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  1. Older Adults  


    Identify and briefly explain three types of loss involving another human being that might be experienced by an older adult in our society. Also, discuss attitudes towards death experienced by older adults that are associated with the loss they are feeling.



Subject Psychology Pages 3 Style APA


Types of Loss Experienced by Older Adults

            Older adults tend to experience great loss during their lifetime be it the loss of a partner or spouse, a relative, a close friend or colleague or serious illness of a loved one. People respond differently to loss because what is most significant varies from one person to the next. There are different types of loss that can be experienced by older adults. These include anticipated grief, absent grief and cumulative grief.

            Anticipatory grief occurs when the loss was expected such as death of a loved one due to prolonged illness. Since the person is aware of the impending loss before it actually comes to pass, feelings of anger and guilt are not uncommon. The person may also feel helpless and overly emotional. Anticipating the loss before it occurs seldom lessens the grief after the death. Absent grief occurs when the aggrieved person refuses to acknowledge the loss and suppresses any feelings of grief (Robbins-Welty, Stahl & Reynolds, 2018). This is often due to the shock caused by the loss. Cumulative grief occurs when a person suffers multiple losses almost subsequently such as the loss of more than one child within a certain period of time.

            Unlike younger people, older adults tend to be more subtle in their bereavement because they are aware that other people rely on them for emotional support. As a result, they are more likely to suppress their grief leading to adverse psychological and mental conditions such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), clinical depression and panic attacks (Mroz, Bluck, Sharma & Liao, 2020). This is especially true for older adults who have lost their children as they may feel guilty for staying alive. They may also blame themselves for not being able to prevent the death despite it being out of their control.



Mroz, E. L., Bluck, S., Sharma, S., & Liao, H. W. (2020). Loss in the life story: Remembering      death and illness across adulthood. Psychological Reports123(1), 97-123.

Robbins-Welty, G. A., Stahl, S. T., & Reynolds, C. F. (2018). Grief Reactions in the Elderly.       In Clinical Handbook of Bereavement and Grief Reactions (pp. 103-137). Humana Press,        Cham.



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