Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Denise Malis


Grief is an inevitable part of the human experience as everyone encounters loss across the lifespan. However, some forms of grief go unrecognized or unvalidated leading to the disenfranchisement of the griever’s experience. Existing literature captures numerous experiences and approaches to addressing the grief of families and caretakers living with an individual diagnosed with dementia. However, little literature details the grief experiences of individuals diagnosed with dementia. Grief can go unrecognized amongst those living with dementia as they are often thought to be incapable of grief as a result of their memory loss and shift in cognition. This thesis explored the use of collage interventions to address disenfranchised grief amongst older adults living with dementia. A literature review validated the efficacy of utilizing art therapy in working with dementia and in working with grief and loss. A method was developed to carry out three individual art therapy collage interventions with 5 older adults living with dementia in a memory care community within an assisted living facility in the Greater Boston area. Results demonstrated an increase in positive mood amongst residents, increased self-esteem in the creative process, and appreciation for the space to process loss and mourn.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.




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