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My dad's wife left when she couldn't take care of him and his dementia. He has some things like a postcard and photo of her. At first he was always asking about her. I kept telling him she was with her daughter to be taken care of like how I'm taking care of him. He hasn't asked in a while, but I see him every few days with those items as he talks to himself. Would it be best to take them away so he can forget her since it makes him miss her, or is it better to let him keep them?

Does it really upset him, I mean like crying, etc?  if so, I would hide them when he is not looking.  OR you can just keep telling him she had to go run some errands or had to visit with her sick daughter.  and then change the subject (sometimes it works, other times not so much).  wishing you luck.
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Reply to wolflover451
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My mom gazes at pictures of her "husband," a high school boyfriend she never saw after he moved away in 1946 and who has been dead since 2009. She never mentions my dad or looks at his pictures in her room, and they were married for 66 years.

I wouldn't dream of taking away the imaginary husband's pictures, even though I hate that this guy took my dad's place in her heart. Her reality is that he's with her, and my reality isn't relevant.

Let your dad have the pictures.
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Reply to MJ1929
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Imho, let him keep the items.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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If these items are not causing him upset and/or anxiety, let him keep them. If he's just looking at them, talking to her through them and remembering the good times, no harm.

My mother had a collection of pictures she brought to MC with her. She would often cycle through them. I bought a small photo album to put them in, to protect them for her. For quite some time, she would go through the pix, remembering her brother and sisters, but at some point these were left on the dresser and she hasn't really touched them since (closing in on 4 years at MC.)

She is the last one left of that generation, both sides of the family and what friends haven't passed on are likely too old, frail or sick to visit, so it's all she had, besides me and the staff. I was afraid I would be forgotten, since we're not allowed to visit (since mid-March), but when someone asked about us kids, she did mention me and ALL those CATS! So, she hasn't forgotten yet!

You could test, as JoAnn29 suggested, perhaps ask for them, saying you're going to put them in an album for him to protect them and see what happens. If he gets antsy and is looking for them, do give them back. It might be some kind of solace for him.
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Reply to disgustedtoo
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I am on the fence here. I see what others are saying but if he gets upset looking at these pictures and keeps asking where she is, thats not good for him. Since she left, maybe its a good reason to take them away. She didn't die, she left.

Remove them and see what happens. If he asks for them, give them back. It might be an out of sight out of mind thing.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Deffiently Not.
He has a right to mourn the loss and as far as he knows, she's just being taken care of like like him.

Even with pictures, With Dementia, He'll eventually forget anyway, so, don't worry about it.

Juse let him reminese the good times and thoughts and never talk bad about his wife.

Too bad she couldn't at least visit him once in a while, which hopefully she knows she is welcomed to do so for your Dad. Even if you don't like her for leaving
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Reply to bevthegreat
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Davenport Oct 19, 2020
Agree with you except that I disagree with taking the leap to suggest the ex-wife should visit. It may be the case, but his daughter knows him best, even with his dementia behaviors. Even if dad's ex/estranged wife did visit, it may well upset dad terribly, because it would confuse him to no end; also, if her presence triggered him to believe she's 'back now', he may unduly fret for gosh knows how long about why she doesn't come the next day, and the next day, and so on. This opinion is mine alone; I learned from 6 years of caretaking, the more simply and smoothly 'everything' ran, mom was fine. But anything unexpected or out of her daily simple routine was very stressful for her.
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Please do not try to erase his past; he will forget in time. He needs time to grieve the loss of this relationship. Since he has dementia, focus on making sure dad remains safe and healthy.
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Reply to Taarna
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I tell my grandkids when they say "we are going to miss you PaPa", just remember you still have the memories. Keep the good ones and throw away the bad.
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Reply to Carespeakerone1
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I would remove anything that causes anxiety or upsets him.
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Reply to Gr8fuel
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Let him keep them. Let his heart stay full with love and good memories. Can’t believe his wife broke those vows. For better or worse.
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Reply to Mahogany
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Davenport Oct 19, 2020
Regarding the wife 'breaking the vows'--I think it's wasted energy to resent the wife; it's done/water under the bridge, etc. As his caretaker, my only focus and energy would be to keep him as safe and serene as possible. To me, that's my only role as caretaker, and my sticking to that like glue, I'll never have any regrets. Namaste!
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if I were your dad I would be unhappy if someone removed my photos, even if the subject was painful and I fully remembered and understood that pain.

Regardless, It is therapeutic for someone with dementia to look at photos of the past.
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Reply to ACaringDaughter
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No, I would not remove them. He may have transferred his communication from her to pictures of hers, items of hers. I would leave well enough alone.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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Beevans1981 Oct 15, 2020
Thanks for your advice. I'll leave them alone.
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