After two months, my parents are still adjusting to memory care. I need to sell the house and their cars. I will start the process in May.
I am not sure what to do regarding telling them or not. I want to be honest, but I don't want to traumatize them again or repeat it.

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If your parents have dementia and are in MC due to this and memory impairment, there is no point in telling them the truth, since it will most likely upset them and they may ask you every day, so Groundhog's Day. Tell them the house is fine then change the subject immediately to something else. Whenever they go back to the subject, keep changing it. Dementia robs people of their abilities to work from reason and logic so they cannot come to grips with this change or comfort themselves about it. Therefore, it is merciful to tell them therapeutic fibs about the house and coming home. You will only exhaust yourself revisiting this every day.

When we moved my MIL into AL she kept insisting on being taken back but we told her the HOA was making extensive repairs, or we couldn't do it that day but later in the week. Eventually she stopped asking.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to Geaton777

It has nothing to do with being honest or has to do with what they can handle intellectually and emotionally. They are in memory care because they are not in their right mind and no longer have the mental capacity to care for themselves or keep themselves safe. That doesn't sound like someone you want to have a financial conversation with....

Just take care of their finances as necessary and keep the dirty details to yourself. Sometimes folks with dementia get on what I call "auto-loop" and ask the same question over and over again. If they keep asking about their home and cars, just tell them not to worry and that you are taking care of everything for them. Then change the subject and ask them a question. It's a little nippy today, do you want to wear the blue sweater or the brown one?

No different than dealing with a small child. Keep the conversation appropriate for what they can handle.
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Reply to Jamesj

Be aware, the house and cars have to be sold at Market and Blue book value if your parents need Medicaid in the future. The proceeds can only be used on Mom and Dad. No large gifting.

I would not tell them. Like said fib.
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Reply to JoAnn29

Do not tell her. Will it improve her life to know that you sold her house? I can't imagine it would do anything but upset her and for what end? Nope. For example, I just went on vacation to a place that mom always came. Due to her dementia it was obvious that last year was going to be the last time. But I did not feel it would be very nice to rub it in her face that one more thing was being taken from her. She doesn't know we went without her and that's the way it's going to stay.

Best of luck.
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Reply to againx100

neelloc, time to bring out the "therapeutic fibs". I had found these types of fibs a Godsend when answering my parents. If I had told them what was really going on it would have upset them, and why do that.

Tell them the electricity is off and the power company is working on it but it could take weeks. Tell them the water is off. Tell them the street is being dug up for repaving and it will take awhile.

As for current home vs. childhood home, that's a tough call. I use to think my Mom, who was in a nursing home, was talking about the house where my Dad was still living that they had shared for decades. Until my Mom asked if Dad had put the cows in the pasture. Ah ha, it was Mom's childhood home that she was asking about and the Dad was her own Dad.

So I quickly had to use the fibs again, so not to upset Mom. Any time Mom {90+] would ask to go visit her parents, I would tell her "they are visiting the old country" and that put a smile on Mom's face, as in her mind she remembered how much her parents love to visit the relatives overseas.

Then Mom would ask to visit her siblings [all of whom had passed on], so I had to quickly do a fib that Mom would believe. Again, more smiles :)
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Reply to freqflyer

Well, I guess it depends on the following:
Are they ever, ever gonna come back to that home? are they ever, ever gonna be driving those cars again? When I took the car away from my Daddy I was the worst daughter ever! Maybe my soul is hard but I didn't care. I knew he was ill and his memory was fading. I would not feel right if he was driving and killed some one and I could have stopped it. While he was in the memory care he asked about his car and I showed him pictures of it. I told him I had just washed it and it was not as shiny as he could have done but when he comes home he can clean it again. He never physically saw that car again and never came home. He's gone now and I know he is looking down knowing in his right mind that I did the right thing. Many think its wrong to say these fibs but is it fair to tell my daddy that yes I sold your beloved car and you will never drive it again. He would have been sad and heart broken at least he had some sort of hope even though it was false hope. And besides maybe he's driving around in heaven in his dream car! :)
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Reply to Ohwow323

(No matter what, you might want to hold off on talking about it for a few months if you can, by using fiblets--It took my mom about 3 months to get a routine, about 6 months to settle in. By then she just kind of accepted the move.)

Are they understanding that MC is their new home?
If so, then tell them that no-one was in the house, you can't rent it, and they were losing money maintaining it, so it makes sense to sell it so they can pay their rent at their new place.

If they don't understand the need for MC or why they're there, then deploy the fiblets, determining what doesn't upset them. Sometimes that's going to be you telling them that the car is in the shop...always.
This is not an honesty or respect issue, this is determining what information is helpful to share with a person who, along with their memory has lost their ability to process information. They can no longer use reasoning and good judgement, or have insight regarding the need for decisions to be made on their behalf. People with dementia may forget conversations, but they retain emotions, especially negative ones. If finding out their house is going to be sold agitates them, then adjust the story to what they can handle.
Alternatively, you can decide to tell the truth and have the same circular conversation each time, but if you've already placed them, I'm guessing you know how that will go. I do disagree with those who say that telling the truth to a person with anosognosia is best. It's not kind or loving to tell the 'truth' over and over to a person who is not mentally capable of processing the information, when that information upsets them or exacerbates their feelings of loss.
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Reply to ElizabethY

I guess I’m lucky my Dad forgot about his house 4 days after he left it. We sold it 6 months later. He only remembers homes of his youth and wants to go back there. I do explain that neighborhood is no longer safe and his home is no longer standing. He just says “that can’t be!” I’m all in favor of fibbing. It’s just too upsetting for them.
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Reply to SueZ1250

My husband, who died in January, never asked, but if he had, I would not have told him. One person said to tell the truth, as they will find out eventually. Not true. Dementia is progressive, irreversible, loss of reasoning and memory. I had thought of bringing him to our house in the country, but never did. Why bring up separations? I did take him to the Arnold Arboretum when he could still look at and enjoy the plantings. So much good advice here, about evading the question or telling lies. Right on.
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Reply to Octogenarian

Personally, I wouldn't tell them. If they keep asking how their house is, tell them it's fine. It's not a fib, but you're not providing a bunch of upsetting details about selling it.

My mother would have absolutely lost it if she'd known her beloved home of 50+ years was being sold. As it turned out, we didn't sell it until after she died, but her questions about it stopped pretty quickly after she moved to a nursing home.

My biggest mistake was taking her to it just once when she and I were heading home from lunch one day, we both had to go to the bathroom, and the house was closer than her nursing home. That quick stop to go to the bathroom turned into 90 minutes of her wandering through the house weeping, and I never took her back.

Like many things in dementia (telling someone a spouse has died, for example), the reality of these upsetting events feel like the first time for them and they're just devastated.
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Reply to MJ1929

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