My mother is bedridden, in a nursing home and on hospice. I have chosen not to tell her when her old friends and neighbors have passed away. While she adored and was close with many of these people when she lived at her home she has no contact with them any more. It just makes her sad and miserable.

When ever someone passes away though a former neighbor seems to gleefully call and tell her the news. Even though I have asked her not to do this she does it anyway.

When my grandmother was in the same situation my mother made the decision not to tell her about deaths. She even didn't tell my grandmother about her grandson's death. This makes me think that I'm doing what mom wants.

Do you think not telling her sad things is the right thing to do? How can I convince her former neighbor not to be such a "Debbie Downer"?

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My sisters and I recently decided not to tell our mother of her sister's death. She has dementia. Many days she doesn't know that her husband is dead (18 years ago) or that my husband died (3 years ago). Why add another confusing and dreadful "fact" that doesn't fit into her reality?

As for the busybody neighbor, it may upset your mother when she is told, but if she forgets it quickly that may not be so bad. And the busybody neighbor may have memory issues herself and forget that you've asked her not to do this. Or she just may be stubborn and have different ideas of the right thing to do.

I'm with you, though. Nothing good will come of telling your mother of these deaths.
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This is an interesting question. i would like to share my story.

My mom passed unexpectedly on Feb 7. Her best friend was in the hospital suffering from CJD. At the point my mom passed, her best friend was no longer able to speak, walk, feed herself. However her daughters chose to tell her anyway. Her daughter, a friend of mine, knew that she would have wanted to know...and that she could still understand language. The look on her mom's face when she was told was of shock and disbelief. They are very glad they told her as they know she understood and if she was well, would have wanted to know and participate in the services.

Now, if their mother had had dementia and no short term memory, they would not have told her as she would have forgotten anyway and it would have caused anxiety and stress. But since her mind was still there they felt it their duty to tell her.

The end of the story is that their mother passed a week and a half after mine. I firmly believe that my mom came down to get her...saying "it's wonderful up here, let go of that broken body and suffering and come with me...I have a party planned!" Their mother definitely was suffering and while it was awful to lose her, I believe my mom helped to lessen her suffering by assuring her that heaven was lovely. I'm sure my mom had the teakettle on waiting for her to arrive.

I think when you choose to tell her you have to consider the following:
1. if she was well, would she have wanted to know about these neighbors and friends or would it have just been neighborhood gossip? Was she close to them? Cared about them?

2. what affects will the news have on her...will it give her anxiety, sadness, suffering or will she simply forget and need to be told again?

The answers to these questions will let you know how to proceed. And whether you decide to, or not to, cut off that neighbor, have her calls blocked. If you do decide to tell her, this serious news should come from you, in person, with support and love not with a gleeful gossipy mindset.

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