Bereaved dementia sufferer

Angela Coomer

Registered User
Sep 30, 2007
Can anyone help? My father looked after my mother at home for 9 years, after she was diagnosed with dementia. After 60 years of very happy marriage, my father recently died in August (he had a brain tumour) , but my mother usually doesn´t remember. She asks where he is all the time. Sometimes we try to change the subject, or ignore the question, but :confused: when we ask her where she thinks he is, she remembers, but every day, it is like the first day for her and it can be many, many times in one day. She is grieving so much, we don't know what to do. Initially she was prescribed a mild tranquiliser that seemed to help, but that has now been stopped.
My brother and I are completely at a loss. Mum lives in a residential home where she and my Dad went after he was unable to look after her any more, and where he sadly died. She has made some friends but they are starting to avoid her because she is upset so much of the time. Also her dementia seems to have got worse.
Can anyone suggest ways to help her? We would appreciate any advice you can give.

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Dear Angela

This is such a sad story, I`m so sorry for what you have to deal with.

I can only offer my deepest sympathy and sincere condolences on the death of your father.

You probably have no time to mourn him if you are trying to appease your mother. She`s in a dreadful position, I know how my husband frets over so many things, there is no way he`s be able to digest the news of my death.

Can you say whether the tranquilizers helped, and if so why they were stopped. To grieve for a spouse after 60 happy years is enough in itself, but to try to understand and remember, when suffering with Alzheimers is too much to ask of anyone.

Please ask her doctor to help her.

Love xx


Registered User
Feb 17, 2006

Angela Welcome to TP

My mother does not talk about my father , but when I mention his name she does get very upset, so I do not bring his name up . she only talk about him now when she has a dream about him , but has never ask me where he is .

am sure someone in that situation will pop in with some good advice in what to say .


Registered User
Jul 2, 2006
Newport, Gwent
Dear Angela

First of all my deepest sympathy on the loss of your dad.

In, and excuse the expression, 'normal' circumstances it is still very early days for your mum to come to terms with your dads death, coupled with AD, its twice as hard.

I think I would be inclined to go back to the GP and explain the situation, and ask for further medicatiion. I appreciate its not an ideal situation, and you probably dont want mum on medication long term, but I think in these very early days it might help her.

Look after yourself too.




Registered User
Jul 6, 2007
leigh lancashire
Hi Angela,It is so sad when this happens.Trying to grieve for yourself must be difficult.I was taught in training that "changing the subject" would veer the resident from their train of thought.We were told that we must never tell a resident with dementia that their loved one is deceased as this starts the grieving process all over again.(easier said than done sometimes).My approach when this happens is to tell the resident that their loved one is either "busy" today but will be in soon,or that their loved one is "coming in later".I know they are lies,but they do seem to do the trick.I hope you feel better about this soon and can learn to "tell White and best wishes elainex


Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
SW Scotland
Dear Angela, what a difficult situation!

First of all, my sympathy for the death of your father. It must be so hard for you, coping with your own grief while trying to support your mum.

Your mum must be devastated, losing her husband after 60 years, and it must be so much worse having to learn of his loss afresh several times a day.

I think it's a ggod suggestion, to go back to the GP. I know they're reluctant to prescribe tranquillisers for long-term use, but in your mum's situation I would think a longer course justified (though I'm no doctor, of course). A mild anti-depressant might also do the trick, and be less addictive.

Do you think you could get away with lying to your mum, as Elaine suggested? It's a good idea if it works, and your mum will accept the lie, but could make matters worse if she's still aware enough to see through it.

You know your mum best, and only you can decide, but do try the GP.

Good luck,


Registered User
Oct 9, 2003
Birmingham Hades
Hi Angela
I lost my wife after 4 months short of 60 years married.
I am finding it difficult to cope but my GP prescribed Anti depressants
They need to be taken for about 6 months otherwise the symptoms return.
I would suggest that you ask you GP if he can prescribe Anti depressants not tranquilisers.
I can assure that Mum must be very confused.losing some that close after 60 years is like being cut in half.
Tell Mum I am thinking about her,we are in the same boat


Registered User
Apr 15, 2007
Hello Angela, and welcome to TP.
I also send my sympathy and condolences in the loss of your father. Such a upsetting situation for all involved I go along with other suggestions about anti depressants, this situation would be exceptionally hard for your poor mum and very distressing for yourself and brother. I find with my own mum that any upsets seem to always make her dementia worse.I hope that things improve for you all very soon. Regards Taffy.