UBC Theses and Dissertations
Bereavement : the experience and coping skills of elderly spouses of deceased extended care unit residents St-Martin, Lorraine
There is little research on the bereavement experience of elderly spouses, and the effects of long-term caregiving on bereavement. This study addresses the experience of bereavement of elderly spouses of Extended Care Unit residents; the coping skills they employ in the early months of bereavement; and the connections between coping and social supports. Interviews were held with 8 elderly male and female bereaved spouses between the ages of 70 and 85. The bereaved respondents were identified by the Social Work Department at several local Extended Care Units. All respondents were known to the social workers who contacted them to request participation in the study. Utilizing a grounded theory approach and qualitative methods, exploratory interviews were carried out in person with respondents. Recorded responses were transcribed and analysed. Content analysis was used to determine emergent themes and categories from the data. The respondents experienced anticipatory grief while their spouses were at the Extended Care Unit. They relied on their religious beliefs, previous activities and social supports during the bereavement period. The respondents desired to keep their spouses at home. Increased home services would have allowed them to do so. Bereavement follow-up and support are needed by this age group. Intervention appears to be as important before bereavement as it is afterwards.
Item Citations and Data