Posts Tagged ‘bereavement’

Grief and bereavement for people living with dementia

23 April 2014

                                                                          Guest post by Helen Findlay                                    

What is grief and bereavement?

Can we ever truly describe in words how it feels even though we may be feeling all manner of intense emotions and thoughts? Is there etiquette to it? Should we hide away from others? Should we not give in to public displays of grief whatever that may mean? Is there an accepted time limit to getting over the loss of someone close to you?

At times of grieving, it is possible to find refuge in literature to try and find something that may explain the void in the soul. Such as in the writings of great poets like Keats. Or in the incisive and resonating lines that capture complex and virtually indescribable states and feelings that come from authors like CS Lewis to be found in his book “A Grief Observed” (1961 Faber). Whether such writings offer comfort is moot but at least they may help to give some kind of frame to how we are feeling and assuage the notion that we are alone in our grief and no-one else has ever felt like this.

If it is difficult to assimilate and find ways of coping with the intense trauma that the death of a loved one can provoke, then how is it for someone who has dementia?  How does someone with dementia understand what has happened when someone close to them, perhaps their spouse, is no longer there?

Can they really comprehend what has happened?

Can someone with dementia express sorrow or be upset? If so, then how do they express it and how would others know that is what they are doing?

Family members and others who care for loved ones who have dementia may well have had to cope with this situation. Perhaps when caring for an ageing parent with dementia and their wife, husband or partner dies first possibly after many decades of being and living together. Suddenly the safe and enduring environment in which the person with dementia has been cared for is (more…)


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