MIL thinks husband just died. He died years ago. How do we respond without disregarding her reality?

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She is angry with family for not coming to help. She is in a nursing home and is being tested for a urinary tract infection again. But in the meantime, do we keep reminding her that her husband died years ago which seems to make her angry, or do we go with her reality and comfort her...but then we can't follow up by having a funeral (because he died 25 years ago) so what is the best way to respond to give her some peace.

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I'd keep everything pretty vague, but wouldn't correct her. Perhaps saying "They're delayed by bad weather, but everything is being taken care of" might help.
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The nursing staff said to me "Let dementia be your friend" which means use the aspects of dementia to help soothe the person. Say something like We thought we would wait until after Christmas for the funeral. Or offer to collaborate on writing an obituary so she can reminisce about what a wonderful guy he was. Distraction, redirection are in order, not confrontation.
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I've experienced something similar and Eyerishlass is right. Whether it's a delusion from UTI or dementia, it's not something that will respond to reason. What I learned to do was to comfort. I would not encourage the delusion, but I would quickly point out, that the problem had been corrected. Maybe the phone was not working and the family could not reach her. Their car broke down and they couldn't get there in time. They had the flu and couldn't come, I'd make any excuse to appease her, all the while telling her that all had been straightened out and now things were in the works. Normally, assurances that now everything is on track worked with my loved one.

It's unlikely she will move to the step of demanding a funeral. If so, I would keep saying the plans were in progress. I'd just keep making assurances she now had all of the family's support.

She may suddenly move to a new matter. Then, I would not mention it again unless she revisits it.
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When you tell MIL that her husband died 25 years ago and she gets angry I think that part of that anger comes from fear when she realizes that she doesn't remember. If she thinks that he just recently died go with that and let her think that her family didn't come to help. That's the lesser of two evils in my opinion. Keeping MIL calm is the first priority. Say what you have to say to keep her calm. You can tell her that he was at peace when he died, that he didn't suffer. Fudge the timing if you think that will help. Instead of 25 years ago make it more recent. That might help alleviate MIL's fear and anger.

However, if her dementia is this advanced, nothing you tell her is really going to make sense to her and you'll have to keep reminding her over and over. I don't think there's one explanation that will satisfy her enough to where she doesn't bring it up again.

This is a tough situation and I'm sorry you have to go through this. I'm sorry your MIL has to go through it as well.
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