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Grief and Grieving - Home Treatment

Helping others cope with grief

There are many ways that family members and other people close to a person who is grieving can give help and support. The best way to help a grieving person often depends on how well the person was prepared for the loss, the person's perception of death, and his or her personality and coping style. The person's age and stage of emotional development are also important to think about when you are helping a person who is grieving.

If someone you know is grieving:

  • Encourage the person to grieve at his or her own pace. The grieving process does not happen in a step-by-step or orderly fashion. There will be good days and bad days. Do not try to "fix" the person's grief. Provide support and be willing to listen.
  • Be sensitive to the effect of your words. But don't ignore the person who is grieving just because you aren't sure what to say. Check in regularly during the first year and beyond, especially on important days, including the anniversary of the death, holidays, and birthdays.
  • Recognize that this person's life has changed forever. Encourage the person to participate in activities that involve and build his or her support network.
  • Respect the person's personal beliefs. Listen to his or her feelings without making judgments. Do not try to change the person's beliefs or feelings.

Helping young children who are grieving can be challenging for adult caregivers. The best way to help a child varies according to age and emotional development.

actionset.gif Grief: Helping Children With Grief

Teens may need special consideration and care when they are grieving. Many times it is hard to know how to approach and help a teen in these circumstances.

actionset.gif Grief: Helping Teens With Grief

Older adults may not express grief in the same way as other adults. Older adults are more likely to become physically ill after a major loss. They may already have a chronic physical illness or other conditions that interfere with their ability to grieve or that become worse when they are grieving. Also, older adults may be likely to develop complications associated with grieving. Older adults may be more likely than other people to experience several losses in a short period of time.

actionset.gif Grief: Helping Older Adults With Grief

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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