A report, launched by Independent Age, has found that bereavement has a huge impact on older people, including those living with dementia. The report found that:
· People with dementia are less likely to get good end of life care.
· Anticipatory grief is a big issue for carers of people with dementia, as it can be difficult to predict when a person with the condition will pass away.
· Older people who experience a partner’s death are up to four times more likely to experience depression than older people who have not been bereaved.
· Despite the effect on older people’s mental health following a bereavement, they are less likely to be referred for support.
Rachel Hutchings, Policy Officer at Alzheimer’s Society, says: “Dementia is now the leading cause of death in the UK and we know that people with the condition are more likely to experience poor quality care at end of life. Having good quality of care at death for someone with dementia can be crucial in reducing the pain of bereavement, which may include advanced planning and talking about end of life.
“As this report highlights, the impact on carers of people with dementia can be huge, with people often describing feeling like the person has ‘died twice’. It is therefore essential that not only do people with dementia receive high quality end of life care, but that carers are supported to handle the associated trauma at such a difficult time.”