Chapter 4: Supporting the person

Before and immediately after the death

The grief expert says
Cara Grosset, social worker, discusses sharing information and how multiple supportive conversations are often required.(3:22)Video transcript
The support worker says
Karen Campbell, developmental services worker, shares an experience in helping a family share about the death of the their mother.(3:22)Video transcript
Karen Campbell, developmental services worker, discusses an indidividual's right to know about a loss and how grief is expressed in different ways.(3:22)Video transcript
Karen Campbell, developmental services worker, speaks about having the opportunity to say "goodbye".(3:22)Video transcript
I've been there
Claire speaks about learning that her Grampy had died.(3:22)Video transcript

The first thing I feel is sadness – sadness around my heart. It feels natural, something I don’t want to hold back. Grief brings lots of tears, but I think that is a good thing. I think that we all feel like we’d like to cry sometimes, even if we are men.

Providing information

You may want to try to protect someone by not telling them that someone is dying or has died. You may be unsure about whether to include the person in activities such as visiting the dying person, attending a funeral/memorial service, or visiting the cemetery.

Much will depend on the person’s current understanding of death and dying. These decisions need to be based on each individual, in collaboration with the person themselves and their family/caregivers.


“If I were this person, would I want to know?”  

You might ask yourself the above question. Most people with an intellectual disability want their rights, feelings, and dignity to be respected. When they are not given information or included in other ways, they often feel excluded, ignored, hurt, or angry.