The Longest Loss: Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia

The Longest Loss: Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia

Program Details
When the diagnosis is Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia, grief doesn’t wait for death. Grieving can begin before a formal diagnosis or in the doctor’s office when patients and families receive confirmation of illness. Over a span of what may be a decade or more, multiple losses associated with dementia become a pervasive part of everyday life for millions of patients, families and friends. After the death, survivors’ grief may be complicated by the nature of a lengthy disease process that has changed their relationship with the deceased. Through a combination of candid, compelling interviews and unscripted in-studio discussions, experts will identify how medical and social service professionals can best improve care for patients, families and themselves while coping with loss and grief associated with these progressive illnesses.

Find a local host site

A registered site is licensed to show this program at one, single location only (as defined by a physical street address). An unlimited audience may view the program at the registered site address. Sites may have multiple viewings throughout the year at their registered location.
  • Webcast Registration: $160 
  • DVD Registration: $225 

*Webcast Registration options include access to the archived Webcast until April 21, 2016.

How Does It Work?
HFA’s 2015 Living wth Grief® program is now available to registered sites in the following formats:
  • Archived Streaming Video Webcast (online)
  • DVD

The program is 2.5 hours, with an additional 30-minute local discussion (required for CE credits).  Sites can schedule their own dates and times through 4/21/16 to show the program.

Choose a program listed under "Products" at the bottom of the page to learn more about the specific format you wish to view.

CE Credits
This program is valid for three (3) hours of CE credit. The CE cost, for any professional board, is $15 per person and CE credits are available until April 21, 2016

A "Certificate of Attendance" will be provided at no cost to attendees. Sites will be able to print this out ahead of time on the Download Area online. *Note: the Certificate of Attendance is not accepted by professional boards. HFA is approved by over 70 professional boards nationwide; available to attendees on HFA's CE site (educate@hospicefoundation.org) for the above-mentioned fees.

CE credits are copyrighted by HFA. Participants are attending an event of Hospice Foundation of America (HFA). All CE certificates must be obtained directly through HFA. Boards approve the content developed by HFA, not by the viewing organization. Sites are not allowed to print their own Certificates. CE instructions will be provided to you in the download area online.
In Partnership With
This program is sponsored by:

Foundation for End-of-Life Care - Platinum Sponsor

National Association of Social Workers - Silver Sponsor

In cooperation with:

Dignity Memorial Funeral Providers

ssociation for Death Education and Counseling 
Part I: Coping with Loss at the Onset of Disease 
  • Although memory loss is part of the normal aging process, dementia is not. Dementia is the result of disease – most commonly Alzheimer’s disease – or circumstance, such as traumatic brain injury.
  • Regardless of origin, the nature and progression of dementia can be dehumanizing for the patient and challenging for caregivers and clinicians. Professionals who care for the ill, dying, and bereaved generally possess the basic skillset to care for persons with dementia and can utilize that knowledge as a foundation to address the unique issues involved in caring for and supporting persons with dementia and their families.
  • From the onset of symptoms, through diagnosis and progression of disease, grief is nearly constant as persons with dementia and their families deal with myriad losses including memory, abilities, and relationships. Professtional caregivers should consider innovative approaches to assist persons with dementia and their families in coping with these losses.
  • The ongoing provision of care can complicate and/or facilitate grief. Providers should recognize that as families attempt to navigate the progression of dementia, they may need additional support when encountering care transitions that have the potential to exacerbate grief.
  • Families who believe they have prepared for the typical, long-term trajectory of dementia may need support if the person with dementia declines more rapidly than expected or dies suddenly from an acute event, such as a heart attack. 
Part II: Living with Grief and Dementia at Life’s End 
  • There is scant research for guidance, but informed practice indicates that touch and other sensory therapies, including tone of voice used by caregivers, can help to calm or reassure distressed or agitated late stage dementia patients who may be suffering emotional or physical pain. Pharmacologic treatment of pain has been shown to be effective in very late stage dementia.
  • The nature of dementia and the strain of isolation of caregiving can lead to ambiguous loss, disenfranchised grief, and complicated grief. Some individuals may need additional help and support adjusting to repeated losses.
  • End-of-life decision making can be impacted by the nature of grief and dementia, especially if the person with dementia can no longer be a part of the process. Family members burdened with multiple loss experiences of the illness, as well as caregiving exhaustion, may disagree with each other, influencing end-of-life decisions and reactions. Health, social service and clergy professionals can offer critical support in guiding families through these challenging situations.
  • Clinicians and other professional caregivers often form attachments to persons with dementia and may also grieve losses associated with their patients. Employers should develop a range of supports to offer staff, and professionals should be aware of and practice healthy self-care strategies.
  • Because of their end-of-life care expertise, hospice and palliative care providers can provide services to community members coping with dementia prior to a death as well as afterward. Early provision of support services can serve as a bridge and provide a way to introduce hospice and palliative care to families. Online dementia specific support communities can also be a useful resource. 
At the conclusion of this webinar, participants will be able to: 
1. Describe the characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, including unique challenges that these diseases present to patients and families; 
2. Discuss the grief of persons with dementia, including nonfinite loss and anticipatory mourning, as it is experienced in early stages and during progression of disease; 
3. Recognize changes in patient and family behaviors that may be indicative of grief, and describe therapeutic techniques that can be used effectively, including reminiscence and ritual; 
4. Support families as they navigate and grieve changes in the relationship and transitions in care as the disease progresses, and understand the potential grief reactions brought about by these changes; 
5. Identify the demands and challenges on professional caregivers when caring for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias and list several strategies for employer support and self-care; 
6. Describe innovative ways of supporting family caregivers exhibiting grief reactions throughout the illness as well as after the death of the individual with dementia, noting factors that compound grief, including guilt, ambivalence, fatigue and relief. 
Listed below are the available methods to register and view this program. Click on a registration option to view in more detail the materials, registraton fees, and how to obtain CEs.