The Two-Track Model of Dementia Grief (TTM-DG): The theoretical and clinical significance of the continuing bond in sickness and in death

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Abstract

Grief and mourning for family members caring for a dementia patient begin with the initial changes in the person's cognitive abilities, and intensify with the worsening of his or her condition. The aim of this article is to propose a Two-Track Model of Dementia Grief (TTM-DG). This model enlarges the theoretical, research and clinical lenses for dementia, and explores how the illness process as well as the bereavement responses after death stimulate the reworking of grief and mourning over the beloved family member. Based on the insights derived from the Two-Track Model of Loss and Bereavement and the Continuing Bonds paradigm, we propose that the clinical and research examination of dementia grief begin in life and continue after the death. The TTM–DG’s Track I focuses on bio-psycho-social functioning and Track II focuses on the internalized psychological representation of the patient, the ongoing relational bond and the illness and death story. A case study illustrates how this combined perspective provides a comprehensive picture of the experience of grief for persons afflicted with dementia over the course of the disease trajectory. Future clinical and empirical research has an important role to play in the further development of this model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)755-771
Number of pages17
JournalDeath Studies
Volume45
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - 26 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Robert A. Neimeyer for his valuable and thoughtful comments.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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