89. Bereavement

  1. Mohammed T. Abou-Saleh2,
  2. Cornelius Katona3 and
  3. Anand Kumar4
  1. Robert J. Kastenbaum

Published Online: 13 DEC 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470669600.ch89

Principles and Practice of Geriatric Psychiatry, Third Edition

Principles and Practice of Geriatric Psychiatry, Third Edition

How to Cite

Kastenbaum, R. J. (2010) Bereavement, in Principles and Practice of Geriatric Psychiatry, Third Edition (eds M. T. Abou-Saleh, C. Katona and A. Kumar), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9780470669600.ch89

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Division of Mental Health, St George's, University of London, Cranmer Terrace, London SW17 0RE, UK

  2. 3

    Department of Mental Health Sciences, University College London, Charles Bell House, 7-73 Riding House Street, London WIW 7EJ, UK

  3. 4

    Department of Psychiatry, University of Illinois-Chicago, 912 South Wood Street, Chicago, IL 60637, USA

Author Information

  1. Arizona State University at Tempe, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 13 DEC 2010
  2. Published Print: 17 DEC 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470747230

Online ISBN: 9780470669600



  • Anticipatory grief;
  • Bereavement;
  • Bereavement Overload;
  • Caregivers;
  • Causes of death;
  • Disenfranchised grief;
  • Grief counseling;
  • Hospice;
  • Lifecourse coherence;
  • Phases of grief


There is remarkable heterogeneity in the response to bereavement in the later adult years. Resilient coping often prevails over prolonged distress and dysfunction. To understand the bereaved elder's state of mind it is useful to consider (1) the pre-bereavement situation. e.g., relationship status and the survivor's own health; (2) Experiences at the time of death; (3) early phases of bereavement that can forecast subsequent problems and the impact of status change (e.g., from wife to widow); (4) later phases in which hidden grief can intensify behavioral and somatic problems. Bereavement, with its burden of grief and self-doubt, is experienced across a broad range of situations, from the death of a treasured animal companion, to the exhaustion of a family caregiver for a person with Alzheimer disease. Grief counseling has been proving effective for elderly adults, especially as emerging generations tend to be more receptive to mental health options. Mental health professionals are challenged to recognize the increasing ethnic diversity within the ranks of elderly adults and to identify those points at which they can be most helpful with the difficult transitions that often follow the loss of a loved one.