Adjusting to living alone after a bereavement

Julia Faulks / 06 January 2016

Getting used to living alone after a bereavement takes time and strength. We look at the barriers you may come up against and how simple changes to your lifestyle can help you come to terms with your new way of life.



Getting used to living alone after a bereavement takes time and strength. We look at the barriers you may come up against and how simple changes to your lifestyle can help you come to terms with your new way of life.

Often it’s those simple day-to-day things you enjoyed as a couple that hit you the hardest. Whether it was coming home to a homemade meal or having someone to share a morning cup of tea with, you may feel constantly reminded of your loved one no longer being with you as you adjust to living alone.

Some people can feel very isolated when they become widowed – especially if they don’t have friends or family who live nearby. You may also be left feeling overwhelmed at the things that you depended on your other half to do. It’s important to remember that over time things will get easier, but you need to play an active part in making this happen.

Struggling to cope? Find out where to find bereavement counselling.

Day-to-day chores

Finding the motivation to learn new skills, such as cooking or DIY, could be the last thing on your mind. On a positive note, it could also be the making of you. Taking a new class or joining a club will help you to meet new people and give you something else to focus your time on.

Many councils and community colleges offer training in basic skills for adults, so it's worth finding out what might be available in your area.

Visit our food section for cookery tips, recipes and more.

Feeling safe

Often one of the hardest things about living on your own is that feeling of vulnerability. Where you may have not been worried about the safety of your home in the past, all of a sudden you are hearing noises you’ve never heard before and feeling suspicious of anyone who comes to the door.

This is not uncommon, but it can be debilitating if you are feeling that way night after night. To help reassure you, local police units usually offer free security checks where you can talk through any concerns about security. It may also be useful to have some cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) – this can help you deal with general anxiety, depression or feelings of uncertainty.

Find out how to improve your home security.

Money worries

Money can cause a great deal of stress and tension, especially if what is left in your partner’s estate is not enough to sustain the same lifestyle. You may want to consider downsizing or moving to an area that is more affordable, yet close to friends or family. It may also be that you are entitled to certain benefits, including help with funeral costs. Visit Gov.uk to find out more or get advice directly from your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

Visit our money section for great personal financial tips.

Making small steps forward to adjusting to living at home will all help, but you need to remember that ultimately, you don’t have to live on your own. There may be the opportunity to live with other friends who are in a similar position, find shared accommodation, or move in with close family or friends. Most people learn to enjoy their own company, but this usually only happens with a good support network around them.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.