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Bereavement and Complicated Grief in Older Adults 

Bereavement and Complicated Grief in Older Adults
Chapter:
Bereavement and Complicated Grief in Older Adults
Author(s):

M. Katherine Shear

, Angela Ghesquiere

, and Michael Katzke

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199796816.003.0013
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date: 25 February 2020

Bereavement is one of the most common experiences of aging. Losing a loved one at any age is widely understood as one of life’s most painful and disruptive experiences. About 75% of the 2.5 million people who die every year in the United States, occur among people 65 years of age or older. Their close friends and relatives are most affected by bereavement, many of these are also older adults. This chapter outlines a framework for understanding bereavement and grief in general and in older people specifically, describes the healing process and points to some possible pitfalls in its course. A significant minority of bereaved people experience grief complications that prolong and intensify acute grief. This chapter describes the syndrome of complicated grief and identifies treatments that have been helpful.

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