Coping With Retirement - Losing a spouse

As you and your spouse get older, you should begin to prepare for the fact that one of you will probably survive the other. This can be the most difficult challenge you face. Having a spouse or a child die can be the most strenuous and difficult parts of life. It can occur at any time during adulthood. Widows and widowers are not just people in their 70s and 80s. One can lose a spouse at 21 or 41 and experience the same sense of loss and confusion.

Depending on the preparations made before the spouse dies, the concerns of the surviving spouse may range from mourning and adjusting to single life to attempting to arrange financial support, dividing inheritance, and struggling to sort through all the legal and financial matters that may be left by the deceased.

Preparing a will is one of the things you can do in preparation for your own and your spouse's death. You cannot assume that everything will be easily handled if you die and your spouse is surviving. Wills provide some legal assistance to the surviving spouse to sort through finances during the difficult times that follow the spouse's death.

It is important for anyone, of any age, to maintain a strong support group of friends and family. Without this, any change in one's life will be confronted alone. With a strong group of supporters, almost any tragedy can be weathered. Meeting people and making friends can be a difficult thing to do. By joining clubs, support groups, and organizations, you are reaching out to people with similar backgrounds or interests. It is likely that you will be able to establish some contacts through such activities. You and your spouse may wish to pursue this together, or you may each seek out friends of your own interest. If you have relocated or do not, for whatever reason, have a circle of friends you can turn to, it is important to establish one. It makes the transition to widowhood easier if your support group is in place.

If you have already lost a spouse and have not prepared for it, you can still seek out a support group in your community. This may be found in churches and synagogues, community centers, and in local organizations. As explained before, it is important to watch for any warning signs of serious depression and seek professional counseling immediately if any are experienced.

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