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I am married to my wonderful husband who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease in 2007. He was doing great and was able to walk, exercise and be on his own while I was a work until January 2015 when he was no longer able to be alone and home health care was brought into the home. Since February of 2016 he has shown a dramatic decline and the doctor recommended Hospice be brought in, which we did.

His children from a previous marriage have never been a part of his life like most children are, but did call to check on him periodically and would respond when I sent them updates on their father.

In July of 2015 he had an episode that included a 911 call, cops and me calling his children thinking they could talk him out of his episode and bring him back to the real world. Since that time they have little contact with their father and are non-responsive to e-mails. When he was in the hospital in February of this year I did get a "thank you" for letting them know, but no follow-up to see how their father was doing.

Now that he is on Hospice everyone is telling me I have to tell them and let them know his condition. Part of me does not feel that they have earned the right to know since they show no concern about his well being. Not once have they asked if there was anything they could do to help me care for their father or shown any desire to spend time with him before it's too late and he doesn't even know who they are (I think we are at that point).

To my knowledge there has never been any drama or bad blood between them, they just seem like they don't have time for him, just don't care or are totally freaked out about his condition.

Any thoughts you might have would be appreciated.

Thank you.

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In my opinion it hurts no one to send off a quick email, it is the right thing to do and in the coming months no one can accuse you of not being up front with them. What they choose to do with that info is up to them.
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I would email each of them once. How they choose to respond is up to them. Be clear that because of end of life care now being in place, that they are welcome to visit only if they call ahead, as he is often being cared for by the Hospice team, and often asleep, as well as that these visits must be convenient for you too, and that they must be kept relatively short, say one hour, and that your husband needs absolute peace and quiet, so only one or two at a time. I know that you do not want to have kept them from their father, even if they have acted less than stellar in his time of need, and yours. Regrets are hard to live with, so do give it one last try. Also, nobody truly knows what others are thinking or what feelings they are harboring from past hurts. You might be surprised (though probably not), and they now start stepping up to offer you assistance. And your husband may find peace and comfort from calls and visits from his children. I'm sorry they haven't been as involved as you both would have liked. Sometimes people don't know how to act when faced with dementia and ilness. I have been facing this with my husband's siblings, as they rarely call their Dad, and have never visited him in 12 years. You would think his own kids would have acted differently, but sadly not. You are kind to consider them. Take care.
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You sound great, but personally I don't think they deserve to know. On the other hand, sometimes unfortunately, some adult children come back into the picture when they feel it could benefit them. At some point down the road, if they try to dispute the will, they could claim that you were withholding information from them. My opinion is to tell them, just in case they have an issue with the will. Hope all goes well.
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Maddie, when you wrote "July of 2015 he had an episode that included a 911 call" seem to be the turning point with your husband's children. They probably cannot wrap their brains around what is happening to their Dad, and that is understandable. Their Dad is no longer the Dad they knew for all those decades, it's like he is someone else.

I vote with the other writer's above, send email or call the children and let them know that their Dad is on his final journey with Alzheimer's, and if possible for them to come to visit him, even though he might not know who they are. If they decline, it could be they want to remember their Dad pre-Alzhimer's. Always keep the door open for them to call, email or visit.
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Sorry posted before finished.
Trying to say that we sometimes have to disassociate from painful situations in order to bear the pain. children who were left to deal with their parents divorce through no fault of their own sometimes have to distance themselves. I realize these children are grown but they are his children and regardless of their current relationship they are connected.
After you notify them, they may or may not respond. That's their right. They have probably had a lot of practice saying goodbye to their father. Full disclosure and transparency are less judgmental and leave you with less to regret.
I would notify them and should they visit, I would give them a few minutes alone with their dad.
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My gut feeling would be to tell them. They may not respond or do anything about the situation but what would it hurt. Are you worried they would interfere?
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I think, if I were faced with this problem, I'd go ahead and send the absent children a brief group e-mail letting them know the situation. That way you've covered all the bases--they can respond if they want to do so, and they can't complain later that you kept their father's condition a secret. For what it's worth, I seldom get a response when I e-mail my three siblings with updates on our father. Because Dad is fully competent mentally and talks to Mom and two of my siblings regularly, I recently quit sending them updates on minor events (such as uneventful visits to specialists). However, if he were gravely ill, I would contact them with the news.
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Since they were contacted in July 2015 in an emergency situation in order to help orient their dad, I would think that an update of his condition would be in order. Even if they don't respond. It's not what they do, but what you do. And there must be something there if you resorted to calling them in that emergency. I'm not sure I understand that at all.

I do feel for you in this very sad time. I hope that whatever you decide, you will find peace with it.
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They are his children, no matter what the circumstances. It sounds like they have had some involvement, however sporadic and for whatever the reasons. They have every right to know what is happening with their father, especially now that his time on this earth may be limited. It is a difficult time for you, truly, and I send you all prayers and best wishes. But you may regret it deeply if you do not at least give his other children their chance to deal with what is happening, to say their goodbyes, or offer support as they can. They may indeed surprise you with their love. You may not know all of what transpired in their family in the past, and to make judgments at this crucial point will not serve you best. At least e-mail them. Phone calls are even better. Be at peace in whatever you decide.
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Thank you to everyone who responded to my question. I did contact the children and they have all been over multiple times to see their father. He had moments when he didn't seem to recognize them, but in my heart I feel he felt their love and did connect with them. All of the visits have been wonderful and each one has made a point to repeatedly tell me how much they love me and appreciate everything I do to take care of their father. They have even said they were remiss in saying that in the past and feel bad that they haven't taken the time to visit. It all turned out better than expected and I feel much better knowing everyone had a chance to have their own closure (even if he doesn't pass in the near future). Thank you again for all of your advice.
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