The Long Goodbye: Understanding Anticipatory Grief and Dementia | Avalon Memory Care

The Long Goodbye: Understanding Anticipatory Grief and Dementia

When you have a family member who is suffering from dementia, it’s not unusual to find yourself experiencing sharp and sudden emotions. The gradual loss of a loved one is, in many ways, comparable to experiencing the death of someone close to you. With progressive dementia, this sense of loss is accompanied by another emotion known as anticipatory grief.

What is anticipatory grief?

Anticipatory grief is a term coined by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, the psychologist famous for developing the notion of the five stages of grief. It is the grieving we experience prior to the death of someone close to us, as we become aware that our loved one will leave us soon. As you notice the gradual disappearance of your family member’s mind and personality, you may begin to feel that the person you knew is already gone.

When does anticipatory grief begin and end?

The experience of anticipatory grief is different for every person. Many people begin to experience it as soon as they realize that they are losing their loved one, while others begin to grieve once their family member’s dementia symptoms have become difficult to overlook. Most of the time, anticipatory grief only ends at the death of the loved one.

Is anticipatory grief normal?

It is completely normal to experience anticipatory grief. Many people find that they have already gone through the grieving experience by the time their family member passes away, while others still feel the grief of bereavement just as vividly. Other people find that going through anticipatory grief provides them with a greater sense of closure in the end, as they are given the time to come to terms with their loved one’s death before it happens.

Avalon Memory Care offers a unique and home-like environment for our residents with Alzheimer’s and dementia, while also ensuring that they are well cared for 24 hours a day. We don’t just work to provide for your loved ones’ physical needs, but for their social, emotional, and mental health needs as well. To learn more about our locations in Dallas, Houston, and Arlington, call us at (214) 752-7050.

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“Since my mother has lived at Avalon, I have had peace of mind for the first time since Alzheimer’s began to exact its terrible price from my mother’s life. Thank you for your part in making our lives better.”
Daughter | Ft. Worth, TX
“I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate the care and love afforded to my mom over the last two weeks. Your success in finding such quality people has my gratitude and respect.”
Daughter | Dallas, TX
“We are very pleased with all of the efforts that your caring staff has made to smooth this traumatic transition.”
Son | Plano, TX
“I know my husband had the very best care in his final days. I regret that I did not know about Avalon sooner.”
Wife | Dallas, TX
“Mom spent the final 8 months of her life in Avalon Memory Care in Allen. The staff was great. There was rarely a day that my brother or I did not come by and they were always friendly to us and did their best to make mom comfortable and happy. We really appreciated them for everything they did.”
Daughter | Allen, TX
“Making the decision to place my mother in residential memory care was the hardest thing I think I have ever done. But living at Avalon has been the best thing for her at this stage of her life.”
Daughter | Allen, TX
“My grandmother has lived at Avalon Memory Care for 6 months now. I cannot speak highly enough about the warmth, dedication, and caring compassion of the staff. They always make us feel welcome and go out of their way to work with us to accommodate grandma’s needs.”
Grandson | Arlington, TX
“My grandmother spent her final days at Avalon and we couldn’t have asked for a better place to care for her. The caregivers are attentive and kind, and many of them have been with Avalon for years. If you are looking for a place to love on you and your family in a season that is inevitably difficult, Avalon is a wonderful choice.”
Granddaughter | Arlington, TX
“We are delighted with the facility of Avalon Memory Care. We just placed Grandma in an apartment with them and couldn’t be happier. It is clean and well-lit, and everyone greets us, down to the folks who clean up.”
Granddaughter | Arlington, TX

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