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Grief Counseling Training Program Article on Terminal Illness and Grief

Good article on the long goodbye that begins when a loved one develops terminal illness.  The grief only begins and can cause numerous complications.

Grief and terminal illness. Please also review our Grief Counseling Training Program

Grief and terminal illness. Please also review our Grief Counseling Training Program

Please also review our Grief Counseling Training Program

The article, The long goodbye: Coping with sadness and grief before a loved one dies, states

“For years before her death at age 96, Nancy Lundebjerg’s mother underwent a long, slow decline.

Arthritis made it hard for Margaret Lundebjerg to get around. After two hip surgeries, she needed a walker when she was out and about.

Incontinence was a source of discomfort, as was the need to rely on aides to help her perform daily chores.

Little by little, Margaret became frail and isolated. “There was a sadness to seeing my mother’s circle of life become diminished,” said Nancy Lundebjerg, 58, CEO of the American Geriatrics Society, who wrote about her experiences in the organization’s journal.

The anguish accompanying aging isn’t openly discussed very often, nor is its companion: grief. Instead, these emotions are typically acknowledged only after a loved one’s death, when formal rituals recognizing a person’s passing —the wake, the funeral, the shiva — begin.

But frailty and serious illness can involve significant losses over an extended period of time, giving rise to sadness and grief for years.

The loss of independence may be marked by the need to use a walker or a wheelchair. The loss of a cherished role may dishearten an older woman who is no longer able to cook dinner for her extended family, gathered at the holidays. The loss of shared memories may be painful for adult children when their older father is diagnosed with dementia. And these are but a few examples.

Looming over everything is the loss of the future that an older adult and his or her family imagined they might have, often accompanied by anxiety and dread.

This pileup of complex emotions is known as “anticipatory loss.” “The deterioration of function, disability and suffering have their own grieving processes, but helping families deal with that isn’t built into the health care system,” said Dr. John Rolland, professor of psychiatry at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and author of “Families, Illness and Disability: An Integrative Treatment Model.”

Rolland and several other experts offered advice on how to deal with difficult emotions that can arise with frailty or serious illness:”

To read the entire article, please click here

Please also review our Grief Counseling Training Program

 

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