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They've been married for 63 yrs. Everyday he asks where she is. I found him crying and asked him what was wrong. He said, "I know something happened to my wife. I think she's dead". We always tell him that she's at the store. She was the only person who could calm him down.

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My deepest condolences to you on the death of your mother, your father's wife.
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Can you speak with whomever is treating your Dad and ask for their help? Just give them the big ideas -- Mom died, sister moved in and took over Dad's bedroom, sister is preventing you and partner from providing care even though you have for years been the primary caregiver. Your sister delayed calling 911 for your mother's crisis and Mom died. You have concerns that she is going to deny help for your Dad now, and his faster progression into decline is making that a more urgent measure. What help can they point you to? Can they speak with Adult Protective Services, if you need them to, to attest to the fact that you have been his primary caretaker?
The police and most elder care professionals take very seriously what your sister is doing. It might even rise to the level of criminal behavior. Do not confront Sis on this without marshaling support.
You say she is the only family you have left. I disagree. Your family is your girlfriend and your father. Just because she shares your DNA doesn't mean you owe your sister a thing. Good luck! GET OUTSIDE SUPPORT TO HELP YOU stand up for your father. That is a different energy than standing up TO your sister.
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If your Q. is: "Should I tell my Dad?", then the answer is Yes! Never hide the truth. Let the chips fall where they may.
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Thank you all for your advice. Didn't realize how much worse my situation was. So much has happened since I first posted this question on my mother's passing, caused by my sister's failure to call the ambulance as soon as my mother had her stroke, which lead to her massive heart attack. Okay, yes, I'm definitely am feeling much hatred toward my sister's actions. My mom has only been gone since Jan, and she managed to wiggle her way into my parents home. Moved my "EX-FRIEND" into my parents home to care for my dad as "cheap labor", since this person was on the verge of being homeless. REMOVED ALL MY MOM'S BELONGINGS the week my mom passed without even asking me, since I was the one who purchased her clothing. She also gutted everything out that showed my mom's touch. She even removed my father's room, the only room my father could get into since it's the only room on the first floor, making it her PERSONAL OFFICE! I'm feeling so helpless! My dad looks so lost since he lost my mom and caregiver (who also is my life partner) my mom only allowed alone with my dad. My evil sister, became jealous of the relationship my partner and I shared with my parents, she told me my partner is no longer able to visit my father. I can't believe this is happening. Things have never been so ugly between my sister and I. The worst thing about this is that, my girlfriend cries everyday because she feels as if she's letting me deceased mother down. This is also affecting my father. He's not use to my sister and his new caregiver, since they know nothing about him. My sister was NEVER THERE FOR MY PARENTS! IT HAS ALWAYS ALWAYS BEEN MY PARTNER AND I! However, I have never been confrontational. She's my older sister and have NEVER STOOD UP TO HER! By me not standing up to my sister, my partner is feeling as if she meant nothing to her. My dad seems to have progressed in his dementia and Parkinsons so rapidly, I don't think he'll be much longer. But, besides my dad, my sister is all the family I have. What do I do?
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What a road we travel! My oldest and only sibling passed last Nov. Mom sensed that something was wrong with her in Oct. it was, Sis was in last stages of Pancreatic Cancer but all had agreed that giving our 87 and 96 yr old Middle Dementia Parents was too much for them to bare.

As time came nearer, I took Mom on a 6 hr ride to visit her daughter, Dad can’t travel. On the way, Mom told me that she feels that something was seriously wrong with “sis” and that death was near, she could smell funeral home flowers, I almost ran off the road. Mom also said, whatever it is I’m ok with it. Mom was able to visit and hold Sis, we were thankful Mom’s low eye sight wouldn’t allow her to see my Sis in such a emaciated state, it was horrendous!
Mom’s intuition spoke when I couldn’t, she exclaimed, If I don’t see “sis” again….I can rest.

When my Sister passed I had to tell mom and dad (my heart is still in my stomach). I cried and prayed, prayed and pulled my britches up, prepared the NH staff and asked for stronger anxiety and sleep meds for my Parents…just in case.

