Dementia, Occult and Latent Grief

Dementia, Occult and Latent Grief

Life & Death Matters Post

Sylvia Baago and Marge Dempsey from Niagara Region, Ontario, wrote an article entitled “Occult and Latent Grief” describing the grief of caregivers caring for people with dementia.  This is one of Elizabeth’s favorite articles, and I post the link for ordering it for those who are interested. .  If you can not access the article, connect with me directly.

Latent grief: The unique and hidden grief of carers of loved ones with dementia

Marge Dempsey, RegN, BA, Alzheimer Society of the Niagara Region, St Catharine’s, Ontario, Canada

Sylvia Baago, MA, Alzheimer Society of the Niagara Region, St Catharine’s, Ontario, Canada


This paper provides a preliminary model of latent grief, the very unique and hidden grief experience of family caregivers of individuals with dementia. This model is based on a critical review of both grief and dementia care literature, as well as our own clinical experience in working with these families. The model describes three dimensions of loss and a number of dynamics that contribute to the latency of the grief process. We see latent grief as a major factor in caregiver stress and burnout, and believe that an understanding of this process will help to validate the ongoing grief that is part of the caregivers’ experience. This will allow caregivers to recognize that their emotional turmoil, which they perceive to be a result of the burden of care, is also in large part due to the losses they endure on a daily basis.

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Courtney Murrell is a PSW who works in hospice palliative care.

When she is not at work, she is spending time with her family, going on hikes or writing. Courtney is a lifelong learner and loves to share her passion for writing as a wellness practice.

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