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Gerontologist. 2001 Oct;41(5):658-70.

A comprehensive, stage-sensitive model of grief in dementia caregiving.

Author information

  • 1Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, Department of Neurology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63108, USA. meusert@neuro.wustl.edu

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Grief is an overlooked but important element of the caregiver experience. This study defines a model of caregiver grief to aid in clinical intervention and to support further research.

DESIGN AND METHODS:

This study addressed the grief responses of 87 spouse and adult-child caregivers of patients with progressive dementia representing mild, moderate, severe, and postdeath. Questionnaire data and qualitative findings from 16 semistructured focus group interviews provide the basis for a descriptive model of anticipatory grief in dementia caregiving.

RESULTS:

Significant differences emerged between spouse and adult-child caregiver groups as a whole and as a function of Clinical Dementia Rating impairment level. Caregiver grief was found to fluctuate between intellectual, affective, and existential poles depending upon current care demands and expectations.

IMPLICATIONS:

These findings suggest that anticipatory grief in dementia caregiving is "real" grief, equivalent in intensity and breadth to death-related grief.

PMID:
11574711
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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