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My dh is going to visit his mom this weekend. Her short-term memory is non-existent. About 2 years ago I finally told her that her favorite grandson was gay. He was worried about her reaction and finally felt like it was time for her to know. Personally, I was getting tired of trying to explain why he didn't have a girlfriend. At that moment, she seemed to take it in stride but never said anything about it. Now, of course, she doesn't even remember that her grandchildren are adults. I was printing out some pictures to put in a book for her. My daughter got married in June and we have some of those. My son is getting married in a year and I would love to add some photos of him and his boyfriend. Has anyone else had to deal with this issue? I will say, since the dementia really kicked in, she can be VERY NASTY which is a complete 180 from what she once was. I know if she has a hissy fit, the only person to see it will be my husband. I guess I don't want anyone to get upset.

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I agree with all of the comments from these wise people. New photos won't matter a lot. If you want to show her a photo of her grandson and his friend, that would work. There's no way she's going to understand the newer fact of gay marriage so I wouldn't try to introduce it to her. She will (briefly) understand friendship. She'll likely forget it all but you will have at least given her a chance to see her grandson and his spouse.

I can understand your son wanting to have his once understanding grandmother know about his happiness but the disease has robbed her of this understanding. You son may understand this compromise - not that you are not trying to hide the facts but you are working with a person who is living in the moment and/or with only past knowledge.

I've had others ask me about this issue and I've given the same opinion.

We have to decide what to tell - even including deaths - so this is just one more thing that sadly must be filtered.
Carol
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I tell my mom happy things about people she remembers. If there's sad news, I don't tell her unless she asks about that person.
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With all of these questions and concerns the one question we who have the information must ask ourselves is "Who will feel better if I disclose this truth?"
The person with dementia? Myself? Someone else I am trying to please?
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Having dealt with my Mom's dementia, my experience leads me to say that if you think this information will upset her don't tell her. My Mom seemed to be much happier living in the past and remembering people for who they were in her mind. Even at times when she confused me with other people...my Dad, her older brother, a nephew, etc...I would gently remind her who I was but if it didn't register I found it easier for both of us if I went along with her. I tried to meet her in "her place".
As for the recent pictures I'd stay away from them if you think she'll have a negative reaction.
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She is not going to remember anyway why bother? Or if it is a traumatic thing for her and she does remember it will tumble around over and over in her mind causing her great stress.
I told my mother who has dementia and lives in the moment that my son was in a car accident. The next time I visited her the first thing she asked about was my son. She had been upset for a week. I never told her that my brother died 2 years ago and since he was adopted at age 3 she does not have a memory of him like she does about her 3 daughters. We no longer tell her that her mom died in 1980 and that her husband died in 1997. We just say Dad is at work and that her mother does not drive and can't come to visit.
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It's nice to provide her photos of the family, but IMO, if her memory is very poor, there may not be a benefit to it. Granted, all cases are different, but with my cousin, she has no short term memory. She recalls people's faces from years ago at the most. So, a photo of my brother when he was 8 years old means the world to her, since she recalls that, but a photo of him today with his grandchildren means nothing. She doesn't know who they are and even if I tell her, she can't relate. I might as well give her a photo of strangers.

So, I just put old photos in there, except that I do provide her current photos of her with her roommate in the facility. She knows who they are, but still prefers the old photos from many years ago.

I suppose it really won't matter though, because she will likely not recall who your grownup son and his boyfriend are when she looks at the photos.
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I like what Carol wrote and agree with it. You want to do two things here -- not upset your mother and show your son that you are happy with his life choice. Having a picture of the two smiling and happy could do that in a non-threatening way. If questions come up, you will probably know what to do when it happens. We can usually feel how things will be received. And if things go south, then she may not remember. It would be wonderful if she accepted it and gave them her blessing, but sometimes things may not go as we hoped. I would take her a photo, then use spur-of-the-moment wisdom to know what to tell her.
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Sorry, I disagree with most of the above.
To compare telling your MIL your gay son is getting married, to a loved one having a car crash or dying is comparing a happy loving event with a catastrophe.
If your MIL was always fond of this grandson, I'm sure she would love to share his good news that he's found happiness. I'm also sure your son would love to share if with her. If she was told in a celebratory way and everyone being agreeable, I'm sure she'd enjoy the moment. (I know for sure my demented mum would be so happy for her grandson)
I think more than anything, the lesson here is for your son to start of his married life with confidence, not to have to hide. Tell her with love and pride....
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I agree with the others photos from her life will mean more to her than current day photos and I would hesitate in doing anything that might provoke her.
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NO, NO and NO. I made the mistake of telling my mother the truth that her son had died, and have regretted it ever since. She hadn't heard from him in yrs. and kept asking me if I heard from him. After years of her asking me this, when he passed away, I told her, and it would have been better if I just kept lying to her and saying I hadn't heard from him. He had dementia from alcoholism, and other complications from that caused his death.
She has had quite a decline since then, and dealing with her since then has been hell, since she always has to "blame" someone. So now it's "why didn't you stop him from drinking?" and on and on. As if I could have changed his choices in life. So I say, share no news that has the potential to upset the person.
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