How do I explain to my Mother with Alzheimer's that her daughter is dying?

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After going through the emotional rollercoaster a few months ago, I was finally able to get my mother moved from our home and adjusted to a private care facility. She was doing very well until a few weeks ago when my handicapped sister fell, and was placed in the same facility. My mother has spent everyday in my sister's room and loves her being there, however she can't understand why my sister won't get out of her bed and now as my sister's condition worsens, why she won't talk to my mom. Sadly, my sister is not going to recover. She is on hospice now. She is my only sister and we are very close. I am barely holding it together and I have no idea what effect this is going to have on my mother when she dies. I am at a lose as to how to handle this situation. Probably no real answers here. I just can't go through this alone. Does anyone have any suggestions?

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I am very sorry for what you are going through. My mom who has dementia watched her dad slowly pass away about a year ago. (He was 94 and had a full life).... She was very forgetful at the time and as my grandpa died she would forget that he was dying. She does have her moments where she thinks her dad is alive, sometimes I correct her other times I just change the subject. Sometimes she remembers holding his hand the moment he died, sometimes she doesn't.....but I've learned not to correct too much. If i correct her i find I get irritated and annoyed and that helps nobody.

You will find your own way, sometimes it is easier to just sit with them. I think on some level they do understand even if it seems like they don't. You can't control what will happen so try to mourn your loss of your sister and try not to take the burden of helping your mom mourn the loss too. At the end of the day all you can do is be there for your sister and your mom. One day at a time. Best to you big hugs and strength in the coming weeks ahead.
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I am so sorry you are going through this. I can't even imagine how difficult it is for you. I think the kind thing to do is to have your mom quit going to see your sister before she passes away. Therapeutic fibbing has been mentioned and I'd use that. I'd tell mom that sis had to go to a special facility for her care. And she'll be back to visit when she's feeling better. Just keep repeating that fib. I don't see any benefit to trying to explain what's going on to mom, if she already can't process that your sister is non-responsive.
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I would fib as Windy suggests. There is no need to be truthful and only increase your mother's anguish. I speak from experience, accidentally telling my mother my sister had cancer. Mom knew but didn't really understand until I accidentally told her again. She broke down and cried and cried and became so sad. I wish I had never mentioned it and could have kicked myself for being so foolish. Never again.

She had forgotten by the next day, but I hated myself for causing her so much pain. Never again will I do that.
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Thank you all for your advice and love. I'm still not sure what I will do, but all of the suggestions are very helpful.
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I do feel for you. This must be so challenging and sad. There is good advice above. I think that it does depend on the level of dementia your mom has. How much would she be able to process? Does she forget things easily? Having to give her such sad news day after day would be so painful.

My cousin, who has severe dementia, recently had her roommate leave the facility. She was very close to this roommate. The roommate suffered from a serious medical issue and was hospitalized. She is now on hospice and will not return to the Memory Care unit. My cousin misses her terribly, but we tell her that her roommate got sick, is in rehab and that she will return when she recovers. It seems to satisfy her, but of course, she forgets and must be reminded each time she asks. I could not bear to tell her the truth, plus, I'm not sure she could process it, even if I did.
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Talk to the hospice staff for they will have come across this before or will be able to refer you to someone who has more experience. I can't even begin to imagine the pain this is causing you. See your doc too for some meds to keep you together. Do whatever you need to do to keep this whole nightmare as calm as you can ..... xxx
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I'm so very sorry you are going through this. Many of us face this issue when a patent dies and the remaining parent has dementia. Most people would advise some Theraputic fibbing. Maybe like her daughter has been transferred to a special facility. Or you may be honest about the situation but may have to repeat the news and repeat the grief over and over again. Pick a solution that will keep you mother calm. Don't fell guilty about fibbing if it helps her.
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I have not been in your situation but it sounds absolutely heartbreaking. Is there a social worker or someone at the facility you could speak with? They might be able to get you in touch with some help. I am praying for you!
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