My mom has dementia and is living with me for the last 6 months and is starting to ask me more and more where my dad is.

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He passed away 5 years ago. I try to change the subject because I do not want her to go thru that pain again and again. They were married 60 years but she asks more and more frequently and I do not know how long I can continue to change the subject. She has been living with me for 6 months and also is starting to ask alot about whose house she is living in, and does she sleep here and did she sleep here last last night and so on. I can deal with that, but i am really afraid she will persist one day on why dad isn't here. She made the comment today that she saw him and he acted like he didn't even know her and why is he doing that. I am really worried about this and just don't know how to deal with it if it comes up again, cuz I know it will. She dreams about him and calls for him sometimes in the middle of the night. I think her dementia is definately progressing and I don't know what the future holds. She never knows what day it is let alone the year. She thinks its 2001 or around there. I just want her comfortable and happy. She is pretty healthy other than the dementia. . Any suggestions would help. Thank you


Try to be as reassuring as supportive as you can be. Try to change the subject and give her a simple task to complete to divert her attentions. Usually reality orientation does not work with people with dementia. If you told her he has died, that would probably make her more anxious and upset. You seem to be doing the right thing and seem to be very realistic about the situation. Take care and God Bless you and your mother.
As 57Olds says, you seem to have a good handle on this. "Dad couldn't join us this morning." "He went out earlier. I'm not sure where he was going, but he seemed happy." Give her a short answer before changing the subject.

My aunt had a severe short term memory problem, to the point where she sometimes couldn't remember the beginning of her sentence when she got to the end. My mother and I visited her with her daughter (my cousin). She was delighted to see us and had no trouble knowing exactly who we were and how we were related. At one point she asked, "Didn't Fred come with you?" My mother looked shocked and my cousin quickly explained to her mother that Fred (my dad) died several years ago. This agitated my aunt considerably. It was like the first time she heard it. But she quickly forgot and moved on. Then she'd ask again. And she'd want to know why they didn't go to the funeral (they did), and why no one told her, etc. She had a bad experience over this death that took place several years ago 6 times that afternoon.

Afterwards I thought how much better it would have been if we had simply answered each question with, "He couldn't come this time."

Too much information is not always a kindness. Sticking to the literal truth is no virtue if it causes unnecessary pain, in my opinion.

Keep doing what you're going.
I'm so sorry for you and your mom. How kind of you to take care of her and be there at her side. I think the advise you have been given is the best advise you can receive. Your goal is to keep your mom safe and as emotionally pain free as possible. It doesn't serve a positive purpose to tell her that her husband is gone. She will only grieve and then forget and ask again.
The behavior you are describing is all part of the memory loss. My husband thinks my responses to my mom are so clever but reading the notes here and the Alzheimer's website has given me greater insight into how to respond. And guess what, I've never been told that I said the same thing yesterday (and the day before that, and so on!) As the director of the ALF that helps my Mom says, you have to learn to "speak dementia". My Mom identifies other residents there as her long deceased siblings and friends. So when she says one of them just left the room, I respond I'll catch them later. Ditto on my Dad, -- he's coming later, had a meeting, etc. And, the last time a professional asked what year it was, my Mom responded 1967!!! Don't worry about her persisting, each discussion is totally new to them. Keep her calm and happy. Thinking of you . . .

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