When my Husband and I walked in the NH, he said do you want me to tell them, I asked him was he prepared with compassion,he said yes. (He's a retired Army man and can sometimes be a little rough around the collar. Not saying all Army men are, just saying he can be a little blunt at times)
We slowly built up conversation and told them we needed to talk. I sat on the side of my mom, while hubby sat by Dads side then the words came, as you know” Sis” had been rushed to the hospital, they nodded in agreement then said she has passed.

I caught my Moms hand and it dropped. She turned to me and said “Sis” is dead? We answered in agreement. Mom said she thought so but now she knows. We prayed together, talked, sat silent and just allowed life to happen.
I hope I’ve helped you by telling my story, but the truth of story is…use your gut, sounds loke your Dad knows but he needs affirmation of the truth. My heart goes out to you, your answer will come and you"ll know what to do.
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I'm so sorry for your loss. Everyone that answered had really good answers. My MIL is in a nursing home now with dementia. Her younger sister just passed away. My husband and bil have decided not to tell her. They reason it would just upset her and she would forget but still be upset and not remember why. This disease is a thief!!! My heart goes out to all of you who are suffering. No answer is easy.
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how sad for you! take care...
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Honestly, I am on the fence here. I recently lost my mother to dementia. My grandma(her mom) was told of moms passing. Grandma was in good health for 95, she was a fall risk and slight forgetfullness. The two of them was very close. Grandma was fully aware of mom's mental status. My grandma we thought took moms passing well. Within two weeks after moms passing she protested food and a week later she passed as well. Grandma died from a broken heart. She just gave up. If I had to do over again I would refrain from telling her.

