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He went to bed his usual self (remembering that his family had passed on) and woke up wanting to know where his wife was. So now this new "stage" we are in is very difficult. He is in another time and I cannot pin it down to answer his questions about his mama, his wife (my mom), his sons (my brothers) and his brothers and sisters and WHERE THEY ALL ARE !! He thinks that his family is alive and should be living with him and also he has just spoken to them (yesterday, a few hours ago, a few days ago; just saw him a few hours ago, etc.)


I have many people interacting with him on a daily basis. I have told them we need to try to NOT tell dad they are all dead over and over and over but the "therapeutic fib" didn't seem to work because he expects them all to be at his home. (ie I told him my little brother lived in Stockton and he said "No he doesn't, he lives here." So then one time my daughter (who lives with him ) told him my brother had just left, dad said "what car did he take?" She said she didn't know that she didn't see him leave; so that one worked but then 2 minutes later he's asking again. Then because he HAS been told that they are all deceased he'll ask "Where's mama?" And don't tell me she died because I just saw her."


I need to come up with a "story" for each person he asks about but when I do he disagrees because the "time frame" is wrong. He doesn't recognize my daughter, her husband and the 3 kids. He does recognize names but not the people. He is calling family all over the Western US asking where his family is. He thinks he doesn't live in his home but accepts that it is his home but then thinks he needs to "leave and go home". So I have looked at a board and care that is close to me (I live 70 miles from dad) and am thinking of trying to get him to live there but he does seem to "feel" comfortable in his home still. I don't want to put him in a home and have him go downhill even more but this is almost unbearable the constant questions about everyone who has passed. I really don't think he recognizes me completely at times.

Jenny, has your father been taken to see a doctor since this sudden change in his thinking?

The point about a TIA is that it's transient, temporary, all its symptoms go away. These symptoms haven't gone away, three weeks later. Therefore whatever happened, it wasn't a TIA.

It's your daughter who's his primary caregiver, is that right? Does anyone have POA or anything like that, remind me?
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Reply to Countrymouse
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Does your dad have a diagnosis for dementia? What was he like before the probable tia?

I endorse your attempt at therapeutic fibs. It is not healthy, as you understand, to insist people are dead when he can't get his mind around that. As you've discovered, an answer might only satisfy him a few minutes before he asks again. Then you have to answer him again, with the same fib. It is a hard, tedious process.

I had an aunt with the shortest memory retention I could imagine. She would sometimes forget what she was talking about mid-sentence. My mother and I visited her (from out of state) with her daughter present. She recognized us just fine. And she knew what other family members we were associated with. She asked where my father was. My mother was shocked at the question, since he died several years previously. Her daughter said, "Mother, Roy died a few years ago." This upset my aunt greatly. "Oh no! Why didn't we go to the funeral? Why didn't anyone tell me?" and my cousin would explain that they did go to the funeral and describe some of the details of who went with them, etc. She'd calm down and a minute later she'd ask, "Where is Roy this time?" Lather rinse repeat. It was a terrible experience for all of us. How much better for all of us if we had simply said, "He couldn't come this time." Perfectly true.

"Where's Mama? I just saw her!" "Oh, did she tell you where she was going? I didn't happen to see her leave." "I didn't see her leave, but isn't this when she usually tends the church garden?" (or something plausible)

Say you don't know, but offer a plausible fib. Repeat as necessary.

Let everyone he talks to in on the plan.
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Reply to jeannegibbs
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How extremely difficult for you. One thing I would do is ‘lose’ the phone. I suppose the people he is calling will work out what is wrong, but it could still cause even more problems for you. You can hope that this stage passes quickly. I know that you don’t want him ‘to go downhill even more’, but that may be the best for him as well as you, if his feeling of loss is painful for him. Remembering all the deaths in the family must be distressing for you, as well as coping with the questions.
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
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