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Seek Out Others After Death of Spouse

Consider part-time employment as a companion or a caregiver as a way to reconnect with the world.
Consider part-time employment as a companion or a caregiver as a way to reconnect with the world.

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August 2, 2011

Picking up the pieces after the death of a spouse can take time. But when older adults are ready, encourage them to rejoin the world with their time and talents.

Q. Less than a year ago, my husband passed away after 58 years of marriage. Getting my life somewhat settled has taken time, but my doctor said I need to think about joining the world again. I’m not sure how to do this. Do you have any suggestions?

Anyone in your situation will benefit greatly by companionship. And there are various ways to do that. Did you have any hobbies that you enjoyed before your husband passed away? If so, consider resuming those hobbies with a friend or relative.

For instance, if you liked to read or knit, make an effort to do that by calling someone you know who might enjoy those activities with you. If you don’t know anyone, call a local bookstore or fabric shop and they will put you in touch with clubs or groups of people who like those same pastimes.

Do you enjoy cards or board games? A senior center can offer a variety of activities, along with regular meals that you can share with others. Why not check it out.

In addition, call your local Area Agency on Aging to find out what other programs are available to seniors in your community. There may be activities and organizations that you have no idea existed that might appeal to your interests.

The main goal is to start enjoying contact with others again so that your loneliness will begin to diminish and you will feel reconnected to the world. Many volunteer opportunities also exist. If you like children, why not try calling an area school. Many schools are looking for surrogate grandparents or other volunteers who can read to children or be a mentor to them for other activities. What about an area homeless shelter, women’s home or day care? Many would be more than happy to have an extra set of hands, even for a few hours a week.

You could also consider part-time employment as a companion or a caregiver. The local Home Instead Senior Care® hires many seniors who serve as CAREGiversSM to other older adults, helping them around the house and accompanying them on activities.

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