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Any ideas on what to say to her? She has had dementia for about four years and it's getting much worse (she can't remember eating or to wear a coat outside etc) She is driving them crazy and constantly asks to go back to her apartment which is being dismantled and is no longer available. The son told her there are no flights back to NY but the rest of the family triest to convince her that she can't fly alone without a medical waiver which she simply ignores. I told them to make up something else. Any suggestions? She packs her suitcase and sends pleading mail to me and others.


Thanks, Judy

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Perhaps simply stop writing to her, and if you can contact the other people she contacts in NY, get them to stop too. You can still stay in contact with her family, but they can say to her that everyone in NY has moved away/ no longer remembers her/ any other story they can think of. It sounds cruel, but it might eventually give her something else to focus on. And it would help her family, who are doing the best they can for her.
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skyelav Oct 8, 2018
Thank you so much. Your thoughtful answer was right to the point and that's what's needed for the people who refuse to stop writing (one neighbor said "It would be like abandoning her and my religion says that's a sin.") and for the family who have no idea how to lie. They, especially her sister, are a bit over their heads and edging towards burnout. I really appreciated your reply and I cut and pasted it into an email and sent it off right away.
JSL
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You need to stop writing her as the family wishes. She will eventually forget NY. Her mind will go back in time maybe even as far as living back in Indonesia. She isn't going to listen to them. Her brain is dying. She may soon not even be able to write. You are just making it hard for the family.
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skyelav Oct 8, 2018
Thank you so much, and as I said to Margaret (whose post I read first) i totally agree and needed to have some support for me and something to mail to the others. Thanks JSL
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Is this the same lady whose family took her home to Indonesia? The family who asked for no contact from her friends here in the US? Are you going against the famiy’s wishes and writing to her anyway? If you write back, do not say a word about her coming back. Don’t encourage her. It will only make it more difficult on her family. Her brain is broken, as we say.

Let the family deal with it and don’t interfere. This is a very difficult and trying time for them. Don’t make it more difficult. Support her family. Under no circumstances make any plans with her to come back here, even ‘fake” ones.
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skyelav Oct 8, 2018
Yes, and my rewording of the question got these three helpful replies. I am not writing her back, although I had a slip the other day and wrote that it was very hot in NY (she misses winter) which promoted a barrage of mail to me . Very sad mail making plans to come home. Thanks for the reminder not to even think of making "fake" plans which I might have done. I am a MA Art Therapist but not having worked with elders I am just a beginner here.
thank you so much, JSL
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