My mom passed away a couple years ago. One of her close friends located in another state has been showing signs of dementia since before my mom’s passing. Her condition was confirmed by her daughter shortly after my mom’s passing. Last night, this friend called me out of blue and said she lost my mom’s phone number and was trying to get a hold of her..was worried and wanted to know if she got home ok. I was taken a back... This friend was told about my mom’s passing a few times, but clearly was not recalling that fact. I hesitated in my response; a million things ran through my head in those few seconds of hesitation. Do I lie and just say my mom made it home ok? And hope she doesn’t press further and ask for my mom’s phone number again? Or worse yet question where my mom is living which would then lead to a rat hole of falsities? On the other hand, do I gently tell the truth about how my mom passed and hope it doesn’t agitate her? I decided to tell the truth about my mom. She was sad and distressed that she didn’t know she had died. I tried to remain upbeat and asked her other questions about her family and told her she could call me anytime. I worry about her calling again, not remembering our conversation and having yet again to make a choice on best way to respond if she asks about my mom. Any recommendations on how best to deal with questions like this from a person with dementia? Did I choose the right way to respond? 🙁

We NEVER lie in a situation like this.

“She can’t come to the phone right now”.
“She’s resting”.
I LOVE “Mom made it home OK” because that is 100% my spiritual truth.
”She’s so happy now”.

Above all, as long as you are speaking out of kindness and love, PLEASE do NOT accuse yourself of sending her to “a rat hole of falsities”.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to AnnReid

If she calls again this is how you might take the conversation...
Mom is just fine, she is not home right now but if you want to leave a message I will pass it on.
This is the right number but mom can't get to the phone right now can I take a message.
You handled the phone call just right.
No need to stress her telling her that her fried, your mom, died.
If you do not want this woman to call I agree if you can contact the daughter and have her delete your number. But I doubt that the calls, if she calls again, will not be frequent enough to disturb you. (unless talking about your mom or having someone ask about her upsets you)
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Grandma1954

I am with Joy. Funny she couldn't remember Moms number but she knew yours. Does she have it written down in an address book? If so, maybe u should ask the daughter if she can remove your number from the book.
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Reply to JoAnn29

Chances are, this lady is pretty advanced on her journey with dementia. She will most likely call you again and ask the same questions about your mother. She will not remember how kind and caring you were about explaining your mother’s passing.

Even though we were raised not to lie, we caregivers get a special pass when it comes to dealing with things like this. If this lady calls again, you may have to explain that Mom is home and fine, but she is resting right now. Her friend will not remember that you told her Mom passed. It’s not easy to do this because you know it’s not true and it adds to your grief. And, if the friend calls too often, you may want to speak to her family in a kind and understanding way.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Ahmijoy

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