Mom keeps asking me if her sister, brother, aunt, mother are still alive. They are not, what do I say? - AgingCare.com

Mom keeps asking me if her sister, brother, aunt, mother are still alive. They are not, what do I say?

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She is 85 with alzheimers. She seems to have gotten worse in the last two weeks. I can see it but when people who have not seen her notice its worse then I know it is.As you all know one day just rolls into the next without much change P.S all these people are all gone. Thanks

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Its ok I am still on this website and thankful for any help. I did post a moment of relief yesterday. Fleeting but still grateful. Thanks all.
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Is she specifically asking if someone is alive, or more generally asking where they are or when they are coming, etc? If she is asking if Aunt Betty is alive, I would be inclined to test the waters a little and then give an honest answer. "Aunt Betty? What a dear, sweet woman! What makes you think of her right now?" ... "Oh, the daises! She really did love them, didn't she. They often remind me of her, too. I was so sad when she died a few years ago. She had a long and mostly happy life."

BUT, like the others who have posted, if it is clear she isn't considering that the person might no longer be alive, I wouldn't break the news to her, so to speak. If she asks when Aunt Betty is coming, an answer like, "She can't come this summer. I miss her visits. Let's pick some daisies to remind us of her," might be better.

Do what you can to keep her comfortable with her memories and memory lapses.

(And do check for a UTI!)
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I know coolie, I hate when I see questions out there for so long with no answer. It probably send some people elsewhere. I try to check the lists of discussions and questions every couple of days to see where people are not receiving responses.

And forgetting about the UTI's causing problems, I have done the same thing and my Mom had 7 of them in a year. Why would I forget that? Who the heck knows!
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Glad, I can not believe I forgot to mention the UTI's! I also can not believe that when I responded to Fligirl no one had answered her at all. She asked 3 days ago (now 4) and i dearly hope she didn't give up on this site.
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Fligirl, if this seems to have gotten worse recently I would get Mom checked for a urinary tract infection. Undiagnosed infections of any kind can push them over the edge.

Like Coolie said, tell Mom what will comfort her rather than cause sadness or anxiety. My Mom frequently asks when she last spoke with her mother. I need to kind of guage where I think she is in her brain. I sometimes tell her that Grandma would be 114 if she were still alive and that people don't live that long. Other times I tell her that she just talked to her yesterday and we will call her later. They call this therapeutic white lies. They are basically whatever will make Mom comfortable. Do not correct her about her delusions that will only cause agitation. The things she says and thinks are her only reality, don't take that away from her.

Good luck.
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Our mom had dementia. There were times she would start yelling for Virginia (her aunt, long gone) and if I told her Virginia wasn't there, not that she was dead, she would say she was just here. We finally realized that at times she thought my sister was Virginia. When she started "seeing" and then asking where a certain person we were truthful with her. It did not work. She would either get very upset emotionally, very scared because in her mind she had just seen them or she would get incredibly pissed and tell us to quit lying to her. I don't remember her flat out asking though. If she is letting you get away without responding to the question then let it go for now. When feel the time might be right then tell her the truth about one to gauge her reaction. If it is a negative one then don't tell her about the others. Towards the end Mom would say Where's Daddy?" and we would reply he went to the store. Remember you told him you didn't want to go? Or something else as deceitful. Didn't have too much guilt on that one because the truth was so awful to watch. You actually will learn from your own statements to her and become very accomplished at it. Within a few moments she wont even remember asking and all is well. For the last couple of months mom would "slip" in and out of knowing who we were. She would get scared or "shut down" if we called her mom. When that happened we would call her "Miss Betty" and it seemed to make her think that she was familiar with us on a "Nursing" level. Sometimes it hurt when I couldn't call her momma but I want you to know the last coherent and audible thing she said to me was a couple of days before she passed (and her eyes were so clear & bright) what she did was put her hand on my cheek and said "I love you, Darlin' ". It was very obvious that she was totally lucid for that! I don't think that alzheimers and dementia are too far apart as illnesses go. Not sure of your total situation but we were able to put mom on hospice where they only came out 2 to 3 times a week or if we needed them and called them. They would even come out in the middle of the night if needed to help get mom back up if she fell so we would not hurt ourselves trying to do it alone. They were also absolutely awesome just for the moral support they gave us. Unfortunately your situation is only going to deteriorate as time goes by. Try to find humor where you can with her. (You will probably see a lot once you start looking and stop feeling guilty when you do see it) I wish I had some magic statement to say to make things easier for you, but I don't. Just keep coming to this site if you haven't given up on us already because we really are here for you! And don't just come to ask a question, browse all the questions and answers. This site helped me enormously when I was moms caregiver. Bless you for being able to help your mom. And hang in there. It's worth it in the long run!
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