A question in preparation

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by Blue_Gremlin, May 30, 2006.

  1. Blue_Gremlin

    Blue_Gremlin Registered User

    Mar 15, 2006
    89
    Morecambe, UK
    I am asking this question because I know that I will need to know the answer very soon.

    How do you tell a frail old lady with dementia that her sister, whom she has lived next door to for over 50 years, has died?

    I have absolutely no idea what to do and I get the horrible feeling I am going to have to figure it out very soon.

    Please help me :(

    Blue_Gremlin
     
  2. noelphobic

    noelphobic Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    3,452
    Liverpool
    I think that if and when the time sadly comes you will just have to tell her as gently as you possibly can and then be prepared for just about any reaction from total devastation to seeming indifference. Depending on how severe her dementia is she may well forget, which is more difficult to deal with in some ways.

    My mother was the only person present when my dad died suddenly at home and didn't try to contact anyone because she 'didn't want to bother you'. She then very calmly sat and ate her ham sandwich while waiting for the ambulance to come after my sister arrived and found out what had happened.
     
  3. Helena

    Helena Registered User

    May 24, 2006
    715
    I guess if it was me i would feel that saying anything would not be absorbed

    I would take her next door to view the body

    Sounds morbid i know but sometimes visual things have more impact than words
     
  4. mel

    mel Registered User

    Apr 30, 2006
    1,656
    Sheffield
    It took my brother the best part of a day to pluck up courage to tell mum that dad had died....(he insisted as he was the eldest it was up to him to do the dirty deed)...She merely said "oh dear" and "are we going out for tea"....some days later I took her to the chapel of rest and she kept prodding him and telling him to smile!!!! Funny now but not so amusing at the time!!!Every day for about 9 months she asked where he was......still does but not EVERY bl***y day!!!
    Wendy
     
  5. Canadian Joanne

    Canadian Joanne Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 8, 2005
    16,156
    Toronto, Canada
    I personally belong to the "if they won't remember, lie your face off" club. It depends on how advanced the dementia is. Years ago, before I wised up, I told my mother several times that my grandmother had died (30 years before, mind you). My mother always responded as though it were the first time & would start crying. I learned quickly to say "She's fine" when my mother would ask about her.

    So, it's a hard one but go by her reaction. I always try to operate on the theory of causing as little pain as possible, hence all my lying.
     
  6. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    I'd say it depends on her stage of dementia.

    If she is at the very earliest stage, perhaps tell her.

    Anyplace else, what is the point?

    Why cause possible confusion, distress? And for what purpose?

    .... but it is your choice to make as you have all the facts.
     
  7. moviefan318

    moviefan318 Registered User

    Apr 30, 2006
    32
    northamptonshire
    hi blue gremlin
    my mum's brother died in febuary and she still does not know,I decided not to tell her,her brother did not live close and they kept in touch by phone which stop when mum could know longer talk on the phone then dad took over and when she lived with me I did it .I just felt that her knowing would just add to her worry's and as she never asks about him (I don't think she even remember's his name) I just left it,I beleave that it's a personal choice that is different in each case if the person is asked after I think they should be told.By they way I still keep in touch with my uncles daughter who knows mum has not been told and is fine about It
    carol
     
  8. Lila13

    Lila13 Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    1,342
    There have been several deaths of friends or acquaintances during my mother's illness, and there was nothing I could do to prevent her finding out as she could open and read her own post. She kept quiet about them, but I knew the news affected her. One of the last straws was the news of the death of a friend (the last person for whom she'd signed a birthday card, addressing the envelope herself) towards the end of April.

    Perhaps the news of my mother's death was a "last straw" for someone else ... it can't be helped.

    Perhaps it was easier when death was more normal, "in the midst of life we are in death", people were more prepared for it.

    Lila
     
  9. Blue_Gremlin

    Blue_Gremlin Registered User

    Mar 15, 2006
    89
    Morecambe, UK
    Thank you

    Thanks to everyone who has offered their opinion and experience, it is really appreciated.

    I will keep all your words in mind when I am inevitably faced with this situation.

    Blue_Gremlin
     

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