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Dealing with grief + dementia

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
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0
I am approaching the management of this combination with a bit of anxiety. My father (92) has mixed dementia, not more than mid-stage, and my mother, nearly 93, is on end-of-life care in a care home. When she dies my priority apart from all the practical things will be how to look after my father. I won't be moving in but can stay a few days or so when it happens. He knows this is coming but I am not sure that he has fully come to terms with it, he (and I) agree that a peaceful passing would be best for my mother but when it actually happens I am not sure how he will react or how dementia will affect it.
 

Duggies-girl

Registered User
Sep 6, 2017
2,906
0
Sorry to hear about your mum @MartinWL it's a hard thing to cope with. I think you will just have to take it a step at a time. My mum was ill for a long time but died suddenly. I was with her at the time and so was dad and he was heartbroken. His dementia (alzheimers) had not been diagnosed then but we suspected it at the time.

I stayed over for a few days and we drank some whisky and had fish and chips. I just kept him company but he seemed to cope quite well eventually. I took to popping in most days and staying over one night a week and it eventually went back to normal. Nobody knows how they will cope until it happens and as dads dementia advanced he seldom mentioned mum anymore which I found odd, maybe he didn't want to or maybe she faded in his memory.

I hope your mums passing is peaceful.
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
74,663
0
Kent
I`m afraid it will be impossible to predict how your father will be @MartinWL as I`m sure deep down you know.

You can only take it as it comes.

It`s dreadful for you to have such concern for both parents at the same time.
 

lollyc

Registered User
Sep 9, 2020
593
0
Dad died in the early stages of Mum's dementia, only a few days after she was released from sectioning. She was never unduly upset, and very rarely mentions him, or misses him. They were married 56yrs, so I find that upsetting, but that fact that she doesn't is perhaps a blessing.
All you can do is see how things pan out.
 

lemonbalm

Registered User
May 21, 2018
1,757
0
One of the many stressful things about dementia is the unpredictability of it. Probably best to take things a step at a time and just be there for your Dad, do things which will comfort you both.

You will no doubt find that you cope far better than you fear. Perhaps your Dad will too.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
1,284
0
My mother died peacefully in her sleep at a care home a few days ago. This was no surprise, it had been expected, and she was 93. He quality of life was zero due to frailty and various health conditions so in some ways it was a blessing for her.

My father has been far calmer than expected. He seems to have remembered that she has died although he can forget details such as date of death. He has seemed cheerful much of the time. I am staying with him currently both for support and to deal with all the necessary arrangements, as I am executor. I am wondering if there will be a delayed reaction as it all sinks in, as we have to plan the funeral, etc. It is hard to know what is natural grief and what is dementia. I fear that when I go home as I must do soon, he will sink into despair. I realise there is no predicting this, but I would be interested in similar stories.
 

Sarasa

Volunteer Host
Apr 13, 2018
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So sorry to hear of your loss @MartinWL. It must be difficult to mourn your mother when your father can't really understand.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
1,284
0
So sorry to hear of your loss @MartinWL. It must be difficult to mourn your mother when your father can't really understand.
Thank you. He does understand that she has died. His grief is to be expected but I am hoping I can follow a strategy to prevent him falling into despair, depression, and self-pity in a confused sort of way. As for me I am fine, I don't do emotional, I am thankful that her death was peaceful in her sleep and she died without pain after a very long life.
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
74,663
0
Kent
Mourning one parent while concerned about the other is tough for you @MartinWL If your father is used to living alone he may be all right.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
16,138
0
South coast
Im glad that your mums passing was peaceful

You may find that your dad forgets that his wife has died and keeps asking about her, then every time that he is told it is like the first time he has heard. If this happens it might be best to go for Therapeutic Untruths - she is out shopping, or visiting a relative; whatever gives him comfort.
 

lollyc

Registered User
Sep 9, 2020
593
0
@MartinWL , I'm sorry to hear your news, although a merciful release.
All I can do is reiterate my early post: Mum has never been unduly upset (normal grieving excepted) by Dad's death. She was present when he died, and she knows that he is dead, but for the most part she is... unconcerned? Perhaps not the right word, but the best I can come up with. Your dad may well carry on a normal - only time will tell.
 

Jaded'n'faded

Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
2,237
0
High Peak
I'd say take it day by day and see how he goes. Dementia can make people act unpredictably or inappropriately so be prepared if your dad seems not to care. I understand your mum was in care for a while (?) so your dad isn't used to her being there with him every day. It might be a case of 'out of sight, out of mind'.

Like @lollyc ,when my mum enquired about relatives only to be told they died years ago, her reaction was never one of grief or sadness. She'd just say, 'Well, nobody told me!'

I'm sorry for your loss though entirely understand your feelings of relief that your mum's suffering is over.

Take care.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
1,284
0
Thanks for the kind words, folks. My dad has until this evening been mostly calm with some spells of being upset, which is to be expected. This evening a bit of a meltdown, he was trying to email a couple of friends to tell him the news and struggling with the computer even more than normal, and he was very confused about everything. We went to the chapel of rest to see the deceased, and he was relatively OK with that. He has never forgotten that mum has died but is seems to have only just fully sunk in after 5 days. He has no memory of being told that she had died last week and constantly forgets the date of death or when we last saw her. He said he had only seen her once in the care home - actually every week. So it looks as if the sinking in of the fact that his wife has died is having an effect on his confusion level, I am just hoping that this will prove to be a bad day rather than a permanent deterioration in his condition.
 

MaNaAk

Registered User
Jun 19, 2016
5,541
0
Essex
My mother died peacefully in her sleep at a care home a few days ago. This was no surprise, it had been expected, and she was 93. He quality of life was zero due to frailty and various health conditions so in some ways it was a blessing for her.

My father has been far calmer than expected. He seems to have remembered that she has died although he can forget details such as date of death. He has seemed cheerful much of the time. I am staying with him currently both for support and to deal with all the necessary arrangements, as I am executor. I am wondering if there will be a delayed reaction as it all sinks in, as we have to plan the funeral, etc. It is hard to know what is natural grief and what is dementia. I fear that when I go home as I must do soon, he will sink into despair. I realise there is no predicting this, but I would be interested in similar stories.
Dear @MartinWL ,

I'm very sorry to hear this and please take comfort in knowing that you did all could for her. She would have been very proud of what you are continuing to do for your dad.

MaNaAk
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
1,284
0
Thank you very much to the condolencers ( is that a word?). My mum had no quality of life and wanted to die, not unreasonably, and seeing her in a miserable condition was worse that seeing her in the chapel of rest. I am now very busy with all the things that have to be done. I never realised quite how much had to be done on planning a funeral. Fortunately she lived in a small community where everyone swings into action and everyone knows everyone else, from the organist to the village hall caterers. I have still had to choose music, hymns, Bible readings etc which isn't something I have rehearsed.
 

Wildflowerlady

Registered User
Sep 30, 2019
599
0
To be honest @MartinWL when dad passed in January I was so poorly I literally asked the vicar to pick some prayers and I emailed her a few words about dad for her to read out. Dad had a short service at the graveside music wasn't allowed and there were only 5 people that attended as well as vicar. I think that dads neighbours hadn't seen him in a long time as he didn't leave his home and then went into the CH they probably thought he had passed long before he did. I'm sure your mum's service will be lovely and as you say she is now at peace. I had seen my mum in the chapel of rest when she passed and she did look peaceful I found it helped me a lot. Unfortunately when dad passed this wasn't possible for various reasons but I wish I could have seen him one last time. Take care.