What to do with my grandfather who has dementia and doesn't believe his wife has died?

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I tried finding the answer on here but no answer fit quite right. My grandfather has dementia and his wife of 67 years passed away 5 months ago. The first couple of months he knew she was gone, accepted it and talked about good memories and how he misses her. However, now he doesn't believe she is gone. He thinks that because we moved her bed from the dining room that she saw that and left him to go into a nursing home for better care. He has now been sending letters to all the nursing homes in NH and Maine addressed to his wife asking her to come home. He still has his drivers license and we are worried that he will begin going to the nursing homes when my grandmother doesn't respond to his letters. We tried explaining to him that she had passed away whenever he would ask where she was, but now he just won't believe it. He even says she was just here this morning. We switched our approach to telling him lies. "She is at the store" etc. but that has only fueled the fire and he is now always worried that she hasn't made it home yet. He even had us move her bed from upstairs back into the dining room so if she came to visit again she would see it was back in place and decide to stay. I know there may be no real solution to this but we're looking for help and advice any where we can. Thank you!

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When he asks about her, try to talk about something else.
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I wonder if having Mom write him a letter from Heaven would help. She can tell him how happy she is but misses him and can't wait for him to join her. She can talk of all the dead relatives she has met and the old times they have talked about and ask him if he remember such and such an event.
Just an idea don't know if it would work or not.
When I was extremely ill in hospital i went to visit my mother in what I assumed was Heaven. She was not too pleased to see me. I also saw one of my aunts smiling happily out in the sun with other family member but she did not speak to me
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You're received some amazing useful / educational, psychological and emotionally sensitive ideas here. I'm impressed. While there is no easy or sure-answer (ever), I tuned into the response "redirecting his words - back and shifting the focus of the conversation. It seems to me:
(1) getting out the grief and feelings however he can by sharing how he feels is critically important; ask him "if you could tell xxx now, what would you say to her?"
(2) many of us in very sound mind have challenges accepting death, even though we know it. It is a difficult reality for all of us - and so much more complicated by dementia;
(3) I certainly agree with the car concern-if need be, get MD letter indicating he is unable to drive and alert the local police department.
(4) Get him to talk about his wife as much as possible while also re-directing his attention, both verbally and physically (get him to day-care or get volunteers in to talk to him).
(5) I am no expert in dementia issues - I know some people go to the darkness and hallucinate. I would ask MD about (more) medication to help with this aspect of his behavior; and
(6) Aspects of some of the above may work some of the time. Try to not get discouraged realizing that the key is always a combination lock to open that door, and the combination keeps changing. (I used this image myself to lose/maintain 70+ lbs - and that is another story.
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All the answers are good -go with the flow. As to the driving, if he can't remember even if he normally doesn't drive, make sure there is no car available that works. Too many confused people are in accidents or go somewhere not to be found for weeks or months.
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Stop the driving A.S.AP. - whatever way you need to do

Was there an obit in your paper? - if so then frame it so you can show him when he is like that - this might be enough - if not do it now - he won't see the date on it

What about getting him to use 'her' bed in dining room? - say now that she is gone she probably would like him to have it, to be closer together - try telling him that anytime he dreams of her then she is sending her love to him - give him something to hold onto where she is concerned - if she had a favourite afghan place it on the bed so he can sleep under it & dream of her & their love together
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My wife is that way about her mom and dad and her husband which is me. I just tell her they had business to take care of and we will talk to them when they get back. She says okay and forgets. I tell her the same words every time. Sometimes she will say they must have business to tend to. Otherwise one will go nuts. : ))
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I liked the answer to take him to the grave. Show him she is gone and let him grieve. After that if he asks where she is tell a little white lie. I read that u should not continue to tell them a loved one has died. They grieve all over again and that is cruel. I also agree, its time to take the car away. A friends husband lost his pants where he kept his wallet and keys. She told him without his liense he couldn't drive and he excepted that. The pants were finally found stuffed under the mattress. My friend hid his wallet and keys. She sold the car and bought herself a smaller one.
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My mom did the same thing and my dad had been gone 27 years. I told her he was OK and working hard and I would let him know how she was, etc. She accepted this. As the doctor told me "go with the flow". When you try to correct them, they can feel anxiety and not trust you. It does no harm in letting them think what they want. What I found to occupy mom was to get the book "A Story of a Lifetime". I asked mom the questions (she loved to go back so many many years and with sharpness) and I wrote them down for her. She loved this. She like the idea of having a "personal secretary" and loved telling the stories of her past. When she passed away the book was complete and I find myself reading it from time to time with such joy. I learned a lot about my mom from this book. Perhaps you can do the same. It's become a priceless keepsake.
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I can't imagine how disorienting it would be to lose your life partner of 67 years. At that point you are so interdependent that it would be like losing a part of yourself.

For about a year after my father died, I would be in store and think, "I wonder if that jigsaw puzzle would appeal to Dad. ... Oh." I knew he was dead. But a part of me still acted, momentarily, as if he weren't. And the same thing happened after my mother died. I'd check emails expecting to see one from the sister who visited the nursing home that day. Oh. No one visits now. And in stores I would think "That looks like a good door decoration for Ma. ... Oh."

My husband died in our bedroom, holding my hand, almost 5 years ago. Certainly I knew and accepted that he was dead. But for a long time my ears perked up at every noise I heard, listening to see if my husband needed help. I think that gradually tapered off over a year.

Other people have told me of similar experiences.

I think many of us accept the death when it happens but need more time to fully assimilate all that this means. I can only guess how terribly difficult this must be for people whose minds aren't fully functioning.

Poor Grandfather. My heart really goes out to him! He is in mourning and can't even process those complex feelings.

Are there scrapbooks or shoeboxes full of family photographs. Sitting with him and reviewing the oldest ones may be comforting to him. (Not necessarily in response to a question about his late wife.) My mother loved going through old albums, even though she couldn't remember the events. It was comforting, I guess, to realize that once she had an active and fun relationship with her sister, that she was a good mother, etc. The scrapbooks were evidence of who she was.

When you are in mourning, it is good to hear kind memories of the deceased. Perhaps your family could share memories with Grandfather from time to time. After all, you are in mourning too (on a different level), and reminiscing would be good for all of you.
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In a case like this, I find half-truths to be best.

Grammy will be home later tends to work well.

For whatever reasons, your grandfather needs to still have your grandmother - so let him. It does no harm. In the long-run, it should keep him calmer and that is a good thing.

If you have pictures of your grandmother, place them where he can see them.

My dad knew my mother had passed, but I told him to go ahead and talk to her - it does no harm. It's really comforting to say goodnight to a person you love, even if they're no longer there. (I did it whenever my DH was away - I just said goodnight, I love you, as if he was also in the bed. Fell asleep easily that way. And yes, I knew he wasn't there - so what.)
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