5 Suggestions When Caring For a Widower

APRIL 4, 2023  /  KELLI NAPOTNIK  / 

5 Suggestions When Caring For a Widower
When my grandma passed away, my grandpa was suddenly left alone. He was a very capable cook his whole life. He grew up on a farm in Texas and learned to cook from his mother. He served in WWII at only 17 years old and was drafted again for the Korean War. I remember him sharing stories of flipping pancakes and feeding the troops waiting in line for breakfast. Knowing those stories made the pancakes he prepared for us each time we'd visit even more special.
Later in life, cooking was not easy for him. My grandpa was a tall man and became very frail and prone to falling. In the absence of my grandma, meals needed to be provided for him. As I think of him and how very precious he was to me, here are five helpful tips for caring for a widower.
Help them navigate life after loss
My grandmother was the one who paid the bills, organized mail coming in, and kept their finances balanced. Consider helping a new widower by volunteering to help organize life after the funeral. This could be creating a bill payment system at home that would be easy for him to find and manage, or perhaps delegating that role to a family member who would agree to checking in on finances for him. This kind of help would be up to the widower and his family to decide if it is needed.
Check on them during the weeks after the funeral
In the days and first few weeks after their loss, help may come in abundance. It's in the weeks after the funeral when a simple check in or phone call may be most appreciated to ward off loneliness. My mom made a point to call Grandpa every evening to say hello and check in. He loved those calls and she later shared with me that she could tell he eagerly looked forward to the time of day he would get a call from her. Even if you live far away, taking the time to call is a great way to offer encouragement.
Bring meals with directions
When bringing meals, consider leaving the recipe card with instructions so the widower being cared for is able to recreate the meal you have brought for them to enjoy. If they aren't accustomed to cooking, sharing a simple and easy to follow recipe is very helpful. Consider asking friends or family to offer to shop for groceries too.
Clean the house
A widower may have just lost the one person who kept things clean and tidy. If cooking or taking meals isn't your thing, consider offering to clean for them. If you aren't able to clean yourself, there are many local businesses you can hire!
Help organize their spouses belongings
Along the lines of cleaning, organizing their spouse's belongings may not come easy. When they are ready, ask if you can help them. Helping to organize these very personal items can be easier with the support of another person.
Do you have any other helpful suggestions when caring for a widower? What did you find was the most helpful? We'd love to hear!

5 Suggestions When Caring For a Widower

*Far left: my grandpa during the Korean War. Center: his highschool yearbook photo. Far right: his favorite pastime, hunting!

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Adina & Maureen
Adina & Maureen

Welcome! We're thrilled you stopped by. Our own joys and sorrows have taught us that a well-timed meal delivered by a friend is one of the best gifts imaginable. In this space, we share our favorite recipes to take to friends, meal-taking tips, and other ways to care for those who are dear to you.

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