Should I withhold bad/sad news from my Mom (91)? - AgingCare.com

Should I withhold bad/sad news from my Mom (91)?

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I was notified that my Mom's 89 yr. old sister just died. They were very close. I let my Mom know and now I wonder if I've put her health in jeopardy by telling her. They had not been in touch recently due to declining health for both of them. Should I of just not said anything?

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Sorry didn't read all the way through. If your mom brings it up, divert the conversation. No rights or wrongs.....just divert-pretty soon she will stop asking.... Sorry, I did the same thing with my mom, that's why I answered as such. She will stop asking. Just tell her sis loves her very much...
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Will your mom understand? Does she ask about sister much? Tell her auntie is away for awhile and she she she loves you, and hope to see you soon. I don't think she really needs know....I didn't tell my aunt that my other aunt passed.... What's the point? They don't talk to each other they live in other states..... Auntie doesn't ask about her other sister. My dad passed a few years ago, so I take care of auntie in my State.
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It depends on your Mom's state of mind and level of dementia (if any). If she is having trouble remembering dates, people's names, recognizing loved ones, etc - then it might be better not to have told her.

Here's a scenario for you - true story:
My father had one sister and one brother. Dad passed away in January 2013, and our cousins, who cared for his brother, were reluctant to tell him. We, as a family, insisted that he be informed. It was a mistake. My uncle was in the later stages of dementia with severe short-term memory loss and couldn't remember or recognize any family members if he saw them. He would light up with delight and happiness if we visited and told him who we were, but 10 minutes later, would ask who we were again. He spent his last months asking when his brother would visit again...then he would say, "Did he die? He died, didn't he.", and he would cry and relive the loss of his brother all over again. It was horrible, and we wish now that we had never told him. My uncle became very depressed and withdrawn...then his leg had to be amputated due to his diabetes and he passed away about 2 months later - only 10 months after my father died. So we lost them both in the same year, and I am convinced that if we had not told my uncle about my dad's death, he might have held on a little longer. He was heartbroken.

I wish we could have talked with you before you told your Mom about her sister. My hope for you (and her) is that she forgets you told her, and will go back to normal. I would definitely do as otehrs have suggested here - if she brings it up or seems to be depressed over it, take out old photo albums or momentos of her younger days and have some good times remembering, and try to blot out the fact that her sister is gone. Help her remember the good times.
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Maybe you can help your mom process the loss of her sister by recalling good memories and focusing on her overall long life and their relationship. Living to 89 is a good long life.

Your mom may also be feeling her own mortality with the passing of her sister. That may be a part of her sadness. It's tough, but there's not much you can do about that.
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Thank-you all for your prompt responses!!

My Mom told me today that she was dreaming about her sister all last night and she said she woke up crying. She sounded like she had been crying too. I feel so bad for her.
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Gershun, you did the right thing telling your Mom about her sister's passing. You need to remember that once someone is in their 90's the age related decline will start to accelerate, bad news or not.

Last year my Mom [at that time 96] learned her sister [100] had passed on... Mom took the news ok, but I have noticed this year she has slowed down a lot but I had to keep reminding myself that she is now 97, that is going to happen.
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i think a 91 yr old person has had lots of discouraging news in their lifetime . you could destroy a lifetime of trust by witholding something that crucial from your mother . in her 91 yr old state of mind she needs to be able to trust her daughter / carer with her very life .
doc wanted to get my mom to a prescribing phsyc docs only days before her death . mom refused and i refused to trick or deceive her . had i deceived her there would have been no one else she could rely on for the truth . she put her well being in my hands because im honest . i took that as one h*ll of a compliment .
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I think people have a right to information as long as they are able to process it. If your mom had dementia that would be very different, IMO. Sparing her pain does sound good, but what if she wondered why she never heard from her sister? For her to find out from someone else months later, it might really hurt her. You did what you thought was right. I wouldn't beat myself up about it.
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I think I would have told her, once. I would answer questions truthfully after that. I would not dwell on it or repeat the news. But who knows if that is the "right" approach.

In any case, you can't go back and untell her. Just watch her behavior and attitude and comfort her as appropriate. Also don't be surprised if she just doesn't seem to remember this bit of news.
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