• All threads and posts regarding Coronavirus COVID-19 can now be found in our new area specifically for Coronavirus COVID-19 discussion.

    You can directly access this area >here<.

Bouts of Severe Confusion

missie56

Registered User
Jan 30, 2015
7
Mum lives in sheltered accommodation and has vascular dementia. She has severe bouts of confusion often ringing me to find our where my step father is. He passed away last year. It is almost like the last six months since he passed away dont exist. She went round the building where she lives earlier this evening looking for him and the other residents told her to ring me. It is very distressing for her when I tell her that he has passed away. Just so hard day after day to keep having to tell her :(
 

Beate

Registered User
May 21, 2014
11,902
London
Mum lives in sheltered accommodation and has vascular dementia. She has severe bouts of confusion often ringing me to find our where my step father is. He passed away last year. It is almost like the last six months since he passed away dont exist. She went round the building where she lives earlier this evening looking for him and the other residents told her to ring me. It is very distressing for her when I tell her that he has passed away. Just so hard day after day to keep having to tell her :(
I would be best if you could stop telling her distressing facts. Tell her love lies instead, that he will be back soon or is at work or whatever. Each time you remind her you are making her grieve all over again, and that won't help anyone.
 

missie56

Registered User
Jan 30, 2015
7
I would be best if you could stop telling her distressing facts. Tell her love lies instead, that he will be back soon or is at work or whatever. Each time you remind her you are making her grieve all over again, and that won't help anyone.
I find that an interesting reponse. This is really hard as i have never dealt with anything like this before and of course i want the best for her. Could I have feedback from others as to whether this would be the right approach. I really want to do what is best for her :confused:
 

RobinH

Registered User
Apr 9, 2012
265
London
Bad News

Hi

I have to agree that to constantly give a person with dementia the same bad news time and time again is unneccessary torture. Normal grief has a beginning, a middle and an end, but because she can't remember any of that, you are putting her through the initial shock time and time again. It's a mistake most of us have made, and most of us have learned not to repeat. You don't always have to lie - sometimes a diversion or vague comment is enough - but absolutely, say what will make her suffering as little as possible.

Robin
 

Lindy50

Registered User
Dec 11, 2013
5,239
Cotswolds
Hi missie :)

I would agree with Beate's approach in general....but what would concern me is whether your mum is mostly alone when she is confused? Does she have any support on a regular basis? Ideally, I wouldn't want only to prevent her being distressed, it would be good to know she has positive experiences too :)

You could look at the fact sheets on this site for information, or are there any short courses locally you could attend, to find out more?

All the best, it sounds like you are doing a great job :)

Lindy xx
 

missie56

Registered User
Jan 30, 2015
7
Thanks for your responses and I see what you are ssying. I am taking her to the memory clinic tomorrow so will chat with the doctor too.
 

Witzend

Registered User
Aug 29, 2007
4,291
SW London
I find that an interesting reponse. This is really hard as i have never dealt with anything like this before and of course i want the best for her. Could I have feedback from others as to whether this would be the right approach. I really want to do what is best for her :confused:
Yes, many of us have found this the kindest way. When my FIL first started asking where MIL was (she had been dead several years) we didn't realise at first that he would never remember that she had died. He was dreadfully upset to be told the truth - he cried - only to forget and ask again later. So we started saying she had just gone to the shops, or to see Auntie So and So. And he'd be quite happy - and he never once remembered that we'd said much the same before.
Later I used similar 'love lies' with my mother, when at over 90 she started asking about her parents, and wanting to go and see them.
 

missie56

Registered User
Jan 30, 2015
7
Hi missie :)

I would agree with Beate's approach in general....but what would concern me is whether your mum is mostly alone when she is confused? Does she have any support on a regular basis? Ideally, I wouldn't want only to prevent her being distressed, it would be good to know she has positive experiences too :)
You could look at the fact sheets on this site for information, or are there any short courses locally you could attend, to find out more?
All the best, it sounds like you are doing a great job :)

Lindy xx
We give mum as much support as we can. I have to work some days so makes it more difficult. She does get out and about as we have friends who take her out and I am very grateful to them. The confusion normally happens when she is tired in the evenings x x
 
Last edited:

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
11,646
South coast
That sounds very much like sundowning, missie. Confusion often gets worse at a particular time of the day - usually afternoon/evening.
Logic and reasoning wont work with dementia and I agree with everyone else that it is better to tell "love lies" to prevent agitation and distress.
 

Lindy50

Registered User
Dec 11, 2013
5,239
Cotswolds
We give mum as much support as we can. I have to work some days so makes it more difficult. She does get out and about as we have friends who take her out and I am very grateful to them. The confusion normally happens when she is tired in the evenings x x
My mum is in sheltered housing too, missie, and we live about half an hour's drive away, so yes, I know, it is difficult !! As I say, sounds like your mum gets good support :)

Take care

Lindy xx