Being diagnosed, do you tell the person?


Registered User
Sep 1, 2003
My mother has been diagnosed recently. My two sisters and I want to know whether we tell her about it ? If the answer is yes, then we want to know how to about it. We feel we need to tell her because she lives by herself, would have to move out, etc.


Registered User
Aug 25, 2003
gravesend, kent
Do you tell mum?

My mum was diagnosed 5 years ago. My dad cares for her. She has always been aware that her memory is very bad. Even now, she will say "what's up with me, why can't I remember?", but within a few minutes, she has forgotten she has said that. Thus, I can't see any reason to tell her as she would only forget anyway! There would be brief momentary shock and then she wouldn't remember. She had breast cancer around the same time as the diagnosis and had to have a lump removed. She doesn't remember that either. Thankfully despite alot of problems, she still has a sense of humour, she will say "I'm going bloody ga ga aren't I! I could never see the point in telling her. She is happy in her own way and is also always saying "thankfully I keep pretty well, you have to count your blessings". She goes to the local Alzheimers day centre, but never questions why she does there, because by the time she comes home, she has forgotten. She suffers from incontinence and when we went to see a specialist, she was utterly disgusted when he asked her if she realised she had a problem, as again, she doesn't remember. So I can see little point in telling her. I hope that is of help to you.


Registered User
Apr 1, 2003

it is indeed a difficult dilemma, and I left this decission with the closest person to my dad (he has had alzheimers for about 2 years). My mum decided that it would add to his pain and it would only make him feel worse. I think that the Alz Society has an open policy on this (e.g. the person with Alz should be told and has a right to know), but I think each situation is different. I mean what is the benefit of telling someone if they are just going to get really upset and worry about it every day. Unfortunately this illness carries a very unfair stigma which adds to the pain when you tell someone the full diagnosis. It may also be difficult to cope with the diagnosis if you have the illness, a kind of catch 22.

So in answer to your question, my most humble opinion is to do what you feel is right, and what is less likely to cause any more pain. My father knows he has some sort of dementia but really doesn't need to know the exact wording of his condition. And in my opinion, this has helped him deal with two very difficult years.

Lastly, it also probably depends on the type of person. My dad has never been one to discuss his feelings, so our way of dealing with things works with him.

good luck and I hope that helps