My mother was diagnosed with dementia a few years ago. After caring for her for a few years, for her own safety I moved her into a wonderful assisted living home. Now, her condition has worsens to the point that she needs more supervision and care. Her doctors never told HER that she has dementia, they just talk to me. I vacillate between feeling like she has the right to know her own health diagnosis to protecting her from hearing words that may just confuse and concern her more. I would be interested to know how others handle this. My mother still has times that she seems almost normal and I do sense that she feels like I am taking all of her independence away as well as her right to make her own choices. Thanks for sharing, I could use some wisdom.

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I tried telling my husband the truth and let him read the letter with the diagnosis. I figured we would fight it together.
He is in TOTAL denial. Says he and his new "wife" (one of his many delusions) have a lawsuit against the doctor for erroneous diagnosis.
The D word is no longer used

My mom has hallucinations. And probably undiagnosed dementia…I don’t counterdict her hallucinations, it serves no purpose other than to upset her. I don’t believe she would understand dementia… I redirect….
yesterday my mom was having trouble with remembering the past. Has always had a sharp memory… she blamed the medication… I left it lie… why trouble her…

Why does your mother need to hear the word "dementia"? Dishonesty is often a NECESSITY where dementia is concerned, as many of us know who have been down this road for years with elderly parents. Most of them won't believe us anyway, so why go there? If a person is 60 and in full capacity of her mind, then perhaps an "honest" talk is required. For those of us with 90 year old or older mother's who have no coping skills or mental capacity to begin with, telling them they have dementia is cruel. I always told my mother she had memory issues AND mobility issues that caused her to move from regular AL into their Memory Care building after she became wheelchair bound. One time her doctor spoke to her about "dementia " and she had a meltdown. She always insisted the other residents were "stupid" and had issues, but she was fine. She was entitled to her delusions.

Same thing with those who insist you be totally "honest" with your demented mother when she keeps asking where the dead relatives are. If you tell her they're dead, she gets to relive that trauma each time you "break the news" which could be daily! Speaking of cruelty! We use what's called therapeutic fibs to deal with dementia patients because the whole goal is to keep them happy and anxiety free as much as humanly possible. The vast majority of material you read on the subject will back this up.

How you handle this situation is up to you, of course. If you feel like your mother can handle hearing she has a dementia diagnosis and it will serve some useful purpose to tell her so, then do it. Otherwise, tell her she's aging and having some Memory problems as a result and needs more care. Give her as many choices as possible so she doesn't feel like you're taking away her liberties unnecessarily.

Best of luck!

I would say depends on how far along her dementia is and how you think she would handle that news. My mother never knew she had dementia, and she never knew she lived in a memory care facility. She moved there after a stay in a skilled nursing facility, and frankly, she was far more comfortable around dementia patients than she was around stroke patients. She stayed in her room all the time at the skilled nursing facility, but in the memory care they got her up and dressed every day, brought her out to the common room, and treated her like she was perfectly fine . That did wonders for her mental health I think.

Bottom line, I think you have to decide what the value is in telling her. Will it make her feel better? Will she take the news relatively well? Will it improve her life in anyway?

If none of those are a yes, I’m not sure telling her is necessary. There are ways to convey that she needs more help or would be more comfortable in a different living situation without having to tell her news that I think would be upsetting beyond belief.

I told my LO the truth despite the fact their doctors wanted me to keep it a secret. I let them know all the facts regarding the disease, likely outcome in the future, and most likely what will become of them. I was transparent yet understanding. I also informed them due to their poor financial planning their twilight years will be bleak and I apologized for that. Told them I would not take them in and when things even got slightly unsafe they were being placed end of story.

I dealt with it by being honest to them and to myself.

The doctor is being negligent. Are you the POA? Because you need to tell Doc that. Time to arrange an appointment where the Doc simply and gently informs with the POA present in the room.
My brother was diagnosed, after a car accident, with early probable Lewy's Dementia. He was told with me present. We went to his lawyer, got POA set in stone, I took over his bills, we went to his banks together, I set up files, he sold, with expert and compassionate realtor his last little home, he went into assisted living. Throughout the next two years we discussed EVERYTHING. He got nothing but better with the burdens of daily living off him. A private person, it wasn't easy to adjust to assisted living, but he did and said "You know,hon, it's a bit like when I was in the Army. I didn't LIKE it but I DID make the best of it". We discussed his hallucinations. I lived at one end of the state and he at the other, but I visited. At first he thought he couldn't write, but later he still could. He regained balance with PT help. Until he died surprisingly of sepsis, he held his own. Much of this was due to scrupulous honesty and gentle acceptance that this was never a place we wanted "to go" but that there was no choice.
Discuss this with your Mom. Let her SAY her fears, her wishes (my bro wished he had died before he had to face the fear of this). Discuss everything with her. This is a part of your and her journey.
My very best to you. As a nurse, as a human, I have never done dishonesty and I have never seen it work. White lies are just that, lies, and they cause terror, terror that often the person cannot even speak about because they feel they are being (and they are right on this) gaslighted.
Good luck.

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