An elderly man in a wheelchair who may not have very long left to live.Of the many trials we face in life, the death of an elderly parent can be one of the most painful and complex.

Though death is an expected event for those in their elderly years, adult children are often unprepared to handle the stages of grief that will come.  Signs of death in the elderly can be the first moment of preparation for children. These signs include mental changes, such as states of hallucination and agitation, and physical changes denoting the body shutting itself down, including skin color changes due to lessoning circulation and temperature and pressure drops in the body. In addition to these signs, adult children can take preemptive action-and start celebrating the life of their parent. Remember, this celebration is just that: festivities to express the love than has come from and is inspired by parents.

Even with these moments of perspective and warning, grasping the finality of death is extremely difficult. The seven stages of grief often come into play as well: shock and denial; pain and guilt; anger and bargaining; depression, reflection and loneliness; the upward turn; working through; and acceptance. It is highly recommendable to visit a therapist within these moments. While the stress affiliated with consoling family members in shock  and  guilt associated with consulting a therapist (as if you were the one going through the act itself) pose hindrances, seeking counsel during such an arduous time is one of the most responsible things an adult child can do within these circumstances. Ultimately, not only is the act of death painful to witness but aftermath traumatic to deal with. Seeking help from a therapist will help ease one through these stressors.

It is important to remember that the love you feel for your parent cannot change-there death puts them in another place, but cannot take them away from you.


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