I was given guardianship over my 90+ year old mother due to her inability to make rational decisions. Mom has lived with me for a year while I have made legal arrangements to sell her house which is in another state. While here, Mom's dementia has worsened to the extent that she has been increasingly confused about what state she is in and sometimes who I am. She even gets lost in our modest rancher. Nevertheless, she persists in saying that she wants to go home!
The good news is that we now (finally) have offers for her house and I am about to accept one, but the bad news is that I have no idea what/how to tell Mom. I've always tried to be honest and feel that she should know that she will never be able to return to the home that she and my deceased step-dad worked so hard to obtain. However, I wonder if telling her is cruel. Should I just use a "therapeutic lie" and tell her that it is still there?

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I wouldn't tell her. We never talked about mom's house once she entered a nursing home.

It sounds like she confused, lost and not processing or retaining information well. I wouldn't distress her further.

Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn

As our seniors struggle with memory and other issues of dementia, I think we have to start asking ourselves who does "honesty" serve? Does the senior "gain" anything from knowing their house (which they will never see again anyway) has been sold? Or does the senior gain from thinking that house is still as it was when he/she left it? Because the dementia patient thinks(?) that house can stay in the same state with no one living there or mowing the lawn or paying the utilities and taxes, he/she is not the one that really has a problem. It's the care giver that feels badly each time the senior says something about that house who has the real problem. There's enough stress in this care giving path, I let myself off the hook for not correcting my parents' world view on anything that doesn't make their day better.

When my father was in MC, he knew his house had been sold and would complain about it, but it was his collectibles he continued to be concerned about. I told Dad his stuff was in safety deposit boxes at the bank even as I sold off items as good offers were received. I continue to let my mother believe a cousin is living in her great-grandmother's home place when we drive by even though I know it was sold out of the family a few years back. These "fibs" about things that cannot be changed don't hurt my parents in anyway so this is my new definition of "honesty" with them. There's always a part of me uncomfortable with this new definition, but I refuse to feel guilty for putting their best interests ahead of my own.
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Reply to TNtechie

It served no purpose, other than being "honest", to tell Mom her house was sold -- or her son had died or anything else that would cause undue anxiety. Our roles were to protect her from anything that would cause harm, whether that be physical or emotional harm. Just like when we were children & our parents shielded us from the woes of the world and kept us safe. Someone on here said a long time ago that we needed to live in their world & not keep forcing them back into our world. If that meant not being totally honest, well then so be it. When I would begin to feel uncomfortable, I would remind myself that it is best for Mom & to not waste precious energy fussing about it.

The only time I was completely honest & told Mom that Dad had died (7 years earlier) was when she asked me if he left her because "of the way she was". This was the love of her life & thinking that was devastating to her. I told her that Dad had passed away & now he was getting things all ready for her in heaven for when it was time for her to join him. The relief was something else -- her whole body relaxed and it gave her hope for the remaining years of her life. Now THAT she remembered -- if I walked out of the room & came back in, she forgot I had just been there. LOL.

As a wise one said on here -- be in their world; it's real to them.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to kdcm1011

Thanks to everyone for your responses. I knew the right thing to do was not tell her, but needed to hear others so say to bolster my courage.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to EverHopeful1
Isthisrealyreal Apr 7, 2019
So glad that you are not going to tell her. It really gets to a point that some information is just irrelevant and there is no need to say anything.

I am sorry that your mom is failing, she is blessed to have you taking care of things for her.
I wouldn't even bring it up. With dementia (and you don't say how bad hers is) telling her may trigger her to ask about it--over and over and I doubt you want that.

Don't stir the pot. Although you probably feel you SHOULD b/c this is a big the end, it's just a house and she is happy in yours? Then 'that' is home.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Midkid58

Don't tell her, especially if there is no way she will ever be able to even go for a visit to her house. My sis and I are going through that now, dividing things, possible estate sale, selling the house. I hate it!! It's like she's already dead.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to nannybrister
kdcm1011 Apr 6, 2019
We felt the same way when cleaning out & selling Mom’s house when she went into AL. She had a few BR pieces for familiarity and that was it. After Mom passed a few years later, we were glad it was already done & we didn’t have to deal with those emotions along with the relief/grief we were going thru. I hope that gives you some comfort.
Yes. Bc at this point, she may be referring to her childhood home.
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Reply to mmcmahon12000

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