End of life care

13. After death

Each carer will experience and approach bereavement in their own way and it is important that you are supported to grieve as you want to. You may experience a range of emotions, including numbness, inability to accept the situation, anger, regret, sadness, relief, isolation and a loss of purpose. You may feel very strong emotions, or you may feel that you have no strong emotions left.

It may be assumed that you have already grieved for the person with dementia as their condition has worsened, but many people will still feel grief at their death.

There are practical but emotionally difficult issues to think about after a person dies: registering the death, funeral plans, and changes to financial and legal documents and benefits. You can find out more from your local Citizens Advice Bureau (see 'Other useful organisations').

The period around the funeral is often a time when others offer most support. Afterwards there may be a 'delayed bereavement' when you adjust to no longer having to care for the person with dementia. You may need to rebuild friendships that your caring role put on hold. Emotional support may help, and talking feelings through with family and close friends is often a source of comfort.

If you need more support or are becoming depressed (which is different from grieving), ask your GP about local bereavement services or contact Cruse Bereavement Care (see 'Other useful organisations'). Your local carers' centre may also be able to help.

For more information see our page: Grief and bereavement.