You may have never heard of it but we often see this (until now) undocumented condition. When does Surviving Spouse Syndrome occur? When one spouse dies leaving the surviving spouse to fend for themselves. What happens to the surviving spouse who develops this “syndrome”? Their health declines quickly and they need help.

The likelihood of nursing home admission is three times higher within one month of the loss of a spouse, say researchers at the University of Helsinki, Finland. After one to five years, the rate of admission is roughly 20% to 50% compared with living couples! The grief caused by the loss of a loved one may affect a person’s ability to perform daily activities. Depression, anxiety, loss of sleep and appetite, fatigue and diminished concentration are all associated with extreme grief and are all potential causes to seek care from a nursing home.

Read the full study in the online version of the American Journal of Public Health.

Dan Frith
Dan Frith

Dan Frith has over 25 years of experience representing individuals and families in cases of medical malpractice throughout Virginia. He has been named "Best Medical Malpractice Attorney" by Roanoker Magazine and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. To speak with Dan, contact him by email at