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My mother with Alzheimer's keep on asking me if I know where her mother's grave is, and why we did not tell her that her mother had passed and then she cries without end!!!! She then wants to visit he grave to put flowers on. The mother died approx. 50 years ago and she was there. She threatens to walk to the cemetery which is in another city 600 km for were we are now. When she is like this she refuses to eat, take her pills and is just very difficult. The nurses would call me at work to speak to her as this would help her to calm down- and today I lost it completely as this is happening for more than a month now. Any advise to me how to handle this is appreciated.

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I’ve found that my mom is aware ( for now) that her parents, sister and now husband have died. She finds great comfort in having photos of them around. Using that, I have made her a photo collage blanket, a pillow, a tissue box cover, and a photo necklace so she can wrap herself in loved ones, go to bed with loved ones, cry with loved ones and have loved ones close to her heart. The newest photo thingie is a puzzle to represent putting her life back together a piece at a time. So far, this is working for us. Before that, favorite songs, soft music, therapeutic fibs and redirecting are what I used to use to attempt to get my mom’s mind past the broken record of her asking, “ when is the funeral?” Statements like,” we will go as soon as I can get away”, “ They called from the cemetery and asked if we could come a different day because they have a huge funeral going on and there won’t be enough parking”, “ We can talk about going to the cemetery the next time I visit you”. If these statements are met with more questions about when, what time, what day etc., the fibbing continues . It’s a constant trial and error disease. All the best to you. Hugs....
Helpful Answer (14)
Reply to Alzh101
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Obsessing about things is a large part of dementia. Your Mom does not realize that her mother has been gone for half a century. First of all, speak with your mother’s doctor. There are medications she can be on that will help with the anxiety.
You will probably have to start using what we call the “Therapeutic Fib”. Tell Mom you’re busy today, but as soon as you have some free time, you will take her to the cemetery. I take it Mom is in a facility? Since you are at work and getting calls from them can cause you to get on the bad side of your supervisor, you can ask the staff at the facility to please not call you at work. They can use the Fib as well and tell Mom they’ll call you for her as soon as she eats her lunch, takes her pills, etc.

Mom’s brain is broken and to her, these obsessions are very real.. she is not capable of processing the fact that it’s inconvenient for you to bring her to the cemetery. Luckily, she can probably be distracted by the nurses and the aides.
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Reply to Ahmijoy
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I have been saying your mother is in Israel for years now..If I don't she is inconsolable asking when her mama is coming to get her. Her mother passed away 57 years ago .We tried telling her she passed away long ago but then she has similar behavior to what you described. So now we tell her her mother lives in Israel and it's far away so it's hard to visit.....not a totallie as she is buried there....we do what we need to do.
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Reply to angelaK
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I'd ask the facility to not call you to address the issue. Unless, it's an emergency, they should be able to handle all the things you say they call you about. I'd ask her doctor about medication for anxiety and obsessions. Why can't you agree to take her to the grave, next weekend and then every week it's next weekend. How would she know the difference? I would expect her to eventually forget about it.
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Reply to Sunnygirl1
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Tell her, "We went to the grave yesterday and left beautiful flowers." Ask her if she remembers her mother's favorite flowers and when she does tell her, "Those are exact flowers we left.."
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Reply to donkeehote
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Can you go put flowers on the grave, take a pic and show mom “we did this yesterday what a wonderful selection of flowers you picked out”. Maybe having the photo on hand would help mom?!???
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Reply to Cmthatcher
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Is she asking about her mom first? Then being told that mom has passed? Or does the grave location come up all by itself? Is staff at the facility being instructed to tell her the truth?

You cannot reason with dementia. There would be no reason to tell mom if she asks about her mom to tell her the truth.

I would give the facility direction on the sorts of responses they should provide when mom asks questions when the truth will upset her. If this is a memory care facility I am surprised that they are even trying to reason with her. They would know that the brain is broken and is not able to process information.
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Reply to gladimhere
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Can you find a grave near home that she can visit?
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Reply to MsRandall
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One post said to write out a note to put on the wall beside her bed saying something like 'You agreed with your daughter that you would both wait to do the trip until she can get some time off work'. That helped the staff, who had the note to read out (particularly helpful if it's not always the same staff member). It was enough to settle Mom down at the time. It might be worth a try.
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
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Can you tell her that her mother was cremated and her ashes are in an urn? Maybe buy something that looks like an urn, but can't be opened, and put it in her room at the facility. It might make her feel closer to her mother.
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Reply to sudalu
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