As stated in the text, grief is a natural reaction to loss and loss is an inevitable part of being human. Many older people must deal with the cumulative effect of losses created by lifelong inequities as a result of their age, race, social class, sexual orientation, gender, or ability. In addition, ageist assumptions may mean that family members and health care providers presume that loss in old age is “not a big deal,” and devalue older adults’ grief. As individuals proceed with their aging journey, they are more likely to experience multiple layers of loss – some from positive life changes and others with negative impacts that the individual has no control over. Loss and grief faced by older adults can involve the death of partners, family members and friends but the inevitable loss is approaching one’s own death and the dying process. Understanding resources and choices available can have a definitive impact on this process.
Module 9 Objectives: At the end of this module, the student will be able to:
1. Differentiate the types of losses that older adults may experience
1b. List common non-death related losses in old age
2. Enumerate how the death of loved ones affects the well-being of older adults
3. Identify different end-of-life care options
3b. Discuss palliative care, hospice, and the “right to die” legislation
Module 9 Resources / Materials :
1. Textbook reading: Chapter 9 Loss and Grief in Old Age
It is often noted that as we age, we look to a “good death.” Reflecting on your reading of Chapter 9 – what is a “good death?” Describe your aging journey including direct and secondary losses and how they impact the dying process. Is end-of-life care an appropriate personal selection and what is the impact of that choice on you and those you care for? Tie all concepts together in your narrative being helped by Chapter 9 readings, your life experience, and your research (use 2 outside resources, including the personal communication with an older adult).