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This is highly individual, but you have tried the truth and it upsets him, so it may be time to start saying something to the effect that his mother is happy and, depending on your/his spiritual beliefs, you could say she is "with grandma and grandpa" or something of that kind.

Some would argue that you should just keep telling him she died, but I personally would try to find a way to tell him he "will see her again" or something, because I don't see the point in distressing him when he can't understand. He is reliving her death every time.

It's a decision you'll have to make. Know that whatever you decide, you are not alone. This is very common as Alzheimer's progresses, as people "go back in years." Many start asking for their parents. You've got lots of company in this agonizing choice.

Keep checking in. We know it's hard.

Helpful Answer (48)

How I approach it with my families and staff is many different ways. There is a technique you can use called a "therapeutic lie." What I mean by this is instead of bringing your loved one into your reality take yourself into their current reality. If they think it is 1940 in Oklahoma and a tornado is coming then that is where you are. The other way I phrase it to families and staff is to enter their reality where ever they may be. If your husband asks a question about his mom that leads you to believe that he thinks she is alive try redirection(diverting his attention to something else), reminiscing (asking memory type questions about his mom;for example: Tell me about the time you and your mom went to the baseball game together) or the therapuetic lie technique (For example: your mom is on vacation, at the store, things that his mom would have done while she was living. Always keep enter their reality where ever they may be in your mind and then you will not feel like you are lying to your loved one.
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Yes, my father would ask me where's your momma ? I told him shes in heaven well it shocked him and he would go in depressions . So I decided from then on I would tell him she's sleeping and he would smile and say oh she must be tired, I said yes she's tired dad .. and it's good to see him smile rather than be all heartbroken. At another time I would just ask him where he thinks she is? He said oh she's probably at home resting. Yeah dad I think so too.
Don't say she died, it would hurt him and he'll feel all alone ...
Helpful Answer (62)

Thanks for all of your input on this - but telling him she is still somewhere is better than saying she is dead. That hurts any of us. But this time he fooled me and asked for the phone book to look up her number. They aren't all there, but they are if you know what I mean.
Helpful Answer (28)

I have had it suggested to me to lovingly engage in therapeutic lying. Kindness is the greatest wisdom.
A dementia expert said, "When a person with dementia is looking for a specific person who is deceased you can say something like, "if I see him/her, I will tell him/her you are waiting for him/her." That is sweet and I suppose if you did see a deceased person and could talk to him/her then you most certainly would! Good luck.
Helpful Answer (23)

My mom and I have always been very close. There have been no lies between us. When we started this journey she told me never to lie. My mom is still pretty high functioning. She has short term memory loss, some long term memory loss and some confusion on occasion confined to the evening time. Occasionally when she is having a rough evening she will ask me tough questions. At first I would tell her the truth because that was her wish. Now I kind of gauge the circumstance and many times opt for the white lie. I have also become expert at redirecting her. I couldn't stand hurting her over and over again, so I shield her from the bad things when I can. Remember, this news is completely new to them and so the pain they experience is just as fierce as when it first happened. If it can be avoided, I say avoid hurting them. They have enough confusion and pain in their lives.
Helpful Answer (20)

Yes, sometimes i wonder if dad is playing games with me to see what I would say. Ahh I dont know. I just tell him she's sleeping, resting, who knows maybe I'll tell him she went to Walmart then next time he asks haha.
Helpful Answer (19)

My mother does this. I tell her everybody is fine. She thinks her mother, dad, and my brother are still alive. They died years ago. My job is to keep her as calm and happy as possible in her condition. I have prayed about this. I agree with what she says. It is more humane. Her nerves are better and so are mine.
Helpful Answer (18)

i find that changing the subject works. Ask him about the time that she .... or the fact that it is raining outside. Just about anything. The questions still keep coming, but it gets to be a game.
Helpful Answer (14)

Yes. Why make him relive that over and over. Each time as traumatic as the first. His mind is diseased. That is cruel to keep doing that.
Just say she is sleeping. It's true. That is probably good enough. Then redirect.
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