Follow
Share

Mom and dad are 91 and married 71 yrs. Both have progressive and different forms of dementia. They lived rather independently with my sisters and my help until this past year. Dad having health issues and was just discharged from hospital to rehab. He's not doing well. They tell us he's in failure to thrive and and now has pneumonia. I don't think he has a good prognosis. Mom doesn't understand. She can't remember where he is and why. Every minute we have to explain to her. We see her failing now too. Have no idea how we should tell her or if we should. Do we continue to let her believe he's just in the hospital for ever even if he passes?? If he passes, she will probably lose the will to live and we'll lose her too. Thoughts???

Find Care & Housing
Sad to say, but your mom is probably past the point where she will understand the concept of death. Even if you tell her, she will forget and keep asking. In the moment, she will understand and be very upset, anxious and will cry. Then she will forget and five minutes later, ask you again. So, it’s better just to use the Therapeutic Fib and tell her your dad is still in rehab and will be back when he’s better. Don’t make any long, involved explanations It’s so hard to do, I know. I had to do it when my 95 year old mom would ask where her parents were. Sending you hugs...
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to Ahmijoy
Report
Cattieangel Aug 18, 2018
Thats what I think we will have to do. I don't think she will accept or remember as her mind far too gone. It's to sad to watch this amazing couple ending life with each other this way. It's hard to lie to, but I think it's necessary to keep her calm. Heartbreaking!!
(2)
Report
See 2 more replies
after my dad died...I guess it worked out for my mom and me and sister. i feel lucky about that. (meaning my mom didn't keep asking where he was)

my mom has dementia. but she knew he passed. he had a very small funeral service and she attended. i wrote his obit and picked out his picture to use. i tried to include my mom with some decisions. even if she didn't remember later that i had asked.
if she ever asked i would tell her, Mom, he was old and tired. He was such a good dad. you had so many good years. I miss him a lot, but his time just came. i always tell my mom we all have expiration dates.

your mom may be stronger than you think when he dies. ive seen a lot tho where couples who have been married a long time...die within a short time of each other.
i made a wall of pics for my dad in my moms assisted living apartment. one is an enlarged picture (the funeral home had made from a regular camera pic.) I framed it and put it over the couch. plus the military flag he got from the VA. i bought a rectangular box frame i found at walmart.  plus i framed his obit from the newspaper.
NOT to be mean, but i also removed ALL my dads personal items - clothing, shoes etc from her closet. so she didn't get confused. i got rid of his easy chair(was dirty) and bought her some new furniture.

you know your mom best, so it will be up to you what you end up being most comfortable with telling her. At this point in my moms situation  i am comfortable telling her the truth. Maybe down the road if she starts getting 'mental'...and she started asking where he was, i may have to figure out some 'story' to tell her. either that i will very kindly tell her: mom he went to heaven remember?
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to wally003
Report
disgustedtoo Aug 22, 2018
once they cannot retain the information (could start asking again in 10 minutes, next day, next week) it will be harder to give them the "truth". You will likely know, when she gets upset that he is gone, and you have to repeat telling and going through the upset, it will be time for some other excuse...

As I noted in another post here, our mother (95) is focused on HER mother - I know from past dealings with mom that telling her something that goes against her "reality" results in arguing the issue or clamming up... she cannot handle the truth. So, I do whatever I can to deflect questions/requests to visit...
(0)
Report
I remember when Grandpa Higgins died. Grandma had been 'spinny' for quite a while. She was lost without him and died within 5 months. It may sound terrible, but she needed to be with him and just lost the will to live. They were in their 80's at the time.

It was sad to lose her so soon after Grandpa, but it was terrible to see how lost she was. They had been married about 65 years.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to Tothill
Report
bigsun Aug 19, 2018
Was the best thing
(4)
Report
Stop giving updates. Tell her he is resting, or sleeping, or relaxing, or napping.

My sibling and I both decided to not tell dad, our mom passed. A CNA decided different after we had talked to nursing staff. I was livid.

If you feel the need to tell her do it once. If she has dementia and asks every other day, your devistating her over and over likes it's the first time. Why would that ever be helpful? I personally think it is cruel.
He's resting, he's fine, he's napping, etc. Usually suffices. Over time she will stop asking. Why make her horribly miserable when it's not neccesary? They are like children. You shield them from hurtful things because you care. Let her live out her remaining days in peace and love. It is hard enuff with failing health.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Jasmina
Report
Cattieangel Aug 19, 2018
Thanks...I agree! While at the hospital I say, hes taking a nap, let's not disturb him yet. Let's go do your hair, and distract her. My sister keeps telling her. She thinks we shouldn't like to her. Mom just gets upset over and over again. How will she be if he dies???? Heartbreaking.
(1)
Report
See 1 more reply
Take all of the good advice from others listed here below. The word is : APPEASE.

It was very hard for me to start "lying" to my mom. But when I realized that she would forget everything I said in five minutes anyway, it became easier. You tell her what she wants to hear.

He is fine. He is napping. He ate well today. He is coming to visit tomorrow.

This is no longer lying. With dementia, all the rules change. You are helping her through a horrible chapter of life the way she can handle it.

Make sure your sister reads these posts!!!!!!!!!!!
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Salisbury
Report

Yea it is very difficult. Mom had dementia, stepdad CHF, and age related decline. He was 88 when he passed in October 2016. They had lived separately for about three years because of mom's care needs. Mom knew something was amiss after he passed, did not ask for or about him. Her behaviors became even more difficult and was kicked out of the facility she was in. Went to a smallish care home which was much better for her. She passed eight months later.

Therapeutic fibs are best. My mom, even if she could have verbalized her emotions, missed him terribly. Somewhere in her brain she knew something was wrong.

What should you tell mom? Therapeutic fibs, redirect, distract. You cannot explain or reason with dementia.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to gladimhere
Report

My thoughts are that everyone deserves to hear the news of a death of a loved one.
But, they only need to hear it once.

If, with dementia, they forget that someone died, to be told again, day after day that their loved one is dead is causing acute suffering over and over and over.
Can you imagine the pain felt with this new news heard each time?
So, after the initial sharing of the news, deflection, distraction when asked about their loved one.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Lynnnnn
Report

When my friends' dad died, and they do have a mother with dementia, they never told her that he died, if she ask they are saying went to the doctor, went to some relatives, went to the summer house etc, she forget for some days, then ask again...They decided do not take a chances to tell her the truth....but i think everybody decide based on specifics.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to poetry21
Report

So sorry for this, yes let her think he is just in the hospital, Dementia is horrible, and it will just confuse her with the truth.. Make the most of the time you have left.

Best wishes
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Gerip1092
Report

Hi Cattie, from reading your post it appears you have it a tad easier to use the, “he’s in a place where he can be taken care of for now”, since he already was physically separated from her by going to rehab. ( that’s a huge step in her being able to handle him being gone) I’m trying to look at the silver lining in a horrible situation. If they lived together and one passed in front of the other, then you’d have a whole different scenario and have to come up with a different strategy. I wish you strength and send you hugs as you and your family continue on this journey.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Alzh101
Report

See All Answers