Duet: Partners In Health & Aging presents Guilt, Grief and Guideposts: A Conversation with Dr. Pauline Boss and Kathy Ritchie, Wednesday, October 27, from 9 – 11:30 a.m. The event is virtual, taking place via Zoom. It is free for family caregivers and $15 for professionals.
Back by popular demand, family therapist, pioneer theorist of ambiguous loss and author of Loving Someone Who Has Dementia: How to Find Hope While Coping with Stress and Grief, Dr. Pauline Boss will speak personally and professionally about caregiving during the pandemic. She will discuss guilt, grief, and the added ambiguity from COVID-19 that caused loved ones to die alone and mourners to grieve alone.
Sensations of guilt and grief are inevitable for caregivers in the extraordinary situation of focusing their lives on tending to a loved one who requires round-the-clock attention. Guilt partially is due to conflicting emotions. Caregivers yearn for relief from the circumstance, while feeling tremendous love for and attachment to their loved one. The ambiguous grief of losing a loved one as he/she was, as in the case of dementia, accompanies caregivers throughout their journey. The relationship is changed forever. Building resilience for this new and unpredictable dynamic is the only route.
Dr. Boss will explain why feelings of guilt are likely to be part of a caregiver’s normal grief process, offering guideposts for resilience and moving forward despite ambiguous loss. She also will share ideas from her latest book, The Myth of Closure: Ambiguous Loss in a Time of Pandemic and Change (to be released in December 2021 by W. W. Norton).
Journalist Kathy Ritchie has reported extensively on multiple aspects of caregiving. Currently, she is an editor for Next Avenue, a digital publication focusing on the 50 plus demo. Part of the PBS system, Next Avenue allows Ms. Ritchie to continue reporting in the vein of NPR, where she worked as a broadcast reporter for many years. She’ll share her personal experience caring for her late mother, while Dr. Boss will refer to caring for her late husband.
“In a survey taken after our last virtual caregiver event, 91 percent of caregivers who attended said they felt better able to care for their loved ones—and themselves—after attending the event,” says Ann Wheat, executive director of Duet. “I believe that statistic alone speaks volumes as to why this event is so important for caregivers to attend.”
Whether you are a family caregiver or a professional, this will be a memorable learning experience. AARP Arizona State Director Dana Kennedy will moderate the discussion. Participants will have an opportunity to submit questions during the presentation to be answered by Dr. Boss and Ms. Ritchie.
To register for the event, visit duetaz.org/symposium.