Review of Grief Therapies for Older Adults

Charisse Colvin, Mirnova Ceide

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of Review: The objective of this review is to provide background on common theories of grief, describe the impact of grief on older adults and to introduce various modalities that are currently used and/or being researched for treatment. The objective is also to condense information and identify what has been found beneficial versus what has been found lacking. A brief examination of overlap of other disorders is done. It also will suggest what further research is necessary on this subject, and highlight what research is being done during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Findings: The latest research of grief primarily involves refining the definitions of grief. More concrete definitions of grief will help for better screening tools, and thus target interventions more appropriately. There is considerable need for applying it to the unique and real-world COVID-19 pandemic. Summary: Grief disorders are relatively common and the symptoms overlap other disorders. Since the treatments differ, identifying grief disorders is important, especially in the elderly who are more susceptible to grief disorders. Therapy improves grief better than medications, but medications will help with any co-occurring disorders. No clear superior therapy has been identified but research continues. The pandemic has highlighted the need to refine the definitions of grief disorders and to treat them effectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-123
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Geriatrics Reports
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • Older adults
  • Prolonged grief
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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