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  1. #1

    When a carer dies

    My mum has just passed away suddenly last night. She cared for my dad who has vascular dementia and we are at a loss how to help him. He can't sleep without her and we need to tell him she has died. How do you do this she was in hospital for 3 days and he has been so lost. Any help would be great
    Last edited by MoiraKe; 13-08-2012 at 05:26 AM. Reason: Need to change title

  2. #2
    Volunteer Moderator jenniferpa's Avatar
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    Jun 2006
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    Moirake - I am so sorry for your loss and the fact that you are, while grieving, having to deal with this situation.

    Opinions will vary I think, but I think that you tell a person once that their spouse has died and allow them grieve at that point, but after that, it really isn't a kindness to constantly remind them of their loss. What you have to do is work out a suitable story, one that you can repeat over and over, to reassure him. In this situation "she's in hospital, she'll be back when the doctors decide she's better" seems to be the best solution, but be aware, you'll be saying this over, and over, and over, so pick something that you (and the rest of the family) can say with conviction

    Sadly the situation you find yourself in is not uncommon. In the short term, you might approach his GP and ask if there is any medication available that might help him sleep.

    Volunteer moderator and former long distance carer.

    “A test of a people is how it behaves toward the old. It is easy to love children. Even tyrants and dictators make a point of being fond of children. But the affection and care for the old, the incurable, the helpless are the true gold mines of a culture.”

    Abraham J. Heschel

  3. #3
    Registered User
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    May 2012
    I agree, tell him, grieve with him, but if he is going to forget by the next day, then don't keep torturing him with the truth. The hospital one is a good one, because i'd imagine he'll have to go into care now, or respite at least while you figure out what the next step is. I don't envy you, it will be heart breaking to have to answer the questions over and over for you guys.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    Mum diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's and Parkinson's in 2011

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Hiya MoiraKe,

    Welcome to Talking Point and I'm sorry that you had to find us in the circumstances. I agree with what the others have said about not repeating yourself as each time the person can hear the news as something new to them and start the grieving process all over again.

    You might find this thread useful as it talks about how to communicate with the memory impaired and gives you an insight as to how the dementia person receives and processes information.


  5. #5
    Registered User winda's Avatar
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    Oct 2011
    Hi MoiraKe,

    So sorry to hear about your mum and of course it's made even worse because you have your father to look after.

    I agree with what has been said about telling your father the truth only once and then making up a feasible story after that. I'm sure it is the kindest way.

    I hope you can get the care your father needs as soon as possible and that you will also have time to grieve.

    Take care xx
    Life is what happens to you. While you're busy making other plans - John Lennon

  6. #6
    Registered User sunray's Avatar
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    Sep 2008
    East Coast of Australia

    so sorry

    So sorry this has happened to your Mum, the carer for your Dad. It certainly is a burden to bear dealing with someone with dementia when you are grieving yourself.

    I know that repite would be good, if only for few days unless you think your Dad would think he was being "sent away". I know my Mum would have felt that. I had my Mum and Dad with me in 2000 when Dad died five days after going to hospital and I don't think Mum ever accepted that he was no longer alive. It was a blssing when her Alzheimers got to the stage when she forgot all of us so he was no longer on her mind.

    I hope things come together for you and family members help and support you at this most difficult time. Keep in touch so we know how you are doing.

    It is in letting go the past we come into the present and can plan for the future.

  7. #7
    Registered User lin1's Avatar
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    Jan 2010
    Near Herne bay kent
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    I am so sorry to hear about your mum
    in the midst of losing your mum you have all the worry about your Dad .
    Get all the help you can to help with dad to give you a bit of time to sort everything out and grieve a little

    To tell your Dad once or not to tell your dadthat mum has died in my view are right but not easy to do

    Daughter and former carer

    If only I could have Hindsight beforehand, oh what a difference it would make .

    Odd words mis-spelling and punctuation are most likely due to my naughty iPad

  8. #8


    Thanks for all your advice everyone. We told him and have been so surprised and so proud about how he's coping. He does forget and is terribly sad but also scared and worried. It's a long process in anyone's life I guess. Life is not easy and we are caring 24 hrs a has shown us just how much mum did and made her even more special to us. I never understood until now how dad really was and urge all children to walk a day in their career parents shoes...including an overnight will change your understanding and prepare you better.
    Thanks again for all your advise I'm sure I'll have a million more questions but one day at a time for now I think is best

  9. #9
    New User
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Falmouth Cornwall


    Having joined just an hour ago this forum is already supporting me. My step father is terminally ill with just a few weeks left. I had know idea how poor my mothers condition was, and how much my step father had effectively covered for her. Now moved in with mother as she can't cope at night but the advice above is a very good starting point for me when i have to break the news.

  10. #10
    Volunteer Moderator Chemmy's Avatar
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    Nov 2011
    Hello Range blind

    Welcome to Talking Point. I'm glad you've already found the forum useful

    It must be so upsetting dealing with both your mother and step-father's problems so please use us for whatever support you need over the next few weeks and months.

    There are lots of factsheets available which you may find helpful in regards to your mother. Just come back and ask if there's anything you want to discuss.


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