Presentation on theme: "Bereavement and Grief DEFINITIONS Bereavement: Bereavement: the process of adjusting to the experience of loss, especially to the death of friends and."— Presentation transcript:
Bereavement and Grief DEFINITIONS Bereavement: Bereavement: the process of adjusting to the experience of loss, especially to the death of friends and loved ones. Grief: Grief: the intense emotional suffering that accompanies our experience of loss. Mourning: Mourning: The outward expressions of bereavement and grief.
Grief Work Grief Work consists of freeing ourselves emotionally from the deceased, readjusting to life without that person, resuming ordinary activities, and forming new relationships. Our first reaction may be shock and disbelief. After the shock wears off, we may be “bothered” by memories of the person and negative emotions like anger or guilt may surface. Some grief reactions appear in the form of physical symptoms or illnesses. Eventually, most mourners come to terms with the loss and resume daily activities. Bereavement and Grief Bereavement and Grief cont’d
Unresolved Grief Psychological Reactions: Unresolved griefcomplicated grief Unresolved grief (or complicated grief) is a psychological state in which a person’s emotional reaction to loss remains repressed, often being manifested in unexplained physical or psychological symptoms. Unresolved grief can take many forms: -chronic guilt, bitterness, and anger -obsessive thoughts about the loved one -extreme denial about the loss Mental health professionals believe that this prolonged or obsessive mourning is abnormal and may require professional attention (i.e., grief therapy). Bereavement and Grief Bereavement and Grief cont’d
Unresolved Grief Physical Reactions: Some people suffer adverse physical reactions to unresolved grief, i.e. heart attacks, ulcers, high blood pressure, etc. People who live alone or are without close friends are most likely to experience physical symptoms of unresolved grief. Widowed men, in particular, are most susceptible to health problems after the loss of their wives. Bereavement and Grief Bereavement and Grief cont’d
Good Grief good grief When we have learned and grown in our bereavement, we have experienced good grief. People who can talk, feel, or act it out are more likely to experience it. Don’t be embarrassed or shy about talking to someone in mourning. Encouraging the mourner to express feelings may be helpful. Expressing grief in appropriate ways, such as visiting the grave and leaving flowers, can be helpful. Bereavement and Grief Bereavement and Grief cont’d
Life and Death in Perspective Average life expectancy in 1955: 48 years …in 1995: 65 years …today: over 75 years!
Life and Death in Perspective cont’d Americans are living longer due to better health care. As a consequence: the journey to death takes longer. people more likely to die from a chronic illness (heart disease) rather than an acute illness (viral infection). people today are more likely to die in a hospital. Today, death is more common in older Americans rather than in children as was true a century ago.
The Right to Die … …is a legal and ethical view that competent individuals who are able to understand treatment choices and their consequences have the right to decide their own fate, such as the withholding of treatment that would delay death. Many dying people express concern about the loss of dignity (i.e., becoming dependent on others for all their care). Life and Death in Perspective cont’d Both the American Medical Association and the public (in polls) generally support a dying person’s right to die.
Life and Death in Perspective cont’d The Right to Die Such thinking has led to the growth in use of: Living Wills: (a.k.a., advance directives, health care proxies) A document in which a person instructs doctors and family members to stop using life-sustaining procedures in the event of a terminal condition.
A Natural Death A hospice is a system of care that integrates a physical facility for the terminally ill with the patient’s family and home to enable the patient to die with dignity. The movement represents a giant step toward creating a humane and supportive community for the dying. Many hospice stays are shorter than the recommended three months… Many terminal patients are referred to hospice too late to fully benefit from the care. Many individuals prefer to die at home. Life and Death in Perspective cont’d
Funerals and Other Services funeral A funeral is a ceremony and/or ritual associated with the burial or cremation of the dead. They are as much for the living as for the dead, because the living may want to memorialize their loved ones in a special way. …can be a way of honoring and remembering someone whose achievements in life were never adequately recognized. Life and Death in Perspective cont’d
Funerals and Other Services The funeral industry has been criticized for taking advantage of vulnerable family members. Funerals represent one of the largest expenses a family faces. …our fourth largest consumer purchase behind our house, car, and wedding! Life and Death in Perspective cont’d
Death and Growth It may seem strange relating death to growth. Death gives meaning to human existence by: Reminding us to spend our days wisely. Helping us relate more deeply to other survivors. Helping us learn to hope that other adverse events can be overcome. Life and Death in Perspective cont’d If you were told you had a limited time to live, how would you spend your time?