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My father is coming in and out of dementia; he knows my name, but sometimes that's all. he stares out the window or at a spot on the wall. He cant hear; cant walk, Sometimes he gets better and at least we talk a little, not really about anything cause its like he denies death. but I got a call yesterday from my younger brother in Ohio (we are in Florida) saying that my older brother (who I haven't seen in maybe 20 years) is in the hospital again, this time in a coma. My older brother was always "the hero"; the king for the day, then drank himself further and further into trouble. He lies as easily as telling the truth and he hasn't called in years. I am struggling as to whether to even tell dad. I don't know if he'd want to get on a plane and go see him (I cant take that time now, and I am quite detached from my brother once I saw he would never decide to stand in his truth). Advice?

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Gosh daughterlinda, I'm sorry for all that you are going through, you have a lot on your plate. I guess it depends on your dad's dementia, does he remember your older brother and does he bring his name up from time to time? In your opinion if your younger brother had not told you that your older brother was dying do you think there would have ever been any communication between your oldest brother and your dad? If not, then I would not tell your dad, there would be no reason to bring up sadness for him. If your dad talks about his eldest son and you think he might want to have a conversation with him down the road then perhaps you should tell him. Does your younger brother think your dad should be told?
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daughterlinda, as someon whose mom and dad both suffer from dementia (mom is in a NH) it has been my experience NOT to tell either of them about someone who is seriously ill or has passed away. It just brings them pain and sadness at the moment of telling...your dad will most likely forget this but it may bring on vivid dreams that won't necessarily be good. This just happened to us this past Monday--one of my mom's 2 surviving sisters passed away and I stupidly told dad. It made him profoundly sad & for the past 3 days when he wakes up with dreams of this aunt (Estelle) and ask "Where is Estelle? Why haven't we seen her?"

Based on this experience my family has decided it would do no good to tell mom about this. She cannot comprehend most things, cannot keep anything coherent thoughts in her head--but is happy and content in the NH, where we visit her frequently and bring her treats.

Think this over before you tell your dad. Does he really need to have this pain in his life? Especially since he hasn't seen him for years, and his memories are not all that good, either? God bless & be strong!
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This is one of those situations where I think it's more merciful to not share the information from your dad. As sunflo2 said, what is there to gain. You will be adding additional misery to your already very ill father. One of the worst traumas a parent can experience is a child dying before the parent. Your father may obsess over the news and his relationship with his son. I think it's kinder to spare him. I'm sorry you and your family have to deal with this.
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I agree with those who say to spare your dad. He can't change anything and your brother hasn't been in recent touch with you or your dad, so the fact that he's near death won't affect your father. But obviously do whatever your heart tells you to do. I am sorry you have to go through this.
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linda-- I think you should tell your dad. :(
Even if your dad doesn't speak fondly about him, he still speaks about him. That is his son and he has a right to know. I think you have to tell him not only for your dad and your dying brother, but for you. You would have to carry all that guilt-- if after your brother died your dad asked about him and you knowing in your heart that your brother isn't alive anymore. You could just break it to him gently and tell your dad that all the years of hard living have caught up with your brother and he is in the hospital for the final time, in a coma. Just stay with your dad for awhile after you tell him and see how he handles it emotionally. At some point he may need time alone.
I'm sorry Linda :(
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We had this situation when father was in the hospital and not in his right mind due to UTI. This year, his sister died in January. His wife (mom) died in March. And then while he was in the hospital in June, his brother died. We were torn about telling father because when mom died, all he wanted was to die and join her.

I think you can just tell him the truth that your brother is seriously ill and is at the hospital. That it doesn't look good. And just leave it at that.

If he asks for more information, like how seriously ill? Why he's in the hospital? etc...then you can answer him truthfully as he asks each question. This way, HE decides how much info he needs from you.
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Kthin3---Thank you for knowing. once my brother was my hero and I worshipped him--wanted to be like him. Rode on the back of his motorcycle 3 sheets to the wind and no helmet. At some point (I guess the judge helped) I realized how hurtful my actions were both to myself and others. They taught me when I got help so many years ago that never forget I am only 1 step away from being there again, if I let myself. So I have surrounded myself with my own guidelines, and hanging around with drunks, giving them money or sympathy or even help is not somewhere I can go, for my own sake. Except, of course, my father. His drinking is a part of him and I have forgiven him and accepted it as his problem to tolerate. I just put him to bed and let him sleep it off and know "there for the grace of god". My brother has a daughter; she's a nurse and she cares for him. But he's in Phoenix and I'm in Florida, so geographically, I am in an island protected. I'm almost grateful for that. Makes it simplier. If there is such a thing at this point in my life!
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my younger brother says its whatever I decide. "there should be place for you in heaven, cause I cant do what you are doing" (caring for dad). You decide and I got your back. He talks about him sometimes, but its always "I wonder if he is in jail...he never calls anymore...he's probably in jail somewhere"..
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If dad has a relationship with dying brother and they have been in recent contact within the last yr or two, then you can tell him he is in hospital, you don't have to say he's dying unless your dad asks that particular question. Likely if he has dementia, he will ask a couple questions then move onto something else.

If you think telling him his son is dying will be upsetting and traumatic, then what is there to gain, skip it.

You can tell him he passed away later after the event especially if the dementia is pretty progressed.
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I believe in honesty except when it causes problems. I would tell your dad once and if the news about your brother upsets him, never mention it again. As for airplane travel, I would not go so far to say NEVER. My sister and I took Mother (in her third - as I remember - year of the disease - on a plane from Chicago to Miami for my cousin's son's Bar Mitzvah and she was fine. But as it is said: when you've seen one case of Alzheimer's, you've seen one case of Alzheimer's. Everyone is different.
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