How to handle my mom's question about why my dad never visits?

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Every time I go to visit my mother she constantly asks why my father never visits. He's been gone 3 years and we put her in a home a year ago. She has moderate Alzheimer's and of course constantly forgets. We've mentioned to her that he's passed, she gets upset and cries, and we don't know whether to continue to keep telling her that or not? My mom is still together for the most part she has good and bad days like everyone else but she also knows that my dad would come to visit if he could. She gets very frustrated and upset when we lie to her and tell her that he's at work or he's at home sleeping or doing errands. It's so frustrating for my sister and I we really don't know how to handle it. The staff where my mother is at constantly tells us to lie to her and not to tell her that our father has passed, however it's so upsetting because she knows in her heart that he would come and visit there's nothing that would ever stop him from visiting her. She thinks she's in the hospital and can't remember why she's there, and constantly asks to come home or to have my dad come and pick her up after work. So I'm at a loss I don't know really how to handle it. My sis can visit her more frequently because she has a flexible job whereas I do not. So my sister gets the brunt of a lot of it most of the time I should say and tells me that mom always asks about him and we just really don't know how to handle like I said so if anybody has any ideas that would help with this would greatly be appreciated. As I've said we've tried the lying it doesn't work she gets upset and cries because she knows. And of course when we tell her that he's passed she gets upset and cries and acts like she didn't know about it or nobody told her and then we have to go over every single. So again I'm really just so lost on how to handle it we don't want to upset her as much as we possibly can. I kind of thought maybe leaving a prayer card of his from his funeral with her on one of my dad's pictures to maybe remind her that he's passed, I don't really know if that would help or hurt? Opinions, comments anything that could help would really be appreciated please!

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reading your problem I totally get it. Have you ever tried to explain dementia to someone(a friend)? And they can't understand how bad it is? It's not just losing your keys or forgetting a name.

My dad did this when my mom was hospitalized. Kept asking where she was and how come nobody told me!!

I don't have an answer for you. Other than sometimes over time they actually stop asking about something on their own. Then that issue goes away and another issue comes up!!

My dad passed away in the AL room they shared. My mom for some reason handled his passing very well.(married 60 yrs) She went to the funeral etc. but later in the day it was forgotten. She knows he's gone. Doesn't bring him up anymore unless I do. It's like she forgot him? But I talk about how great a dad he was and she likes to hear that

I have a wall (framed pics)in her same AL room dedicated to my dad. I even framed his obit. But I guess that could make it worse for your mother idk
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Reply to wally003
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I’m not very good with fibbing. I always worry that my loved one will know that I am and then not trust me.
But in your mom’s case I know you want to spare her pain.
So I’m wondering, Does your mom remember that she saw you or sister that day?
In other words if you ask your mom has sis been by today, does mom remember correctly?
If not, you might say, Dad was just here. He said it was sure great to see you. He’s coming back tomorrow. He had to get back to work or whatever you’ve been saying. The only thing different is that he has just been there.
Would she like a stuffed animal from him? He left you this cuddly bear. Isn’t it sweet. Do you want it in your bed with you? Or dad sent you these pretty flowers. He said you loved pink.
Whatever would make her feel better and remembered by him.
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Reply to 97yroldmom
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There is no easy answer for this situation. I believe your mother knows your dad is gone and reverts back to him because she continues to grieve for him. I might suggest saying "you know why he is not here" and let her talk. Give her a big hug and tell her you miss him too. And that she has you and your sister include grandkids if any. It would be appropriate to have a picture of your parents together on her bulletin board or nightstand. My beloved, late father always said these few words: "When it comes to life and death, its in Gods hands." Don't overthink this. Your visits to your mom are the best medicine and the most you can do for her. Good luck and I wish the very best for you and your mom.
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Reply to rose122
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Thank you guys for some ideas. It really is hard to decide which way to go with my mother. Like I said before we have tried alternative fibs if you will about our dad and she never buys them or she will for the moment but then goes back to asking the same question over and over again. I would definitely go with the lesser of two and not telling her that he's passed because it does upset her very much and that's not what we want to do. Sometimes it's just very hard on my sis and I both. We do stick together on whatever story we decide we're going to tell Mom on any given day that we see her because we know that she will forget anyway within the few minutes or the next day. It really is stressful this disease is so awful. It makes me so sad for her because honestly just don't know what to do. But thank you for your Insight I'll pass some of that on to my sister as well.
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Reply to Lea1969
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Could you come up with a fiblet where he is gone to take care of his mom or sister or some other relative or friend or off doing something other than work that might take him away for a few days? It sounds like the "he's still at work" isn't cutting it. Where might he have reasonably gone for a couple of days that mom might buy? He's at a work conference or off fishing with buddies or on a church trip or...whatever might work. That's all I got. It sounds like your mom is kind of in between. She's still with it enough to not buy the usual "still at work" fib but has no memory to understand her husband is gone. My heart goes out to you and your sister - it's so tough on all of you. {{{Hugs}}}
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Reply to blannie
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I think you and your sister should both decide on which way to go: is dad dead or is he just busy with work, the house, errands, etc.? Decide which you think is less traumatizing for your mom and go with that.

There is a therapeutic benefit to not telling your mom that your dad is gone. She has dementia and each time she's told that he's gone it's like she's finding out for the very first time and that's traumatizing.

However, you said your mom gets angry when you tell her dad can't visit because he's (fill in the blank). And that your mom knows he would always come to see her no matter what and becomes angry when you tell her dad's at work or busy or whatever.

So which scenario is the easiest on your mom? I know they're both difficult and both evoke strong emotions but is one scenario a little less upsetting than the other? Maybe your mom recovers quicker with one of the scenarios than she does with the other one?

Or you could look at it like this: would you prefer your mom to be angry or grief stricken?

Discuss it with your sister, maybe compare your mom's reactions to each scenario regarding your father's lack of presence, and come up with 1 explanation that you can stick to and help your mom through.
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Reply to Eyerishlass
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Grandma said the same thing to my Mother when G'Ma was in the NH.
Mother immediately said that he is probably on the road and busy with the truck. Tha fixed it. G'Pa had been gone for a few years at that time.
Sometimes a fiblet works best.
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Reply to OldSailor
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