When you lose a parent, the remaining parent has also lost a spouse. Thus, there is a lot of shared grief as you recall family memories. But there is private grief too, especially for a widow or widower after a long and happy marriage.
The average age for becoming a widower in the UK is 77 and women are typically widowed at 73. Contingent upon the age your parents were when they got married, most couples have been together for 50 years. After the grieving period, you will want to consider how life has been altered forever for the parent who was left behind.
A spare bedroom in your home can become a saving grace for your mother or father when they cannot be alone with their memories or loneliness and need to be with family. Let them know that they are welcome to use it as little or as often as they want.
Fixing Up a Spare Room for a Parent
Make sure the room is spotless and has a fresh coat of paint. Pale peach is an ideal colour as it is gently warm without being cheery. It teams well with a mint green carpet. You can match bedding and accessories in colours like green, brown, grey, white, and black. Get a single chair in the same colour fabric as the carpet.
Consider the hints your parent may have unintentionally given you before shopping for a bed. If they have been telling you that the bed feels empty without their spouse, it is better to get a single bed. However, it should still be roomy enough to feel comfortable and neither too high nor too low. Bear in mind that your parents have accumulated a lot of things over the years and might need extra storage capacity. Hence, look at solid VidaXL bed frames with ottomans for storage and comfort. On the other hand, if your parents have ever joked about the remaining spouse taking up the whole bed, it may be wisest to invest in a double bed.
Get a matching bedside table and dressing table with drawers and a mirror in the same style and wood. Go for light woods and stay away from heavy or sombre pieces. If there are no built-in cupboards, be sure to purchase two wardrobes for ample hanging and packing space. Women, especially, tend to have a summer and a winter wardrobe.
Sometimes your parent will be eager to join the family for breakfast and a brisk walk. However, if they are having an off day and want to be left alone, honour their wishes. Bring breakfast to the room, check if they need anything else, then leave them be for a while. Remember that they are used to living with their spouse and need a bit of quiet.
It will be immensely useful to have a coffee table that doubles as a writing or eating desk and has a solid base for extra storage. This is ideal for spending time alone or having a cuppa with family. You should check on your parent before supper and ask if they will be joining you for a meal and some telly. Again, be guided by what they need.
Always keep in mind that while the period of mourning may only be a few months, there will be years of feeling the loss of a close loved one. Be available without crowding your parent and gradually include them more in family activities. Only time can heal.