kirby Asked November 2009

My 82 y.o. mom wants her mom who passed 30 years ago and gets agitated because I can't accommodate. Why does she do this and what do I say?

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EXPERT Carol Bradley Bursack Nov 2009
This is normal for dementia. Your mom is living in the past and she is young again, in her mind. I know it's not easy, but it's very common.

Try to distract her to other things if you can. Sometimes, it helps to say, "You'll see her soon." Then you move quickly on to something else.

Telling her her mom is dead will be like telling a young child her mom is dead. She won't understand and she will grieve. Anything you can do to distract her will help.
Carol
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195Austin Dec 2009
I think my husband was starting to get ALZ he was starting to make weir comments so I am lucky I was spared that but did see plenty as a nurse so I feel sorry for all of you living with that on a daly basis and not able to leave when the shift was over-God bless you and may God give you an extra measure of strength and God bless you with a sense of humor you help us all in this walk on earth.
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ksue5036 Nov 2009
My mom ask for Dad everyday . He died 20 yrs. ago. I tell her he is a work and that works . She also wants to go meet my son at the bus stop. He is 19 and in college . So I tell her it is not time yet. She ask for your sister and they have been gone for yrs. also. You just have to tell her something that will comfort her. Like they are at the store or church.Good luck. I hope it works.
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I agree with the previous 2 posts. They live more in the past than in the present. I see this happening to my mother she has skipped our childhoods altogether, not hard as she wasn't there then either LOl so it is all about her growing up and what she did and her parents and etc etc I just let her talk and that is that which is hard because thats all I heard growing up but I am not arguing over such she will get worse as time goes on she does not take care what the doc tells her or how I try to help her she knows more than any of us so I just let her be I expect she will have a major stroke or heart attack and I will find her dead in the bed that she so loves to stay in.
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hapfra Nov 2009
Hi Kirby, Yes it does sound your Mom is living in the past, as said previously. I went through a similiar situation, and I use to tell my Mom a theraputic fiblit, or I was ovasive with an answer. For the most part, this did work, and perhaps this is something you may want to consider doing. Hopefully, this is a helpful tip.
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minalisew Nov 2009
Many seniors who have dementia do live in the past as has been mentioned here. One thing that sometimes helps is putting together a photo album of old pictures of the people she is thinking about, the house they used to live in, places they used to go, etc. You can do this with a traditional photo album or even the digital type that look like a computer screen and "flips through" a set of photos. And I agree that sometimes the kindest thing to do is to fib a bit and say "she's not here now, but let's look at these pictures until she comes home...." and distract her in that way. Good luck.
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I read some of your posts and you seem "normal" to me my mother won't even let me have a picture of her I've been trying for 25 years she keeps everything a secret its hers mine mine mine has always been that way but my sister told me at one point my mothere threw eery picture of me awy and cut me out of the ones she wanted to keep well that hurt me deeply at the time and there are some pictures of me with my siblings we would all like to have but to late now. So I think that is why she won't let me look at the pictures and reminise her loss, but that is a great idea.
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I feel for you. My mother does the same thing. And we can be sitting at the table eating and she will look at me and say, "Did we tell mama what time we'd be home?" I never get quite used to it and know that I still have a funny look on my face, but I just tell her that we're staying until tomorrow. I used to try to explain that her mother was not alive anymore or in heaven, but it is so much easier for her to just pretend. My dad died a year ago and she still calls out for him during the night and asks where he is. I always just make up something and start talking about something else.
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lmw124 Nov 2009
About six months ago, my mom thought she had dialed a telephone number and she had talked with my father who passed away 15 years ago. She kept asking me "did I really talk with him on the phone? What number did a dial that I was able to talk to him in heaven?". Also, last year, when my mom's boyfriend died, she kept asking "did he really die?", for a couple of months every day she would ask about him, even though she went to the funeral and the viewing. She is convinced of it now, but it took about six months before it sunk in.

Usuaully what I would do is gently try to explain that he had died. Then I would distract her and turn on a TV program that she enjoyed or try to get her to go outside for a walk.

She related a lot of stories from her past, hard to know if they were all true and correct, but I enjoyed my time with my mother hearing about her childhood and her mother and father. I guess for me it was more interesting because I do a lot of genealogy work for my family and it gave me a lot of clues. Now that she is in the nursing home the only stories I hear are complaints or tales about how horrible the nursing home is.
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