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Coping with Loss

When we talk about the retirement years—the so-called “Golden Years” of life—we often focus on the

positive side only. The time away from work, time spent watching your family grow and evolve, and

hours invested in traveling and focusing on your hobbies. But there’s a lot more to retirement than that,

and it’s not all happy. During our later years, we must become far more adept at dealing with loss than

we do in our younger years. From the loss of cultural icons we grew up with to the loss of lifelong friends

and cherished family members, the golden years are bittersweet, filled with both powerful gains and

tremendous losses.

Avoid Isolation

Some people deal with the death of someone they admire or care about by retreating into themselves

and taking time alone to mourn. While this is healthy, too much isolation can be damaging. It’s

important to reach out to trusted friends and family to discuss your feelings and help work through your

grief. Doing so also helps to remind you of how much happiness and joy is still out there.

Let Yourself Move through the Stages

Research has shown that there are five stages of grief:

1. Denial

2. Anger

3. Bargaining

4. Depression

5. Acceptance

While you might need more or less time in some of these stages than others, each one is an important

part of the overall grieving process. Don’t beat yourself up for going through them and don’t try to force

yourself to “get over it.”Allow yourself to feel and express your feelings appropriately. If you’re

concerned that you might be lingering too long on one step and having trouble moving forward in the

process, consider getting help from a grief counselor.

Take Care of You

It’s important that you don’t neglect yourself while trying to cope with loss. Make sure you continue to

eat right, exercise and take prescription medications. Don’t let your grief take over your life so much

that you stop taking care of yourself.

Remember—you are not alone. Everyone deals with losses as they move through life. If you feel alone

or are having trouble coping, reach out to a support group or grief counselor. Not only will they help you

deal with your current grief, they may teach you invaluable techniques that will help you better cope

with future losses.

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