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5 Facts About How Death Affects Relationships You Should Know

1. How Death Affects Relationships-Being widowed increases the risk of death

On December 5, 2018 local time, the United States held a state funeral for the late former President Bush at the Washington National Cathedral. This is less than 7 months after the funeral of his wife, Barbara Bush, at St. Martin’s Church in Houston.

In daily life, it is not uncommon for old couples to pass away in a short period of time. Even by coincidence, they could “tacitly” leave on the same day or the next day. This is not entirely accidental. A number of studies have shown that after the death of a spouse, the risk of illness and death for the elderly increases. Researchers call this the “widowhood effect.”

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2. How Death Affects Relationships has a greater impact on older men

A Harvard University study analyzed 12316 middle-aged and elderly people over the age of 50.

During the year, 539 spouses died. Among these 539 people, 50 died within 3 months of the death of their spouse, 26 died within 3 to 6 months, and 44 died within 6 to 12 months.


Researchers said that within the first 3 months of the spouse’s death, the other half had the greatest risk of death, which was 66% higher than that of people with a healthy spouse. The survey results also show that the younger the elderly, the greater the impact of spouse death.


3. How Death Affects Relationships-Both long-term widowhood and short-term widowhood will affect.

Among males aged 65 to 79, the long-term widows death risk is 54% higher than that of the spouse living with the spouse, and the newly widowed mans death risk is 261% higher than that of the spouse living with the spouse. Greatly increase the death risk of the elderly.


From the perspective of gender, long-term widowhood has a significantly greater impact on female elders than on male elders, but new widows have less impact on female elders than on male elders.


From the perspective of age, there is no significant difference in the effects of long-term widowhood on the elderly at different ages. However, the impact of new widowhood on the risk of death has significant age group differences, and its impact gradually weakens with age. For example, among the 80-89-year-olds, newly widowed will increase the elderly’s risk of death by 67%, which is significantly lower than that of the younger elderly. Among those aged 90 to 99 and those over 100, newly widowed will increase the risk of death by 35% and 33%, respectively.


According to the authors analysis, one of the reasons may be that death has become a common event for the elderly in the final stage of life, and there may have been long-term psychological preparations for the death of the spouse. Therefore, the impact of the death of the spouse is not like the impact on the younger elderly. So big.

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4. How Death Affects Relationships-Which old widows are most at risk?

Those elderly who show abnormal grief after the death of their partner should pay more attention to it. “Delayed grief is often seen in sudden, traumatic or accidental deaths of relatives, and it is more difficult for them to truly accept the fact that their relatives have passed away. Depression and later occurrences may occur. The risk of social withdrawal, anxiety disorders, panic attacks, overt or hidden self-harm, alcoholism, and psychophysiological symptoms.”


A history of mental illness or family history, poor physical condition, poverty, old age, men, witnessing death, close caregivers, and initial lack of performance are all high-risk factors that require focused intervention, especially the elderly who have self-harm behavior.


5. How Death Affects Relationships-How to prevent risks?


l How Death Affects Relationships The family allows and encourages the widowed to cry, talk, and recall repeatedly.

Tell him that grief is natural, should, and necessary. The current grief experience is inevitable and there is no need to deliberately suppress this feeling. Also remind the other party of the hallucinations and flashback symptoms that may occur, so that the widowed person will not be overly alarmed when these situations occur.


l How Death Affects Relationships-Briefly answer questions about death and health.

If you find that the bereaved have a wrong perception of the death of their relatives, such as overly blaming themselves and blaming them for their deaths, they can be reminded in subsequent conversations, emphasizing the uncontrollability of death, and positively commenting on his actions.


l How Death Affects Relationships-Family members should encourage them to return to life and work slowly.

Don’t preach, try to let him tell his future plans. If the widows emotions change, spend more time communicating, and pay more attention to special days such as wedding anniversaries.


l How Death Affects Relationships-Use traditional rituals to relieve the suffering of the living.

 For example, some festivals provide opportunities for regular contact with the deceased, allowing the widowed to program the memory of the deceased and return to their lives.

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Finally, if the widowed person continues to experience excessive grief, depression or panic, etc., he must seek the help of a professional doctor and cooperate with medication if necessary.


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