Grief in caregivers of persons with Alzheimer's disease and related dementia: a qualitative synthesis

Dementia (London). 2015 Mar;14(2):164-83. doi: 10.1177/1471301213494511. Epub 2013 Jul 11.


This article provides a meta-synthesis of studies focusing on grief in caregivers of people with Alzheimer's disease or related dementia. Through a systematic search, 11 articles met the inclusion criteria that care receivers had a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease or related dementia, caregivers were informal caregivers, and the study focused on caregiver grief. The meta-synthesis followed a meta-ethnography approach based on reciprocal translation. Six themes were identified, namely challenges of caregiving, losses and changes in the relationship, the role of dementia in grief, striving despite dementia, utilising social support and death as a relief from caregiving. Themes are discussed within an integrated framework showing the connected relationships between themes. The devised framework of themes illustrates the general experience of caregiver grief and can be used to devise specific, targeted interventions to help caregivers to identify and work through their grief.

Keywords: caregiving; dementia; grief; qualitative.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / nursing*
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Dementia / nursing*
  • Dementia / psychology
  • Grief*
  • Humans
  • Qualitative Research
  • Social Support