Stronger Together: Mourning and Community
It was the late Queen Elizabeth II who famously said, “grief is the price we pay for love”. Losing loved ones is a sad fact of life. As we age, we inevitably face more losses, alongside the decline of our own physical and cognitive abilities, and the loss of social roles and relationships we’ve been familiar with for our entire existence.
Studies in neuroscience have helped us to better understand grief and resilience after loss, and research has focussed on the physiological and neurological changes that occur during the grieving process. It is known that grief triggers the release of stress hormones, such as cortisol, and that different coping strategies in dealing with this can affect mental health outcomes. For example, some studies have found that expressing emotions and seeking social support can be helpful for coping with grief, while other studies have shown that avoidance coping strategies can be harmful.
Mourning is an essential aspect of the human experience that helps us to cope.
In old age, mourning can be particularly challenging because we may have lost many of the people and things that once gave our lives meaning and purpose. However, having a supportive community can help us navigate these losses and find new sources of connection and meaning.
Community can take many forms – whether that’s family, friends, neighbours, social groups, or carers. Since the beginning of time, humans have relied on community to survive, and it is just as important in the twilight of life. Community provides us with a sense of belonging, acceptance, and support, which can be especially important at a time when we may feel isolated and disconnected from society.
In a community, we can share our grief with others who have experienced similar losses and find comfort in their understanding and empathy. We can also offer support and compassion to others who are mourning, which can help us feel more connected and purposeful.
At ILA, we’re proud advocates for community – we connect our network with one another to foster meaningful relationships and fully integrate the elderly in our care into society. Our support workers provide a consistent, reliable, but most of all, caring, point of contact. We introduce practical support, care and household help for older people and encourage social interaction and engagement. These meaningful activities help older people to find new sources of joy and purpose in life.
We have experience of helping the older people through their grieving process of losing loved ones, and we know first-hand how important it is that they stay connected and supported with their local community. We have helped to facilitate difficult moves into and out of our local area due to a change in situation following the death of a loved one.
We provide that touch point that is so vital in fostering a sense of community and care.
Author Bio: Chania Fox is a freelance writer with experience in publishing and copywriting. Chania has previously worked for Linen Press, the UK's leading independent female publishing press, as well as working as a copywriter for a global design consultancy with high-profile international clients. She is also available on Linkedin.