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Here are the specifics of my mom not remembering that my dad died: She might first ask why his ashes are on her dresser. I explain to her that I put them there because she forgets that he died, so I'm thinking the ashes will help her remember. Then she asks what he died of. I explain he had a fall and was in pain for a year and then took his own life because he was not getting better. Or she asks where he is and I tell her he died and then the entire story again. After that she offers her memories about what a good man he was, how handsome, and kind he always was, and her imaginary story that the room she is in is where they first met. I don't correct her about the room, but totally and truthfully agree he was wonderful. This has been going on for months, and she has seemed to appreciate the truth, but now suddenly it seems to upset her. The care givers might tell her that he is in heaven, but she does not believe in heaven, so that confuses her and she asks when he is coming back. Do you think I should stop telling her how he died? I think she can deal with him having died, but his suicide is what is upsetting. What would you say? I'm not good at lies.

Could you change the 'suicide' story to say that he was very ill and in pain and his body decided it was time to go. He stopped eating and eventually his heart simply gave out. This is of course true, it's just that the cause was his death. It might be an easier 'therapeutic lie' for you, and easier for your mother to hear.
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
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ArtistDaughter Mar 11, 2019
Thank you. I will try that. I've even thought of telling her I don't know how he died or that he was ill and died, but I know she won't leave it at that and continue asking how, where, when, and where was she, and wasn't there anything they could do, and what the illness was. She does not stop.
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ArtistDaughter, try thinking of the lies as "therapeutic lies" which are quite acceptable when it comes to health matters. Since we do not want the love one to get upset, the therapeutic lies makes the love one more accepting of the information.

Thus, regarding your Dad, time to remove the suicide from the conversation. Tell Mom that he had a serious fall and passed away from that fall. If Mom accepts that, then use that information each time she asks.

You will find later down the road when Mom doesn't believe your Dad had passed, then you can use therapeutic lies to help Mom once again. Example, tell her Dad is visiting friends and should be home next week. By tomorrow, Mom may forget that, and ask again.

Let us know how that works.
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Reply to freqflyer
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ArtistDaughter Mar 11, 2019
Thanks for the advice on the present and also for the future.
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It's a personal decision, but, I'm not sure how providing a person who has dementia with upsetting news is helpful. I'd practice compassionate care, which involves, providing the patient with kind and comforting words. Their ability to process information becomes damaged, so, it's not like you talking to the person who has a healthy brain. The actual truth has no real meaning for them. Repeating the same upsetting story seems pointless, as eventually, she won't recall it at all. To me, it's not about how I feel, it's about what works for the dementia patient.
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Reply to Sunnygirl1
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ArtistDaughter Mar 11, 2019
I actually was thinking of her when telling the entire story because she doesn't accept a simple answer. It is not an easy story for me to tell. She asks how a fall could have killed him and what part of him was hurt and did he suffer and on and on. Her intelligence is not impaired. Only her memory. However, I do understand what you are suggesting. Thank you.
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