This behavior started a few months ago. Initially, when I would mention his death (which she remembers) she would momentarily bounce back to reality and cover with “I guess I don’t want to believe he’s not alive.” It’s now gotten to be a 24/7 obsession and although she knows he’s dead, she also has strong delusions of him sleeping in her bed or seeing him at dinner. I cannot even tell white lies because she is angry that he left without leaving a note. It’s gotten so bad she now waits up all night near the door waiting for him to come home. I’m not sleeping and I’m at wits end on how to deal with this.

Write her a note from him. If she would recognize your hand writing as not being his, type it and say he had do something at work so someone typed it.

The goal is entirely focused on her comfort, so whatever you think would comfort her is fine.

If she has been diagnosed with dementia, neither you nor she are really able to know what she knows or doesn’t know at any given moment, so you have to be prepared to turn on a dime to provide comfort whatever turn she takes.

If her doctor isn’t aware that this is happening it’s something he or she should be told. A trial of medication may be needed.

Hope you will be able to work through this with her.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to AnnReid

Hi exhausted. I feel ya girl. Mom does the samething. Dad passed away 25yrs ago. She has been asking about him about 4 months now.I finally thought about telling her dad works a night shift & will pick her up in the morning. By morning she has forgotten. It's like a reset button. Try showing your mom a text message that"he" sent while she was bathing or other wise busy that says something reassuring. I don't fine its a lie, I do it to stop her from feel bad. I also put locks on the top of the door so she doesn't leave the house at nite. Hope this helps.
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Reply to Nanny2020

I agree with Ann, it sounds like she might be suffering from a form of dementia. In some patients delusions are one of the symptoms. In the meantime, I would suggest that you provide a soft, cuddly blanket or stuffed animal for her to hug when she was missing him. Let her remember the warm embraces and let her know that she is so loved. I give my spouse Tylenol PM (checked with dr. first) to help him sleep. We are in the 12th year of AL and are just beginning to have complex problems. My husband is an example of early detection and proper medication, meditation, vitamins and lots of water - it has given us precious time together that many others do not have. Maybe she can lie down on the sofa while she is cuddled up with blanket???? For all the caregivers/family members bunches of hugs and kisses to you all. Give yourself a hug. Remember the disease is the enemy not your loved one.
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Reply to LNReason

Go along with the fantasy; perhaps you can write a card or short note from him, addressed to your mother. Say I love you dear and miss you so much, but you know I have my business deal in another country/ family issue in another state...whatever you think might make sense to her. If she’s capable of writing, she can put her thoughts down in a return letter to him, and maybe you can gain more insight concerning her complex feelings towards him. It seems as though she might realize that he’s deceased, but not thoroughly grasping the concept.
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Reply to gemswinner12

I have learned that telling my mom that my dad is “ok” is better than her reliving his death daily. Try to divert the conversation by offering a treat or something else your mom enjoys. Playing old music she likes or old movies she used to watch has helped me “get a break”. Even if it’s only temporary, just try these suggestions for comforting her. Hope this helps
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Reply to Stephy442

Get more creative with lying. It's the kindest thing to do.

Imagine what would provide you comfort if your dear spouse abandoned you because, in her mind, that is what has actually happened.

Maybe say, "Dad will be back tomorrow. He misses you so much. He's furious that he had to be away."

Continuously reminding a dementia sufferer that their loved one is dead is torture. Imagine getting that news over and over again.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to IsntEasy

My mom had this exact same delusion several months ago. She was also made at him for not speaking to her and ignoring her. Turns out it was a bladder infection and it went away with medication.
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Reply to gthoennes

My mom has dementia since 2010 and is 96, her thing is her mom and dad. Where are they, I want to live with them take care of them, etc,,,,
My older sister were letting her know at first they had passed.
But I have found that if we let her know there doing fine it eases her mind a bit..they are in Montreal mom...its snowing up there now...yes l will do that,,,let's ask them to come visit after the weather clears up.
She will then start talking about her dad working in shoes factory repairing machines,,,how her mom does not speech French,,,she her long term memories are stories I will listen to over and over... )
But every day I will knock and introduce myself as Patty your daughter, and Dolce my dog. She loves my dog.

Redirecting and and telling her this is what we are going to do this now helps her to keep moving through the days.
She is in a home for her safety, we communicate with her through phone, facetime, letters and she loves to talk...if she is not talking we know something is up...

I know you will find away that works for your mom, good luck.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to TrishM

Don't let her nap during the day to see if she will sleep all night. If that won't work, ask dr about medication to help her sleep at night...and continue to limit the day time naps. Some people have very good results with melatonin - ask dr about that.

You do need to get your own rest.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to my2cents

So at some point, she did realize that he was gone but apparently her mind has changed. There may be no point in putting her through the pain of the truth - a little fib may be best, e.g. "he went to see his relative," or something along those lines. I wouldn't think that you would want to go to the level of leaving a faux note, written by you, but as time goes on - who knows, you may. Just a thought.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Llamalover47
Arwen31 Mar 26, 2020
I was thinking the very same... love letters from another country? :)
I don't know if this is ethical, but it's certainly love.
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