new friends and adding life to your years.