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Older adults are more likely to encounter the loss of a loved one than any other age group.

Grief support for older Australians is lacking

Grief is a universal response to a significant loss or death of a loved one, but for some, the chronic physical and emotional symptoms of mourning can persist for years.

A new survey of 633 bereaved older adults found that 21 per cent met the criteria for a persistent complex bereavement disorder (PCBD), yet only 14 per cent had received help from a GP.

Study lead Dr Katrin Gerber, a NARI Research Fellow and Honorary Fellow at the University of Melbourne, said many older people struggle to access support for their grief due to fear of it being inadequate.

She also said that many aged care nurses and GPs across Australia had never heard of PCBD before.

“The need for bereavement support through COVID-19 has increased a hundred-fold, so there will be a need for more targeted and tailored interventions," she said.

Gerber joined Aged Care Insite to speak about complicated grief and why older people aren't being offered enough quality resources to cope.

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  1. Del Marie McAlister

    Each edition of the inspire magazine, a PDF publication that goes to many residential aged care homes in Australia includes a section on helping the residents with grief and loss.

  2. Matthew Henderson

    There’s a lot of profoundly helpful information in this podcast — it gives much insight into how grief manifests itself in people (both old and young), thank you.

  3. Dr Katrin Gerber

    Thanks for the engaging discussion. More information about our research on grief in older people can be found here: https://www.nari.net.au/grief-in-older-people

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