August 30 is National Grief Awareness Day, bringing awareness about the impact of grief and reducing the stigma surrounding grief. Many people who have a chronic illness or condition rely on a primary caregiver, most often a spouse. Statistics show that caregivers have a 63% higher mortality rate than non-caregivers. Many people who need daily caregiving rely on a loved one to help keep them at home longer and out of assisted living. However, when the caregiver is gone, what happens to the person who remains behind?
Grief is the internal pain associated with loss. We’ve heard the term “stages of grief,” but that isn’t a model used to describe what loved ones go through when someone dies, rather, they are the stages someone who is dying processes through. While there are similarities for those who experience loss, grieving doesn’t have a clear ending. The intensity of grief also depends on the survivor and the additional stressors they encounter.
Secondary loss refers to the loss of something in addition to the person they loved including financial security, housing, or caregiving at home. Secondary losses can compound the grief that is felt as it creates more stress and uncertainty for the person left behind. In the case of a person who loses a caregiver, the idea of assisted living could be overwhelming and frightening. A resource like All Saints Home Care can help alleviate this stress.
In the past, people were encouraged just to “get through it” without many resources. Today, there are a variety of programs that can help people deal with grief. From support groups to individual therapy, in-person or virtual, there are resources to help you start the healing process.
If you are grieving the loss of a loved one, remember you aren’t alone. Reach out to the resources above or a trusted friend or family member to get help.