He had a TIA again. Woke up with no memory his family has passed (wife, sons and his own siblings and mother). He thinks his wife and kids should be living with him. This is so difficult. Alz Assoc says tell therapeutic lie but then he just asks more questions or argues. It's hard to tell what year his memory is in so the lie will work. Then he gets on the phone and calls relatives and they don't know to tell the lie.

Instead of elaborate fibs, what would he do if you told him the truth about the next relative he asks about? I do resort to little fibs about small things like what I did yesterday (said I mowed the lawn instead of telling her I was at the doctor, etc). But I am truthful, but kind and loving when she asks about a dead relative. Example, when she asks about her brother, who passed many years ago, I tell he he’s not with us any more, but his picture is hanging on her wall over her bed so he can watch over her. She said “Like Santa?” Yes just like Santa, and we both have a little laugh, and we agree we miss him. I also have some of his letters he wrote home when he was in WW2 so I read a few to her. He was quite a comic so they’re pretty funny.
When she asks about her Mom or Dad, again a gentle response. “Well, grandpa was born in 1896, and now it’s 2018, so how old would that have made him? We do the math, and she figures out he’s passed away. We agree we miss him and sing one of his funny songs.
She doesn’t get upset or cry, and seems to accept the situation, and then moves on to the next conversation.

I know everybody’s different, but I was just wondering if you try a kind version of the truth next time he asks, and see how he take it? It would be so much easier than elaborate fibs.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to rocketjcat

My late mother was the habitual therapeutic fibber. I thoughtfully told her that she had to speak the truth when it came to speaking to her doctor instead of this discourse~~Her doctor>"What's wrong N?" Her> "Oh, nothing."
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Reply to Llamalover47

Always use believable fibs that are as close to the truth as you can get - that way you don't have so much to remember yourself - you have to bring rest of family [assuming cousins etc] on board by priming them with excuses like 'oh Jim I'm sorry but I don't know where Jane is, as I have been out of town for 2 weeks on vacation why don't you ask Mary[you] where there are - I'll have to drop by with pictures I took soon' - being primed will help them stay 'with the programme'

Why has he still have a phone? - if he can't remember his mother & rest of family is dead then he should only be using a phone supervised - also ends problem of him phoning those not in the loop

For my mom, I had staff go & unplug mom's after she called her lawyer 9 times on a holiday weekend & still couldn't leave a coherant message so her lawyer asked me to take it away [& sent a $250.00 bill for their time] - when I went in I told her there was trouble with it & it needed repair - she only asked about it once then forgot
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Reply to moecam

Then best technique I've seen being used (this was in a dementia village with highly trained, experienced support workers) involved questioning the person to help them find their way to an answer they could accept - sorry, it's hard to describe and I'm making a bit of a hash of it.

So, for example, rather than you saying "oh, I think they're away on a cruise" or whatever; when he asks where his wife is, you say "gosh, I'm not sure - where would she normally be at this time of day?" Then you take his answer to that question and keep following it, step by step, until he seems to feel more oriented and/or you've been able to divert him to something else, like what he wants for breakfast.

The phone calls must be confusing for him (he'll get a whole range of answers, won't he?) and depressing/upsetting for the relatives, unless you've managed to train them; so I should try to distract him from doing that, if you can.
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Reply to Countrymouse

If this makes sense, maybe it’s that, on some level, he knows what the true answer is but he’s hoping the TF you’re telling him is true. He’s not arguing with you, he’s arguing with reality. If he can remember telephone numbers, his memory must be working some way.

I’d suggest sending a “cheat sheet” to the relatives he calls with what to say to Dad and when. That might make it easier on everyone.
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Reply to Ahmijoy

The purpose of the fib is to ease his mind, right? Well, it isn't working, so tell him the truth. Help him through it with a "walk down memory lane"; these occasional trips are good therapy for him anyway. With his spotty/failing memory this is way easier than the stress you're currently dealing with.
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Reply to QbacknFL

Janny, what kind of answer are you giving him? It doesn't have to be the same every time or a long term solution, just a little fib to get you to the next hour or day. Perhaps try asking him where he thinks everyone is, that might give you a little more insight into what answer could satisfy him. And do speak to his doctor about this, sometimes those with dementia can develop obsessions and ruminate endlessly, there are medications that may help with that.
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Reply to cwillie

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