Reflections on the Under-Researched Topic of Grief in Persons with Dementia: A Report from a Symposium on Grief and Dementia

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This article describes a symposium about the clinical challenges of providing care to persons with dementia and their families. The plenary session addressed the bereavement process in the general older adult population, neurocognitive processes that alter the grief process in persons with dementia, and therapeutic approaches to support grieving persons in different stages of dementia. Participants from diverse health care disciplines met in small groups to identify (1) current responses to persons with dementia and their families who experience a loss; (2) barriers to providing effective responses; and (3) possible interventions to improve care. Two general types of interventions emerged: practical/agency support and spiritual/affective engagement.