How do I tell my mom w/ dementia, her close, youngest sister just passed away, in order to help her grieve in a graceful way?

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My Mother is 75, with Dementia. She's very sensitive, and really expresses her feelings. I wouldn't say she's overly, dramatic. But she has been, in the past. Her very close, baby Sister, Lucy, just passed away, February 28, 2013. How, and when should I as the Son/Caregiver, break this bad news to her? She has just been doing very well, with her activities. meeting up with old friends she hasn't seen in 30 years, going on her walks, drawing, coloring, letter writing. As she's doing all these activities, she remenisses a lot about her childhood, and her sisters, and speaks a lot about her baby sister, Lucy. Do I bring in other family members? Do I have certain female family members tell her? Do I have to break it to her? with my Brother present?( who is the Power of Attorney.) Do we do it A.S.A.P.? or give it time? Because the calls are really starting to come in. And she answers the phone too. I have no experience in this matter. Any suggestions? So I can help her to grieve in a proper, peaceful, and graceful way. Thank you listening, and I appreciate your support. God Bless us all.

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@Daddydaycare, My 96 yr old grandmother had Dementia and was in a NH, her daughter (my mother) was ill and passed away suddenly. While this was a shock to all of us, we knew we had to tell her so,....We, my sister's and I, went into her room and broke the news to her. We did not leave her that day, we stayed held her as she cried and answered her questions, and even laughed some as we spoke of "the old days" and the fun times we shared as a family. This we felt was the proper way to tell her, and it was. I have a large family on my side. Grams daughter (my mom) had 9 children 7 who are still living. So there was always someone there to visit her, but after her daughter passed we saw to it that she had one of us there almost everyday. I think that helped her get through a most difficult time and you know, it helped me as well! If you have a close family, then I would say, tell her. It might only cause more pain in the long run...? What you feel in your heart might be what you should do ? I hope this will help you in your decision, but whatever the outcome... my thoughts and prayers are with you on this. Godbless and Hugs :)
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Where did Lucy live? Will Mother be attending the funeral or memorial service?

I'm not so positive that the goal should be "proper, peaceful, and graceful" grieving. What is wrong with Mother getting dramatic over this loss? Would it really be so terrible if her grief wasn't graceful? With or without dementia, sometimes people just break down when learning that a loved one died. And someone who really expresses her feelings is likely to not be peaceful at this news.

Maybe a more appropriate goal would be for her to absorb the news and react to it in her own way, and to be able to accept it and move on. And there is no time table for grief, so I wouldn't put a deadline on it.

It sounds like you are going to be upset with Mother's reaction. That is OK. You are entitled to your level of sensitivity, too. So is there someone else in the family who would be more accepting of Mother's reaction, whatever it turns out to be? I don't think you have to be the one to break it to her, and I don't think having POA has anything to do with this situation. The person who should tell her about this is the one she will be most comfortable with and the one who can best comfort her through whatever reaction she has.

Unless she will be expected at some service in a few days I would ordinarily say there is no hurry and you might lead up to the announcement by telling her Lucy is sick, etc. for a few days. But if there is a chance she will find out by answering the phone, then I think this should be done as soon as possible, so she is told directly and by someone she loves.

If she were 96 and Lucy lived on the other side of the country and they seldom were in contact, I'd really question the need to tell her at all. But since she is active and sees other people who might mention it, I don't think not telling her is an option in this case.

Does she have a close friend, especially one from childhood who knew Lucy, who lives in the area? What about a clergy person? If someone like that could be asked to make a condolence call a few hours after she has been told, that might be helpful.
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I am so sorry for the loss of your aunt. This is a difficult situation and a lot depends on how progressed your mother is and what you as a family believes is the right thing to do.My brother's step son is on hospice care for final stages of cancer. We have chosen not to tell our mother who has moderate dementia. She can no longer organize her thoughts to pay bills on time, she asks the same question over and over. Some times she is very lucid and knows she needs to follow through on a bill but she doesn't know how to proceed with it. Can you turn the ringer off on the phone so you can screen calls then call them back? If your family really feels she should be told, then do it once and once only. There is no need to tell her again and again causing her to grieve as though it just happened. You could also call someone in the family and ask them if they would be willing to call the relatives asking them to call your cell phone. Again, I am sorry for what you are going through and the loss of your aunt. I hope this helps you, Hugs to you!!
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