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Coping with Anticipatory Grief

Coping with Anticipatory Grief
Date published: 19 May 2023 Author: Zoe Armbrust Categories:
Anticipatory grief is a complex emotional process. It occurs when a loved one is still alive, but has a terminal or life-limiting condition, and for family members of people living with dementia, this can be especially challenging. Dementia can progress slowly over time, leaving loved ones in a constant state of worry and grief.


When you’re navigating anticipatory grief while caring for a loved one with dementia, having strategies in place can help you cope with the emotional toll:


Seek Support: A strong support system is incredibly important. Reach out to family members, friends, and support groups to help you process your emotions and provide practical help if you need it.

Self-Care: When you’re going through a lot, it can be easy to forget to take care of yourself. Ensure that you are getting enough rest, eating a healthy diet, and engaging in activities that you enjoy. Good physical and emotional health can help you better support your loved one. Mindfulness techniques such as meditation and yoga can help you stay present and focused, reduce anxiety, and ensure you spend time just on yourself.

Educate Yourself: Understanding what your loved one is experiencing can help you feel more in control of the situation. Learn about the different stages of dementia, its symptoms, and what treatments are available – knowing what to expect can help you better prepare and cope.

Plan for the Future: It’s important to plan ahead. Knowing that you have a plan in place for matters such as end-of-life care can alleviate some of the stress and worry, and remove some uncertainty about the future.

Seek Professional Help: Don’t hesitate to seek help. There are therapists and counsellors who specialise in grief and dementia, and can provide guidance and support as you navigate this difficult time.

Take a Break: Caring for a loved one with dementia can be a full-time job, and it can be physically and emotionally exhausting. A professional carer could provide you with much-needed respite by taking on some of the caring responsibilities, so you have time to rest and recharge. Knowing that your loved one is receiving bespoke, high-quality care in the comfort of their own home can give you peace of mind while allowing you to focus on your own physical and emotional needs.

Coping with the anticipatory grief of a loved one with dementia can be a challenging and emotionally draining experience. Remember to seek support and take care of yourself to help you cope, so you can support your loved one with compassion and understanding.


– Grzegorz Wrzosek, Country Manager for Promedica24 UK

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