Re: grief in the dementia patient

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Quite a regular
From: Rowlett
Posts: 56
Welcome to ElderHope's forum!! So sorry to hear about your mother's grief since her dog's death - the experience of grief can be especially hard for the person with dementia (as well as the family) because of the confusion, memory loss and loss of insight which accompanies dementia.

You said that your mother wants a burial plot where her dog was previously buried. Is it possible to put some of the dog's ashes in the hole and plant some flowers by the plot or place a little marker of some sort there? Probably seeing the hole in the ground confuses her and raises her anxiety about the whole thing so covering the hole and planting something in honor of her dog may bring her some comfort.

You also mentioned that she is bored there now - can you ask the staff to be a little more attentive to her, pay her a bit more attention, try to engage her in some sort of activity there? Your mother is grieving a loss as best she can right now, so some times she may be sad when she remembers her dog's death but other times she may appreciate a friendly face just spending a few extra minutes with her.

Does the facility offer any pet therapy? Not sure if this would help but if they do have pet therapy you may ask if they would stop by to see your mother - depending upon the extent of her dementia, she may become more confused and anxious when the pet has to leave with its owner or she may enjoy the time spent petting and talking with a dog again.

You said that your mother feels better after praying with you over the phone - is there a chaplain available through the facility or from a local Place of worship who can stop by and visit with your mother once in a while? She may feel much comfort from sharing prayers that have brought her solace in the past.

Lastly, an antidepressant may help if your mother continues to be really stressed by her grief - however, she will probably still have times when she just needs to talk with you and feel that support and connection to you. If nothing really seems to help your mother, then I would probably talk with her doctor about prescribing a medication and she how she does.

Please take care and my heart goes out to both of you - let us know, if you have a minute, about how your mother is doing over time and what, if anything, helped her during this time.

Most sincerely,

Posted on 2009/12/30 9:57

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