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Charity’s helpful and free guide to coping with bereavement

12:00am | & Tips and Advice

It’s been a tough year for everyone as the Coronavirus pandemic impacted all our lives, but it’s perhaps hardest of all for those coping with bereavement.

It’s devastating when someone close to you passes away, and this year it’s been even harder for many people who’ve had to cope while also self-isolating or shielding because of their increased vulnerability to Covid-19. You might have been separated from a loved one leading up to their death because of isolation rules, or felt you couldn’t give them a ‘proper funeral’, all of which can generate complex emotions.

Grief affects us in different ways and we each have our own ways of coming to terms with it, but coping with bereavement is never easy. Support from family and friends can be a comfort, but even that’s been harder this year, due to ongoing Coronavirus restrictions.

Understanding how you’re feeling, developing ways to cope and discovering where help is available can all help. That’s why leading UK charity Independent Age has brought this and other information together in its free and updated advice guide entitled “Coping with bereavement – living with grief and loss”. Like all Independent Age guides, it’s written in an easy-to-understand style and has been compiled with input from people who’ve been through the situations described.

The free 40-page guide examines how you might be feeling after the death of someone close, stressing that there’s no right or wrong way to feel and a whole range of emotions might be experienced. It’s split into eight chapters looking at subjects including the physical effects of grief, looking after yourself, where to find help, adjusting to living on your own, and how to hold on to precious memories.

This particular guide doesn’t focus on the practical steps you might need to go through after someone close to you dies – such as arranging a funeral or dealing with a will and probate ­– but Independent Age has a separate factsheet for that. It’s called “What to do after a death” and you can access it by clicking here.

Often, the real impact of a bereavement doesn’t come straight away, especially if you’re busy sorting out practical matters, but as time passes the grief can be more keenly felt. Many people also find it difficult to talk openly to the people around them about how they’re feeling, which is when the information in the Independent Age guide comes into its own.

The section on ‘Where to find help’ is particularly useful, bringing together in one place the contact details for many organisations offering expert bereavement care, support and advice. You might find it easier to talk to a caring ‘stranger’, especially one whose experience and detailed knowledge can really help you.

You can find the Independent Age ‘Coping with bereavement’ guide by clicking here. You can download a copy to read on screen or print off at home, or you can order copies by post. An audio version of the guide is also available to listen to.

• Independent Age has produced a library of free guides and factsheets covering all aspect of getting older. They don’t just focus on health, but also on money matters, future planning, housing, accessing benefits, support and care and personal life. You can see the full list and download as many as you like for free by clicking here. The charity also operates a free helpline on 0800 319 6789.

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