Bereavement in Older Adults

  • Mercedes Fernández Cabana
  • Alejandro García-Caballero
  • Raimundo MateosEmail author


In this chapter, bereavement is defined as the response to the loss of a loved one, and the normal and pathological manifestations of that response are explained, as well as its expected progression, making reference to the mourning model as a process, proposed by Worden. The peculiarities of bereavement in old age are addressed, as well as the risk factors for the development of a complicated grief and the differential characteristics between a normal grief response and an episode of major depression or a psychotic disorder. Intervention guidelines are offered for the management of grief in the context of primary care and criteria that indicate the convenience of referral to specialised care and/or non-governmental resources, emphasising the importance of promoting instrumental and emotional support from the family and social environment of the mourners. The chapter also includes two clinical cases that illustrate the practical intervention with elderly people in grief.


Bereavement Primary care Mourner Grief Loss Later life Old age Older adults Elderly 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mercedes Fernández Cabana
    • 1
  • Alejandro García-Caballero
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Raimundo Mateos
    • 2
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Servicio de Salud Mental, Hospital Virxe da Xunqueira. CeeA CoruñaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry, School of MedicineUniversity of Santiago de Compostela (USC)Santiago de CompostelaSpain
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryEOXI OurenseOurenseSpain
  4. 4.South Galician Health Research Institute (IISGS)OurenseSpain
  5. 5.Psychogeriatric UnitCHUS University HospitalSantiago de CompostelaSpain

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