Two focus group interviews with 15 relatives, investigated family caregivers' perceptions of having a relative in a dementia care unit. Data analysis revealed the significant theme of living with loss. The results demonstrate that the burden of care giving creates growing stress and tension that continues even when the family member is placed into a residential care setting. The findings suggest that health professionals must be prepared to assist family members with the anticipatory grieving of losses that accrue with the changing relationship with the relative and health care staff. Furthermore, there is a need to look for a means of helping and supporting family caregivers so that they can develop a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment in their care giving role.