How old do they deal with death?
Talking about loss or death is always a delicate and very broad point for all ages, as well as the differentiated representation we have about it in each stage of life. The fear of death is undoubtedly a subject that arouses great curiosity and is perhaps one of the most studied. But the idea of death is not always seen with suffering or painful taboos. There are philosophies and habits of lives, throughout the world, where death is understood as a very natural process and sometimes even expected and somehow celebrated. We must, therefore, certainly include in our analyzes the idea of death, cultural processes, emotional development, religion, family, environment, and clinical health and financial health (during the life of the person) to really understand the reactions to death for every human being, at any age.
Speaking of death for the elderly makes us believe that we must first understand who these elderly people are, where they come from, their beliefs and living conditions , and then talk about their reactions to death, as I mentioned above. The elderly phase is a maturation process of adult life, where we clearly notice the physical changes. But internal changes are not always perceived so easily. It is common for people to be surprised with the elderly and their abilities to analyze life and understand realities, with much more awareness and therefore facility than younger adults, even though they often have their clinical limitations. The finitude of life, for example, is usually better understood and less suffered from understanding by the elderly, than by a young adult or a middle-aged adult, because in this previous phase of life we still face a strong influence and pressure of the social and cultural standard that we must follow and conquer. I speak here about the responsibilities of being a mother / father, husband, and professional. With the elderly, this process of reflection usually generates a closure of these roles imposed by society. Older people realize that they no longer have to follow these obligations and the fear of not fulfilling tasks or attending to someone or something tends to decrease a lot.
It is very common for the elderly to react with relief and lightness, with this closing of obligations social conditions of life and perceive themselves as being "freed" from pressures. Usually these elderly people have a satisfactory reflection of their lives, and for this reason they tend to present greater ease with this retirement and consequently less fear of death. Not that they have less concern with death, but rather have a greater understanding of it as a natural and unavoidable process of life. Different from younger and middle-aged adults who are usually more apprehensive and reluctant to this idea.
A good death idea is usually linked to the idea of a good life, good construction, and having no debts with or with with another. This satisfaction with life allows the approach of death with less tension and fear. Religion, traditions, or philosophies of life have a strong impact and may even be decisive in this analysis of oneself and its history.
Some elderly people may feel anxieties or afflictions, with the end of these social pressures and this reaction is more common with elderly people who are dissatisfied with their life history (financial or health or emotional difficulties). These people have the tendency to see this period as a great anguish and usually do not accept this closing very well, reluctant and suffering with the process. Death for these elderly people also usually have a very similar reaction to distress and reluctance.
The other side of the coin
Although death is often perceived as less tense by the elderly, it also has a great relevance in this period, since its life is almost completely reorganized to deal with this approximation of finitude, both its own and its acquaintances. Death becomes clearer and becomes one of the many tasks of life we have.
For the elderly a spouse is often an important ally, so the death of one of them is undoubtedly the most difficult to deal with. lived, especially if it is unexpected or sudden. Already when there is a process of illness, the idea of the possibility of loss becomes more evident, and reality is imposed showing the need to prepare for the end. Both in the couple need to prepare and it is common to live the idea of mourning in life as a farewell.
When the death of one of them occurs, the suffering is intense and must be received patiently. We should not pretend or deny this suffering, or even thank for this, since the person was sick or very old, as we often hear. There is no console word or label to follow, but attitudes like these cause more distress in those who are already suffering. What we must do is help the elderly to go through this moment, talk and sometimes cry, about the one who died, rescue the good memories and this motivation helps you to find yourself in your life now without your partnership. It is also common to wait for certain desires that his death arrives soon, to get rid of the suffering or to have the chance to find that dear and necessary person in a post-life . This desire to die, when one mourns, appears more clearly in the elderly than in other stages of life, since they usually live with this idea of approaching the end, more than in other ages. suffer more from the death of the wife, as they usually lean over the years in their wives for care, routines, hobbies and family. Therefore, an intense depressive reaction in older men is more common, and may even become ill. Women also suffer from the loss of their partner, but since long before the aging woman tends to have other sources of relationships with strong meanings in addition to the husband, such as: their children, grandchildren and friends and family. And these existing relationships seem to be a strong justification for women to cope with the loss of their husbands with less suffering. The world still has other reasons to continue. So we can understand that whoever builds an important social base of relationships throughout life seems to be able to go through the process of finitude with less fear.
I again remember that how we deal with the death process (our or the next to us) is a result of our internal structure, our US. Patterns for reactions are established from our infancy and through our whole life learning, even in the old phase. Perhaps life, lived, is a great ally to deal with death and that our understanding and reaction to death is similar to our understanding and reaction to our life.
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