Despite father dying in 1978, my 83-year-old mother with dementia is adamant about my father coming to get her and getting remarried. What should we say to her?

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My 83 y/o mom has dementia and now she is adamant about my father coming to get her and remarry. My father died in 1978. At the beginning my sister and I tried to remind her of his death and her parents' death, but to no avail. What should we do? Go along with her? Reiterate regarding their deaths? She gets so very sad and even cries because she says her parents have been around and not come to see her. Please, any help will be appreciated. Thank you

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Go along with it. Help her plan the wedding. It will never happen but it will keep her happy and you less stressed. Sounds like her short term memory is gone so why not live in the past if it makes everyone happier.
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hi Maggie... I wouldn't get stressed out about it. It is just the moment she is in... go along with her, ask her if she is ready, happy, start a conversation.

If he doesn't show up, ask her where he might be, it will tell you what time period she is it.

Having dementia she most likely won't recall it and you can do it again the next time. Time is short, go with the flow... one story leads to another and you might enjoy it... you are making memories.
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Ruth1957 you are SO right on! I have been thru this for a couple of years now, and been to alz support groups along with learning so much from her daycare. You Absolutely Go Along With Them, Lying is Kind! This was so hard to learn but once when I tried to tell her the truth she screamed and cried and denied my dad had died, it was horrible. Finally she calmed down she soon again asked me "wheres Dad, whens he coming home?" Then I knew, lying is right, the daycare does it all day long and the alz Motto is "The Customer is Always Right" if we agree with everything they say, we are much better off. Every single night Mom and I go into her room to wait for Dad, who's been gone 15 years, and she gets so tired, she lays down and falls asleep, Its sad but just her thinking he is coming , helps her so much, The next morning she forgot it all and is happy again until it hits again with sundowners. She also starts sometimes with "my mom wants me to come home" and I tell her we have to eat and take our pills before you go, i tell her over and over, we live in the moment, and then she forgets or falls asleep, Sometimes she cries. You should see the people in the window of the daycare ALL waiting for their deceased husbands, wives, or mothers that they are waiting for. I come in and they ask me if I saw them, and I tell them they are on their way and they smile so happily. Live and learn , our poor parents, so confused, and just little lies with lots of redirection and hugs goes a Long Way. Good luck, I really hope I helped.
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Here's an idea gleaned from a recent training.

"Mom, you must really love Dad. Tell me something you love about him." If she says he's coming home soon and they're getting remarried, ask if she'd like a nice shampoo and hairstyle to get ready.

As to her parents - one of the ideas the trainer gave was lying. Sounds harsh, but it's actually kind. "Mom, your mom and dad called and said not to worry - they're fine, and they're sorry they haven't been able to visit. They love you so much. You must be a wonderful daughter to them. It sounds like they are very proud of you, and they want to be sure you're okay."
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I just wanted to let ED know how much I appreciate his insight. This response is the one that seems to resonate with me the most of all the responses to all the various questions on this site that I have seen. A platinum star to you ED. How very compassionate and insightful. Yes it's all about perception isn't it?Thank you!

Philip.
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My mom had Alzheiemer's and went through this. What worked for us was to not argue her and to go along with it. I recently write a book about loving & caring for a parent with Alzheimer's and interviewed over one hundred other sons & daughters who had cared for their parent. They, too, recommended just going along with it and not arguing with them.

In your mother's mind, and her current reality, what she's saying makes sense and IS her reality. No amount of talking or rationalization or arguing is going to change that. And if it gives her a certain amount of comfort and peace, I would just let it be.

Best of luck and warm hugs ~
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Don't get stuck on what's factually accurate or not [no, he's dead... yes he's coming....]. Do focus on what's emotionally accurate. That's the "truth" we (all!) most want mirrored: "You miss him, don't you...." "Yes it would be wonderful if he came.... "I can tell that you have good memories of him..."
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I have talked and listened to many dementia care homes and experts.................most times the answer I have heard is to "go along with her" - that it's much more upsetting to her to relive his being dead.
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MAGGIE:

Rats! ... I wish I had a rational answer for this one, but I don't. I'm sure you've told her many times he's been gone for 32 years, but it's not registering. If she believes in God, tell her that when her time comes she'll reunite with her husband in Heaven to renew her vows. In other words, go along with her.

This is one of those situations when the thin membrane between reality and fantasy becomes blurred. Her perception is her reality, and so is yours; and mine. To many of us, she's demented. To her, it might be the other way around.

In my mind, she's the damsel in distress waiting to be rescued by the love of her life from a cynical, cruel world that doesn't make sense anymore.

In a nutshell, imagine yourself in her shoes. What would you do? What would you say?

-- ED
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my mother also has dementia. I find her talking about her mother who died when she was 12 all the time. Its like the past is the present. She has no short term memory left so I find it easier to just go along with her stories. It seems to calm her down when she talks about her mother and sisiters that have all passed. Don't know what to say about your mom's story, maybe if you went along with her it would make her happy for a little while. Don't know but wish you the best
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