Caregiving Basic: Respect the Grief Process


In any caregiving situation, there are four basic guidelines to help ensure that you offer loved ones the attention and support that they need.  The caregiving basics are:  Listen, Pray, Respect the Grief Process and Respect the Dignity.

Grief is a normal and natural process by which a person makes a healthy adjustment to any significant loss in his or her life.  Any significant loss (the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, a broken marriage, deterioration of health, a shattered dream) triggers the process.

Most people experience some or all of the following emotional responses when they lose anything or anyone important in their lives. The stages are:
1. Shock
2. Denial
3. Depression
4. Anger
5. Fear
6. Bargaining
7. Acceptance

Some understanding of the grief process will help caregivers:
1. Know what to expect.
2. Be more comfortable with the grieving person.
3. Respond more effectively by being present, listening, and accepting the person’s various emotional responses.

Six tips for helping those who grieve:
1. Listen to their story.
2. Don’t give advice or try to “fix it” for the person.
3. Remember that grief is a process and a process takes time.
4. Don’t interpose your story unless asked. This is not about you.
5. Avoid clichés like “God doesn’t promise a rose garden.”

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