Mom with dementia asked dad, "When am I going to get better?" - AgingCare.com

Mom with dementia asked dad, "When am I going to get better?"

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Dad absolutely distraught over this question, although he is patient, loving and kind towards my mom. What do I say to him? What does he say to her?

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You are very wise, my friend. You'll be handling these issues often. We tell the truth at first, but after that, whatever helps our loved one cope with life is best. Good luck and please keep sharing your wisdom and asking questions.
Carol
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I had to laugh at those suggesting you tell them the truth. How many times? It is gut-wrenching EVERY time Mom "finds out" she has AD. I stop telling her after a few dozen times...now I just do what I always do when an uncomfortable topic comes up...DISTRACT. "Oh look at what the cat is doing! --- Would you like something to drink? --- I wonder what is on television?" Much easier that tearing our hearts out repeatedly. She may forget and get past it (until the next) time...but I don't and every time chips a piece of my heart away.
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My mother-in-law has dementia/alz too. So far it's her memory only that has been affected, but she asks me quite often what the heck is wrong with her. She was a legal secretary for 25+ years and had to run 3 checks books, the whole office plus hire new people. She lives in asst living now, but she and I spend a lot of time together in my car going places, doing errands etc. When she asks me if something can be done about her memory which is BAD, I tell her no. I have never told her she has Alzheimer's for a couple of reasons. First she won't remember that I told her. Second, she can't do anything about it at this point except the meds that she's already on. Third, she'll get agitated and worried, then forget it a few minutes later, ask me again, get agitated and worried again, and the loop will go from there. So I just tell her 'I'm sorry there's nothing that can be done about your memory. It's just AWOL'. Or I'll tell her 'I think you wore it out'. Then she'll laugh and agree that she probably did. Me personally, having no brain impairment, would want to know the truth of my condition. But someone with dementia is NOT me, NOT normal brain function, and in my opinion NOT necessary. What's the point?
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The answer is that- you are perfect just the way you are!! We don't get to exactly choose what happens to us through-out life on many levels. However, we can choose to love ourselves and others!! Namaste
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We told mom the truth and she became so angry with us accusing of trying to get all her money for ourselves. It was many months before she would talk with us so we never told her again. She is in denial and doesn't understand so we leave it at that.
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What you tell them probably is very dependent on the person, as well. For my mom, telling her works. We both accept it. But if she were to become angry I would come up with something else.
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I don't think there is any right answer. It depends upon the person, the relationship you have with that person, what their temperament is, etc. Having to tell someone over and over that their spouse is dead and has been for years is cruel in my opinion. Why do that to someone? The truth may make the person telling it feel better but it's not about us, it's about what's best for the person with ALZ. And like someone above me said, maybe tell the truth initially but then use other methods of getting around the painful subject if the person with ALZ continues to bring it up. Redirection, like someone suggested, is always an option and there are so many ways to redirect someone with ALZ. And I'm going to sound like a Pollyanna here. I'm not. I'm cynical and sarcastic but I have found that a genuine smile directed right at someone with ALZ has tremendous power and when I smile at someone like that, that person automatically smiles back. I'm not talking about grinning like a damn jack-o-lantern or the Joker but a warm, kind smile does wonders. So make fun of me for being a goody-two-shoes but it works and as someone who works in home healthcare a genuine, inviting smile is one of my tools I use when working with someone who has ALZ. :) :) :)
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"And the truth will set you free". Never be afraid of the truth.....painful, wrenching but , ever so necessary.
I expect many will disagree with me, but the truth is liberating.
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Alzheimer's was much more difficult to deal with in the beginning when my mom KNEW something was going wrong. But, now when she asks I tell her she has Alzheimer's that a lot of research if being done but they don't know how to fix it yet. I also tell her that 50% of people over the age of 80 have some sort of dementia related issues. It helps that she then knows she is not alone in this. She has even asked me what studies are going on and if she could participate. I have checked into two different studies, one she was not eligible for because she has the APOE4 gene, the other she was not accepted because her memory is too far gone. We'll keep looking though.
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I agree with N1K2R3 and Newandknew The truth is best--but consider this: often when we "prepare" to tell the truth and we feel it is BAD we tense up and allow it to change our voice and our faccial expression. Truth delivered with love demands that truth be told calmly and lovingly.
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