Loss and Grief that Comes with the Transition into Aged Care and Dementia

This course has no current classes. Please the waiting list.

A recent report by Alzheimer’s Australia called: ‘The most difficult decision: dementia and the move into residential aged care’ (2012) points out that the transition from living independently in the community into Residential Aged Care is for many people one of the most challenging changes and adjustments in their life. This move is not socially recognised as a significant milestone that needs rituals and a deep appreciation of the loss and grief journey. When we generally think of loss and older people we think of death and dying. However many losses in later life are related to losing one’s independence which is most powerfully symbolised when a person has to move out of their home and into permanent residential care. Most often, this transition is one of the hardest decisions that older people and their families have to face.

This course will address this unrecognised grief experience and demonstrate that we can respond to these losses proactively and with dignity acknowledging both loss and life. A whole person-centered care approach that validates a grieving person’s experience will be applied. This workshop will address the different needs of both the families/carers and the older person with or without dementia themselves. The grieving process is not exclusive to those who are cognitively able to manage the grieving process. Residents with advanced dementia are also affected by these significant changes but often don’t have the cognitive skills to resolve or make sense of their grief and go unrecognised. This course will also address the emotional needs of people with dementia.

At the conclusion of the workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Discover the importance and need to work creatively and proactively with the losses associated with this transition as this can help the healing of the grief
  • Know evidence from current literature, research and practical examples that demonstrate
  • Identify Doka’s (2007) four types of disenfranchised grief
  • Apply rituals that address the disenfranchised losses through this transition
  • Identify the wide-ranging losses that are connected with dementia
  • Familiarise yourself with practical strategies and skills that support the transitioning process
  • Identify behaviours of the person with dementia that indicate that they are experiencing loss and grief and learn techniques and strategies that support them
  • Explore ways of preparing clients constructively to anticipated losses
  • Identify support strategies for carers and staff who are burned out with these ongoing losses

Who should attend?

Professionals working with those people affected by the loss and grief associated with the transition into aged care and dementia such as counsellors, nurses, therapists, aged care specialist, carers, psychologists and other allied health professionals