People with dementia, their family members, caregivers, and staff who support them all experience some form of grief throughout the progression of the disease. Ambiguous loss is the set of feelings commonly experienced while grieving over the person with dementia long before she dies. A person experiencing ambiguous loss may feel that the person with dementia is leaving her a little bit each day. Learning about loss and grief due to Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias can help in better understanding the feelings that occur and may ease the process.
The Alzheimer Society has developed evidence-based practical resources written from a person-centred perspective to help health-care professionals understand and support those experiencing ambiguous loss and grief associated with dementia.
- Taking the lead: Supporting staff in coping
with grief and loss in dementia care, Healthcare Management Forum
- Ambiguous loss and grief in dementia: a resource for individuals and families is a practical resource to help people with dementia and their families understand how the feelings of loss and grief can affect them.
- Webinar on ambiguous grief and loss presented by the Canadian Dementia Resource and Knowledge Exchange.
- Grief, Loss and Dementia: caregivers share their journeys (DVD). Vancouver Island Health Authority, 2011 and supporting documents CD (Workbook for Dementia Caregivers, A Quick Guide For Family Caregivers, and A Quick Guide for Professional Caregivers).
- Grieving, Alzheimer Society of Canada.
- The Ambiguous Loss of Dementia: Finding Meaning and Hope, Pauline Boss, September 2009.
- Grief in times of celebration: the empty spot. Horst, Glen, Canadian Virtual Hospice
- Loss, Trauma and Resilience, Pauline Boss, W.W. Norton & Company, 2006
- Use our checklist to help support your family caregivers dealing with ambiguous loss and grief.
Last Updated: 03/06/14