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West J Nurs Res. 1999 Aug;21(4):521-37.

Grief in spouse and children caregivers of dementia patients.

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Wayne State University, USA.


Caring for a family member with dementia involves loss and inevitable grief during the illness duration. The purpose of this study was to determine the patterns of grief of caregivers of family members with dementia and the relationship of those patterns to the losses and experiences of the caregivers. Participants were 22 spouse caregivers and 11 adult children caregivers of family members with dementia. Caregivers' experiences were measured using visual analog scales and grief using The Grief Experience Inventory. Caregivers' perceptions of the level of affection before the illness and the satisfaction of the marriage before the illness were inversely related to grief symptoms. Grief symptoms were also related to participants' perceptions of loss of the future. Caregivers' emotional distress includes reaction to the losses they are encountering long before their care recipients die.

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