Sometimes in life its hard to make the right decisions. Every situation is different. Do whats in your heart that you feel is right. I would've lied to grandma if I knew how she would have taken the news. To me I feel I would of protected her from heartache.
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Tina! Do not lie to him. Tell him the truth. Tell him calmly and gently but firmly, and do not beat around the bush. No sugar coating. He has a right to know.
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This is very hard, I know but I would really encourage you to tell him. He will be sad and that is to be expected, he will may also have trouble remembering what happened and may ask you repeatedly where is my wife... I think this is just hard. Be prepared for him to be very upset and cry with him, let him know you are there for him. take care and God bless...
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I am blessed to still have both my parents, both 83 years old. Mom has Parkinson's and dementia and has lost the ability to speak. She has been on home hospice for 15 months now. She recently lost her youngest sister, 63, and we decided it would be best to tell her. The evening after the services Dad and I were on either side of her bed, told her very gently and gave her the program from the service with my aunt's picture. We then prayed for my aunt over my mom and after an initial crying spell mom's OCD kicked in and she was just mesmerized by the program and refused to give it up. I know that mom understood and then just seemed to file it away for thought later. She has had crying spells on and off, but we never know if that is for her sister or just her own depression. It's so hard to know what's right to do in these situations, but we felt better telling mom than her finding out from someone else. Hugs to all caring for someone. It's NOT a thankless job!!!
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I must agree with what has been said. I would seriously discuss this matter with your father's doctor. Just as a thought, and if your father wouldn't mind going to his doctor's office, maybe your father could receive a shot to keep him calm while receiving the news. When a husband and wife grow strong together, and even when children grow strong with their parents, it is mysterious and incredible how they know what each other is thinking or feeling. Wedding fowls between couples normally state, "Until death do us part". He has a very strong feeling that something has happened to his wife. He needs to be informed that his wife has passed over into the new world. It is going to be just as hard for you to deliver the message as it is going to be for your father to accept it. They will be reunited once again. Your mother will be waiting for your father with open arms. If I am coming across a little strong, I do apologize. We children must accept and do what we need to do for our parents in a very appreciative and loving way. Always know that no matter what may be said or done, God hears you and will always be with you. My prayers and thoughts are with you.
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I guess it would depend on his dementia progression? I would assume from his comment about thinking his wife is dead, he isn't fully unaware. I would tell him. He needs validation, and you'll feel better knowing she's not at the store :) Wish you well and sorry for your loss :(((
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msleeth- oh i agree with you 100%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
there is much more going on!!!!!!!!u just have to know how to read it--
not insult them,be aggressive,show ignorance and talk above them as if they dont know a thing!!!!oh im so glad u said that!!!!!karen- millions of hugs to you!!!you, are an aware person- its so sad that more dont realize this!!!l
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My grandmother was in the late stages of dementia when her husband died, and my aunt and uncle told her that he died, but she would forget. She would ask again the next day or so, and they would tell her again. After telling her a few times and watching her start grieving all over again, they decided to just say that he was not at home. She eventually stopped asking about him. It is so hard to decide what is right for your situation.
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oh i forgot to say that its ok if he cries, u too-
gets rid of negitive energy -thru tears-
but it is so sad, and difficult, and i hate this disease-i hate this painful punishment
i feel is thrown on my mom
sorry-just needed to vent a bit myself- thanks-
love this site!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!k
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its so difficult- but i would definately tell him-
its HOW u tell him ,what u say- the same theory as with a child- not more info than they need- simple, clear,-everyone is so different-and hears things thru their own perceptions., their own ablitly.
he still has feelings,still needs to express and let go, and on some level he knows,
but reality seems to be so cruel -as we age-
maybe he would need something calming before actually talking /telling him.
asking his dr. makes sense-u dont want him to physically breakdown- but
depending on how the brain is connecting things,and the stage of his mental apacity,hopefully the dr can help decide.
when my dad passed, mom would say - where is your father-is he angry?he works so hard-and i would say,he isnt here-well he is here- but not where we are-
she would say things like i miss him, but he is busy, but i know she knew on some level, that he had passed. one day she just said- dad isnt here anymore is he?
i said no, but hes with marlene(my sister) and nanny and pops(grandparents) and i mentioned a few other people that had also passed- it took a while- but i feel it was thebest way for her. i also said he was around us too- she understood that- sometimes people with dementia and alz. can see a lot deeper than we can- sometimes they see and talk with peoplw in their lives who already passed- i know that may not
be everyones belief- but thinks like that happen-
just a thought-
i would tell him, gently, and like i said- its how u tell him- your body movenments,tone of voice- they are so sensitive-just cant always verbalize it,but they feel....im sorry for your loss, sending hugs-love,k
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I think I would tell also. I told my Mom when Dad passed, and we made arrangements for her to come to the funeral. She didn't behave herself entirely appropriately, BUT its one of the few decisions I don't second guess or regret. It sounds like your Dad already kind of knows, somehow...maybe he knows that if she could come see him, she would, and she's been "away" too long. If they had a loving relationship it may kinder for him to know she has passed on rather than to think she stopped loving him, or worry about what terrible thing is keeping her still alive but unable to visit. Being able to talk about it even in the simplest terms and grieve openly may help him, and then you do not have to hide your grief either. You could always ask his doctor also if he thinks there is any increased medical risk to hearing this bad news. I am so sorry for your loss...may God bless you and yours at this tough, tough time...
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I would tell him if I were you. To provide an example of what I went through: my mother had passed away a year before and my grandmother, who had dementia and was in a nursing home, asked during one of my visits "how's your mom?". Startled, I said something like "Oh, she's OK". She later somehow found out from my late father who visited...and she told me on a subsequent visit "I'm sorry about your mom". Again, shocked I was...considering I couldn't carry on a conversation with my grandmother...she would only blurt out a somewhat coherent question from time to time...so...clearly a lot more was going on in her mind than even I was aware of. Moral of the story...we're quick to dismiss those with dementia but they are often far from being completely "out of it" and are more aware of their surroundings, situations etc than we realize. Therefore, I'd tell your Father so that you avoid further awkward situations like this. He may come to a sense of peace as well. Hope it helps. I wish you the best.
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