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My friend's father committed suicide right before Christmas. He was the primary caregiver for my friend's mother who suffers from dementia. Mom was placed in a nursing home. When my friend calls her mother everyday - Mom ask, "Did you know that Dad died?" or "Why didn't you tell me Dad died?

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As hard as it is, the only thing we can do is be in the moment with our loved ones. It is as real to them as ours is to us. When my lvoed one repeated the same horrible scenes from his life, I repeated my response to him. I listened and let him know I was there for him for as long as he needed me. One day it stopped. I don't know why. He moved on to another moment in time and I went with him.
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My mother does the same thing,It is hard for me to keep re living about the deaths.What works for me is whenever she asks for anything or anybody I play along.Dads still at work Ect.I really don't try to explain anything to her.Sounds cold but for me to stay sane its as must.She is in advanced stages.
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My mother just asked yesterday, "Is Frank really dead?" Freaked me out. He died a year ago in March.
I talked to her about it. But, my question is this... should I frame the last picture I took of the,together and put it in her room. I don't know!
Any advise?
These situations are all so sad.
She was his "caregiver" for the last year of his life. They were divorced, but she moved back in with him. This basically involved me running myself ragged trying to care for bothof them at his house. But, I am glad they got to havethat time together and she could feel needed again for a while.
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What is so horrible is that there is nothing you can do, just as there is nothing your poor friend can do. Except endure, and let time pass, and keep talking. I'm so sorry, this must be desperately painful.
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I lost my father to suicide 45 years ago shortly after a very nasty divorce that took 3-4 years from my mother. Mom is now 87, late middle stage of Alzheimer's and finally has begun to forget my dad entirely. She used to ask me what happened to him and I would tell her, my mistake. This always led to her becoming terribly depressed and thinking she was a bad person and the death somehow her fault, this was always very difficult for me! When I started to try to distract with other conversations it was better and easier for my mom and me! For you to deal with this, I'm sure is very difficult. Try to change the subject and if that fails, and believe me once mom focuses of tragedy it is hard to get her mind to go elsewhere, then try to talk about pleasant times she had with him.
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I don't think anyone can stop someone from remembering the death of a loved one. I don't think anyone can stop someone thinking about anything at all. But like what was suggested above, if the mom is feeling the grief everyday because of her dementia and cannot move on because of the dementia then medication would be the only recourse. Anti-anxiety meds as opposed to anti-depressants. This lady needs to be seen by a Dr. who can decide if medication is appropriate.

It's stories like this that make me hate dementia so much more than I already do.
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After reading this I realize how lucky I am. We just lost my brother-in-law to Alzheimer's. My husband, Bill, also has Alzheimer's and was devastated by losing his older brother, but able to cope. He isn't that far gone yet! But he wanted to go and visit every time I went to check on Dave. He was good until that last week when Dave was barely responsive. He did not want to see him that way! We went after he died to see the body and Bill dealt with it pretty well. I was amazed that he was able to handle it and I think the Alzheimer's softened the blow a little. It has been over a month now and Bill seem really good. He has gotten over it and not showing any signs of sadness. God has really helped me by helping Bill! Amen.
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As a friend of a friend whose mother has dementia, just tell your friend her mother will ask those questions until she doesn't. There is nothing for you to do but listen to your friend's anguish over the suicidal death of her father. She is going through this grief far more than her mother.
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Sorry to put this in a mathematical equation, but my experience has been that

memory impairment

+ re living death

= nearly unimaginable anguish

First, it is so sad that the husband took his life. Most likely a combination of burnout, helplessness and separation from his wife. He was clearly overwhelmed and kind of fell through the cracks because all the focus is on the wife. He was the husband and the father, and have been the strong caregiver. Nobody realized he was falling apart and he apparently didn't issue a cry for help before he had decided he had had it and just chose to exit. Please give your friend hugs by proxy and tell her even more are waiting for her here should you choose to come on board.

Most of us are accustomed to repetitive behavior with dementia but I believe that witnessing the constant re-recollection was one of the most heart wrenching things to try to deal with. And it isn't limited to spouses, but also extends to parents, children and best friends - whomever the patient is able to remember.

In my dads case, he had Alz for about 11 years, starting when he was around 70 years old, and ending when he was 81. Somewhere between 78 and 79, he started asking why his parents for coming to see him. My grandmother died when I was five and dad was 35. My grandfather passed much later, when my dad was 68. So it was about 1992 when my dad started wanting to return to the family home in Hollywood, where he hadn't lived since he was 28 years old. At around the same time he started asking about his parents and every time he did, my mom would tell him that they were dad. He would be shocked, then angry, then upset, then start arguing, then telling my mother she was crazy, which prompted my mother defiantly to dig out the funeral announcements and show my dad. He could still read and apparently could still understand the concept of death, he just couldn't remember they were gone. Tears would well up in his eyes, and my dad, the strong one, the Joker, would break down crying uncontrollably.

I kept telling my mom she couldn't do that anymore but she was determined not to be called crazy. After a hellacious argument between the two of us, she finally agreed that the next time he asked she would try telling him that they'd be up in a couple of days. He did ask, I was told, shrug your shoulders and what about his business. That where's my moms first acquiescence of getting into his reality and practicing therapeutic fbbing.

I have described in other threads how, when my dad was upset, he wouldn't eat his blood sugar drop, he nearly fall over, all 6'3" & 219 lbs. of him (scary!). When he was finally ready to pass out, we could get him to take some orange juice and ativan and he sleep it off for 4 to 6 hours. Very stressful.

I have read on here more than once how some people do not like their. Fitting or lying because they think that its just a mechanism to make the caregiver feel better. That may be true in some cases, but that is so not true and a general way. If your dementia patient is pliable, divertable, sweet and otherwise manageable, and doesn't suffer over repetitive negative information, then that may be a person you don't have to practice therapeutic line with.

But if the person is suffering when you remind them of the truth, you aren't doing them any favors, especially if you have to medicate them to manage the distress.

That isn't to say that short term medication may be good to get her over the hump. But, IMO, your friend has to change her moms reality. Brightly disagree with any death, just say dad is coming tomorrow. Her mom has dementia and that is a slippery slope anyway. On her own, her mom will reach a point where she forgets that her husband has died because she will regress to earlier times.

It is definitely a miserable situation and your friend will have to experience her own suffering about it, but she can certainly do something to ease the suffering of her mom.
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It's so agonizing to see the caregiver succumb to the load and my heart goes out to your friend. Mom, on the other hand cannot be expected to understand or clearly remember what happened. If she is crying and carrying on, her MD can prescribe medications for her. If she is a religious person, a visit from her minister would certainly help her work this through. It takes time.
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