6. Supporting a person with dementia during grief
People with dementia may also develop feelings of grief as their condition progresses. They may grieve for the loss of their abilities, skills and independence. They may feel more isolated as their environment becomes unfamiliar and more confusing. They may be frightened about what’s going to happen in the future.
Tips for supporting the person during grief
- Support them to express how they’re feeling (if they want to). They may not be able to communicate this verbally but look for other ways to support them such as music or creative activities.
- Give them time to express how they’re feeling and reassure them when they’re feeling distressed.
- Support them to keep doing the things they want to and enjoy. For example, you could use assistive technology or adapt activities to meet the person’s needs. For more information see factsheet 437, Assistive technology – devices to help with everyday living.
- Help them find new things they enjoy doing – for example, they could try a new hobby or get involved in their local community.
- Think about any spiritual needs they may have (such as meditation, prayer or attending a service) and how these can help the person to cope with their feelings.
- They may find it helpful to talk to a professional (such as a dementia support worker or counsellor) about how they are feeling.