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5 Stages of Grief a Senior Goes Through When Diagnosed With a Chronic Condition

The older a senior gets, the more they’re expecting health conditions to pop up; it’s a natural part of life.
Senior Home Care Folsom, CA: Stages of Grief

The older a senior gets, the more they’re expecting health conditions to pop up; it’s a natural part of life. What is unexpected is being diagnosed with an incurable or chronic condition that can be life-changing. A senior may go through several different emotions, and it can be essential to home senior home care there to help handle these feelings. Everyone will have various reactions, but a lot of seniors will experience something like grief.

All emotions are complex and involve a lot of feelings that are hard to describe and identify. It can be hard to tell who is handling the news well and who is not. A senior who may look calm may be dealing with big emotions on the inside. It can be important to have full family support as well as a senior home care provider to help motivate and encourage someone.

Grief is not always brought on by death or something like an accident, but it can also be brought on by major life changes. This includes getting diagnosed with a chronic condition. Seniors can grieve for their health after they have been diagnosed with something else. According to Swiss-American psychiatrist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, a person may go through five stages of grief.


Senior Home Care Folsom, CA: Stages of Grief

One of the very first feelings that someone may go through is denial. Some people do not experience this feeling very first, but it does come in waves. The senior may be rejecting the truth and not believing they have this chronic condition or going on as if they can do the things they used to do. Senior home care can help them work through this and encourage a senior to get the treatments they need without getting angry at this very first stage.


This can be one of the most challenging emotions that affect other people too. A senior may be soon accepting the diagnosis but not yet ready to take the next steps. They may not be prepared to go to treatments or take medicine. This anger may be directed at themselves, their doctors, or at the entire situation. It can be really easy for a senior to lash out at family members and the senior home care workers. If you are trying to help your parents or loved one, it is important to remind them it’s no one’s fault and to keep a level head while they lash out.


Most people think of depression as grief and vice versa; the truth is, they often go hand-in-hand. This stage may require other services, like therapy or group therapy. Seniors need to know they aren’t alone.


A senior may start running through different “what if” scenarios. For example, what if the doctor was wrong, what if they didn’t get treatment, what if they saw a new doctor, and more. They may try to negotiate with their health and their health care provider. This is a way to process the new diagnosis.

True Acceptance

Most people start accepting things and taking action in their new situations. Sometimes people skip specific steps, or other times they are out of order. This is when the seniors start finding other ways to cope.

If you or an aging loved one needs Senior Home Care in Folsom, CA, remember Senior Home Care Services. Call us at (916) 514-7006 for more information.

Jay Bloodsworth

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