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Grief has been identified as the “constant yet hidden companion” of dementia (Kenneth J. Doka). Caregivers often experience a continuous and profound sense of loss and subsequent grief as they live through the changes associated with the progression of the disease. You may be grieving the losses that are occurring in your own life as well as in the life of the person with dementia.

Grieving is an up and down process. In the earlier stages of the person’s dementia, you may swing between despair and wild optimism that a cure will soon be found. You may even deny that anything is wrong with the person and try to suppress your feelings. Later, if you have accepted the situation, you may find that there are periods when you can cope well and make the best of things. At other times, you may feel overwhelmed by sadness or anger, or you may simply feel numb.

Feelings like these are a normal part of grieving, but if you experience them, it is important to realize that you may be under a great deal of stress and you may need to seek emotional support for yourself.

Tips for coping with grief:

Grieving in the final stages of dementia
Additional resources
  • is an online resource to help you understand grief and work through some of the difficult issues you may be facing. This site was developed by a team of grief experts and people who have experienced significant loss in their own lives, to help people like you.