4 years ago

The mourning process of older people with dementia who lost their spouse

Sayuri Suwa, Akiko Watanabe
Aims To explore the mourning process of people with dementia who have lost their spouse, using family caregivers’ and professionals’ perspectives and to devise grief care for people with dementia. Background There have been studies on the loss of one's spouse; however, little is known about widows and widowers with dementia as they may find it hard to tell their perception and feelings to others accurately because of cognitive impairment. Design Qualitative descriptive study using semi-structured interviews. Method Seven family caregivers and six professional caregivers from day care centres were interviewed between June and September 2015. Qualitative content analysis was used to identify mourning behaviours of people with dementia. Results In the mourning process of people with dementia, different behaviours were found according to dementia stages and different circumstances. In FAST2, they could remember their spouse's death. In FAST4 -6, it took 1 year to be able to perceive their spouse's death and more time to store it. In FAST 7, people with dementia did not discern his spouse's death throughout the process. Furthermore, it was revealed that people with dementia followed a different mourning process from conventional ones. Conclusion In the care of widows and widowers with dementia it is crucial to adjust circumstances to allow people with dementia to guess reality. Further studies are needed to clarify differences between the mourning process of people with dementia and that of intact older people to develop a grief model and educational programmes.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1111/jan.13286

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