Do’s and Don’ts When Offering Your Condolences
January 22nd, 2015 by John Wilson
Offering condolences after the loss of a loved one can be difficult.
We’ve all experienced it. A friend loses someone close to them, but we don’t really know how to extend our sympathies in the right manner. The words just don’t seem to come. In assisted living facilities, when dealing with loss, it is essential we act with sensitivity and kindness. Here are some do’s and don’ts for showing you care in the best way possible.
Things You Shouldn’t Say
- Don’t tell someone who’s experienced a loss to contact you if there is anything you can take care of on her behalf. For someone residing in one of the senior living communities, help offered can be a special gift, but an open offer like this puts the responsibility squarely on the mourner when she already has so much to remember.
- Don’t tell your friend you know exactly how he feels. Although you may empathize strongly with your friend, no one can know precisely how another feels about their loss. Saying this may make the one mourning feel uncomfortable.
- Don’t tell the friend you are sure their loved one “is in a better place.” These type of sentiments, although heartfelt, can serve to invalidate the feelings of the grieving person.
Better Ways of Offering Comfort
- Think of particular ways you can help your grieving friend. For example, for friends who make their home in assisted living facilities, volunteering to drive to the store, pharmacy or even to pick up groceries may be greatly appreciated. You might decide your talents are in making phone calls. Offer to reach out to your friend’s contact list and relate the upcoming service information. This can be a real gift and lighten their load. Make your offer clear and relevant.
- Those in grief sometimes need to talk about what they’ve lost so asking questions that are nonintrusive can be of help. In senior living communities, when someone loses a loved one, be respectful when asking about their bereavement. Be understanding when listening to the response and do not judge.
- Be honest and open. It is acceptable to tell your friend you heard about their loved one’s passing and you are really at a loss for words. It is easy to tell when someone you know well is being truthful, and they will appreciate your sincerity.
- Sometimes the best thing you can do is lend a friendly ear. Be sure you communicate non-verbally that you are listening as well. Look them in the eye and acknowledge what they are saying with a nod as they speak and lean forward slightly. Take the time to really hear what they have to say, sharing any memories, concerns, even laughter and tears.
If you are looking for caring and compassionate assisted living in Oklahoma City, please contact us. The Village at Oakwood will be happy to help you.
Leave a Reply