Dementia, Death & Grief

This is episode of 3 of the Dear Christopher, series where we look at queries and questions being asked to us and across Facebook over the last week.

This is a tricky subject to broach, but we’re going to try and address it as best we can.

Let’s start with the dementia. Now dementia doesn’t or very rarely causes death itself. Theoretically it could damage the part of the brain that controls breathing but this is rare.

Usually it’s symptoms cause a weakening of the immune system and then another symptom or disease which may cause a loved one to pass away. It’s usually a complication rather than the dementia itself.

Pneumonia is very common - an infection or inflammation of the air sacs in the lungs.

Falls can commonly cause death (top tips to reduce falls)

Bedsores - caused by sitting or lying in the same place for too long can work their way to the bone and other common causes include strokes and heart attack.


So how to deal with grief after a loss.

The first thing is to know that it’s ok to feel grief and any one of a range of emotions after a loss. It is ok.


Denial is a stage of grief. It’s ok to be in denial. Denial actually help us to survive the loss in the early stages following a passing away of a loved one.

It’s nature’s way of only letting us cope with what we can handle at that time.


Anger is another form of grief. It’s ok to feel angry after a loss, as long as it’s not directed at another person or directed in a negative way.


Bargaining often takes the form of blame, blaming yourself or others and questioning. If only I’d done this… if only that had happened, if only I hadn’t done that. I wish that… If they could just…

Again this stage actually helps us. It takes us back to before the loss and so allows us to feel only a small amount of the pain at that time, the amount we can handle at that point in time.


Depression comes after a loss. It’s ok to feel depressed, sad and empty after a loss. It’s normal and it’s not something to be fixed. It’s not to be labelled as a mental health issue because it’s the direct result of a loss and an event.


Acceptance is not necessarily being ok with the loss. Often people will never be completely ok, but we come to accept it. To accept its permanence and begin to learn to live with the loss.

We used to think that we move through each stage one after the other, down the line until we get to acceptance and then we’re ok.

That’s not how it works.

You can jump from stage to stage, forward and backwards multiple times. And that is also ok. That’s how grief works and it’s ok to feel each stage at multiple times in no particular order or more than one at a time.

As I say it’s a difficult subject to broach. I hope I’ve done it some justice. If you need someone to speak to or somebody listen give us a call on 02088860686 for a chat or if you’d like to write your feelings down you can do that at

You can also seek support at a Bereavement Center such as this one highly recommended by one of viewers of the video today.

All the best,