Grief and Loss Are Contributing Factors In The Homelessness Of Older Adults

In 2010, 20 clients from Haven Toronto voluntarily participated in a half hour in person qualitative interview with a social worker to explore how grief and loss has factored into the experiences of homelessness.

Before this study, little research exits on how grief and loss contributes to the homelessness of older male adults.

Loss knows no bounds, crossing races, gender, socioeconomic status and class. At some point in time, everyone encounters a form of grief and loss. Grief is the response to loss and often significantly impacts an individual’s life just as much as the death of a significant other.

Grief can also result from the loss of a job, property, income, home and the ending of a relationship. For others, the loss of role, identity, independence, freedom, safety and religious beliefs can be difficult to process and work through.

Although 15% did not report any significant impact from losses experienced, 85% of the members of Haven Toronto felt significantly impacted by their experiences of loss. Common experiences of a death of a parent, divorce or separation, loss of job or injury on a job were reported by many of the members. Many attributed their sense of failure to the failure of their marriages. Some reported the loss of their career and income as a contributing factor to the breakdown of their marriages. Grief and loss can often be the impetus for positive change and growth.

For some of our members, they accepted their experiences of loss as a natural part of the life cycle. Some viewed it as a chance to rebuild their lives, viewing acceptance of their life ev