How to Help When Your Parents Lose a Life Partner


Lonely old man staring out of a windowIf your parent loses a mate, spouse or life partner, he or she may need a good deal of emotional and practical support. If you are close to your parent’s mate you may need support too. Family members, friends, neighbors and even grief groups are all good places to turn to for comfort during this time. Here are some tasks and decisions you may need to help your parent face.

Dealing with Property
In some circumstances, your parent will have to act as executor in dealing with their mate’s estate and there may be a lot to do. You may need to help with such things as sorting through their records for a will or collecting insurance and other benefits. Take it one step at time and know that there are always resources to help you and your parent out.

Arranging Care for Your Parent
After losing a mate your parent may need more care. You may need to call upon others to help you support your parent during their grieving process to visit, bring food, talk on

the phone, or help with small tasks. Your parent’s need for care may increase greatly depending on their health circumstances. In some cases when one mate dies, it becomes more apparent that the survivor will not be able to live on his or her own because of mental or physical limitations.

Making Medical and Financial Decisions for Your Parent
The death of a loved one often opens up conversations regarding medical care and finances and who will take care of the decision making if and when your parent is unable.

If you and your parent haven’t addressed these matters, you can consult with an Elder Law attorney to prepare some basic legal documents that will express their wishes and put important medical and financial decisions into the hands of a trusted person.

Estate Planning and Other End-of Life Issues
As your parent works through the loss of his or her mate and the practical tasks diminish; you may find that it is the right time to talk more about what will happen at the end of your own parent’s life. Take the time to help your parent sort out if there is a will

or estate plan that is updated to reflect your parent’s current life circumstances.

Also be sure to find out where your parent keeps important documents, including estate planning papers, bank account numbers, retirement plan information, and passwords to accounts.

Visit Helping your widowed parent to view a checklist to help you in dealing with these tasks, decisions and questions. And feel free to visit my website to request a free copy of A Guide to Planning Ahead.” The booklet is designed to inform you about the important and necessary discussions that should take place and provide a place to record vital information about your parent’s estate and financial matters.

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