Dementia Spousal Caregivers: An Exploration of Pre-Loss Grief Interventions to Mitigate Post-Loss Complicated Grief
The aim of this thesis is to synthesize the existing evidence regarding spousal dementia caregivers’ pre-death grief experiences and grief variables linked with caregiver post-death complicated or prolonged grief. Dementia grief models that take dementia caregivers’ pre and post-loss grief in account are examined. The evidence regarding the efficacy of psycho-social interventions to alleviate distress, assist with pre-loss grief adjustment, and mitigate complicated grief in bereavement is also discussed. Findings reveal that the perception of dementia caregiver grief as a critical component of the caregiving experience which may be detrimental to caregivers’ mental and physical health is relatively new. Also revealed is the scarcity of quality studies and studies that use consistent categorizations of interventions when reporting on the efficacy of interventions for dementia caregiver’s pre-loss grief. Conclusions include the acknowledgment of the pressing need to assist caregivers as more and more spouses find themselves in a caregiving role that may exceed their skill level and capacity to cope. Recommendations for pre-loss interventions are offered.
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