Grieving for somone with dementia

When someone has dementia it often feels as though we lose them bit by bit. The ability to converse may go at an early stage and we may feel that the companion on whom we relied is no longer there. Often the natural empathy which one human feels towards another, the ability of a partner to be of comfort and give solace at difficult times seems to disappear and the person we care for may no longer seem to be ‘there’.

But physical existence is still very significant. We often hear people say thoughtlessly that the death of someone with dementia was a ‘happy release’ and that the person left behind can ‘now move on’. For the person left behind however the shock is still profound. They may not feel able to ‘move on’ for many months and may feel very little sense of release. Indeed the days no longer filled with caring tasks or visits to hospital or care home may seem dreadfully empty.

Remember that you are in shock. One part of you may just feel able to be relieved that the person you have lost is no longer suffering but another part of you wants them back. Although you may have grieved during their lifetime for the loss of the person you knew you are now grieving for the loss of the person they became. Your grief is real and as valid as that of any other person.

One Comment

  1. Posted December 4, 2010 at 04:02 | Permalink

    It is difficult to know when and how to grieve a person who has dementia. I have written about this in the face of my mother’s dementia in an article called, ‘Disappearing With Dementia’

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