After the loss of a spouse, many seniors find that they must make difficult decisions regarding their finances and way of life. Not only must they cope with the death of their partner, but they also have to learn to live in a completely different way. It can be a scary path to negotiate, so it’s always helpful to have a friend or family member nearby to help out, whether it’s with advice on how to proceed with the sale of their home or simply with reminders on what needs to be done directly after the funeral.
Helping your loved one stay organized will also be key, as it’s very easy to get distracted and forgetful when dealing with a sudden loss and all that comes with it. Keeping all important paperwork together, along with a list of phone numbers that your loved one might need, will help reduce stress and anxiety, and will allow them to get through this difficult time with relative ease.
Read on for some of the best tips on how to help a loved one who has just lost a spouse.
Save Big Decisions For Another Time
Immediately after the death of a spouse, it’s important to help your loved one make decisions only on the things that are most important at the moment; save the big things for a later date. It may be overwhelming for them to even think about tackling something simple, such as figuring out what to make for dinner, so prepare something you know they like and bring it over. Ask if you can go over their imminent bills with them to help them get a handle on what needs to be taken care of right away.
Help Plan For Their Spouse’s Funeral
When it’s time to discuss funeral plans, introduce the topic gently. Your loved one may be concerned about being able to afford the arrangements. It’s a good idea to help them decide how to cut costs and budget properly, as overspending can occur during this difficult time. Keep in mind that a funeral costs an average of $7,000-$9,000, while the costs of a cemetery plot and grave marker are separate. However, there are ways to save money, such as asking for prices from several funeral homes, purchasing items like caskets and flowers from third-party companies, and holding the memorial at a private home. You can also look into reducing the costs of service charges and transportation.
Talk About Health And Life Insurance Policies
If the deceased had a life insurance policy, it will be imperative for your loved one to go over the paperwork as soon as possible in order to prevent delays in receiving a payout. They will need a copy of the death certificate and any paperwork associated with the policy, so make sure they have everything they’ll need in one safe place.
It’s also a good idea to talk to your loved one about their own insurance policies. While it’s not a topic many people feel comfortable talking about, it’s important to get an idea of what your loved one wants for their final wishes and how to go about making plans.
Help With The Biggest Choices
Many seniors make the decision to sell their home after losing a spouse; not only does it allow them to consider downsizing — which will keep them safe as they age in place — it will also help them save money in the long term. It’s important to help them see the benefits of selling their home, some of which are surprising and may never have occurred to them. Selling a home they no longer want or that’s too big for them to safely maneuver can be a critical financial asset down the road. Help your loved one get started with the sale itself as soon as they’re ready, which includes figuring out the home’s worth and finding the right realtor.
Offer Your Services
Your loved one may need help with chores, running errands, or cooking after losing their spouse, especially if they have health or mobility issues, so offer your services in these areas. It may seem like a small contribution, but it will allow your loved one to focus on their needs instead of worrying about the little things.
Helping a loved one make financial decisions after losing a spouse can be difficult; you may not know where to begin, or you may be wary of upsetting someone who is already going through a hard time. Take it slow, stay organized, and help your loved one take it one day at a time. With a good plan, you can help them move through their grief and make good decisions about their future.