Reactions of the institutionalized elderly upon learning of the death of a peer.

Death studies

PubMedID: 10121986

Lavigne-Pley C, Lévesque L. Reactions of the institutionalized elderly upon learning of the death of a peer. Death Stud. 1992;16(5):451-61.
An exploratory study of 25 institutionalized elderly people who witnessed the death of a co-resident is reported. Two topics are examined: thoughts and feelings of the survivors about their own death and the climate surrounding the death of a peer. Data obtained through a semistructured interview reveal that learning of a peer's death leads more than one third of the elderly residents to consider their own death. Witnessing a peer's death seems to have little positive or negative influence. On one hand, 84% of them state that they want to be informed of the impending death of a well-known peer; on the other hand, 80% reported that the staff does not say when a peer is dying. Half of the respondents perceive the staff as indifferent to the death of an elderly person.