ERIC Number: ED305572
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1988-Nov
Problems with Current Models of Grieving and Consequences for Older Persons.
Horacek, Bruce J.
Classical models of the grieving process include Freud's concept of withdrawal of ties to the love object called decathexis, and Lindemann's emancipation from the bondage to the deceased involving adjusting to the loss in one's environment and the ability to form new relationships. Most of the models and explanations of the grieving process over the past 20 years are derived from the work of Freud and Lindemann. Recent research has challenged previous work, finding that grief from major losses may never completely end, but that the bereaved learn to live with an "empty space" in their lives. These new conclusions affect the grieving process of older persons. Grief reactions such as confusion, depression, and preoccupation with thoughts of the deceased might be mistaken for other conditions that affect the elderly such as dementias or other forms of depression and deterioration. The elderly are more prone to bereavement overload or multiple losses which could push an older person over the line of unbearability. These social expectations can aggravate older persons' grief: (1) elderly people should show a "stiff upper lip" about their losses since they should expect losses; (2) society seems uncomfortable with strong outward displays of mourning; and (3) the mourning process is becoming "deritualized" with rituals becoming briefer, simpler, and more private--a trend that could reduce the solace and support that the elderly receive from such rituals. (ABL)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - General; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Gerontological Society (41st, San Francisco, CA, November 18-22, 1988).