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Dementia & The Grief Process

Our guest, Steven Krul discusses grief in this blog post.


The most common question that perturbs family members who have lost a loved one to a Dementia/Alzheimer’s diagnosis is: “Why am I not crying more, is something wrong with me?"


No, nothing is “wrong with you." Crying may be the most common grief response, however, it’s certainly not a prerequisite for grief. Grief is not something new for family members of a dementia patient, therefore, grievers are less prone to cry because the emotional wound isn’t a new wound. Now I know what you’re thinking, how’s the grief not “new” if they’re asking this question let’s say 5-7 weeks after the passing?


The answer is people grieve losses they anticipate (consciously or even subconsciously). This concept is known as anticipatory grief. It means we can grieve a loss before it happens, simply because we know it's going to occur so we, therefore, begin the process of grieving it. All the common signs of grieving like denial, anger, bargaining, despair, etc, can occur during anticipatory grief.

Caregivers for dementia patients experience anticipatory grief, so they have started a grief process. That is why they may not always cry as much after the passing. It's not due to a lack of “caring”, on the contrary, they have provided so much love and caring, all while going through anticipatory grief.


Grief in all its forms can be draining. Self-care feels like a foreign concept to most caregivers. Remember that, you are going through an emotional process that’s difficult. Be gentle with yourself, seek support, pace yourself and know that regardless of whether you can see it or not that you’re probably doing everything right and then some!


About the Author


Steven Krul, LCSW is a psychotherapist in private practice based out of Long Island and Queens, NY and does Telehealth as well. He can be reached at (908) 337-0641.

 

Medical House Calls With Compassion is an organization of healthcare providers focused on providing in-house care for patients that cannot leave their homes. We bring the office to you in the belief that every individual deserves proper care and respect.


We treat patients between the ages of 18 and 114 years. Specializing in chronic conditions, we also focus on preventative care! We care for patients with dementia, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, ALS, diabetes, high blood pressure, lung diseases, obesity, infections, and much more.


Learn more about us here.

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