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Dealing with grief + dementia

LoveYouMum

New member
Oct 13, 2021
9
0
My mum regularly forgets dad died in August, they celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in the June. It was OK for a week or two and then she started forgetting he had died and would be distraught saying nobody told her. Good news is that it has got quite a bit better, she still forgets but when she remembers she no longer has a meltdown. Sad thing is that she now also forgets that her son has died (7yrs ago now). She always knows who he is when she sees a photo but regularly forgets who I am. Still she doesn't get distressed for long if she remembers he has died.
 

taliahad

Registered User
Nov 22, 2021
66
0
It's horrible isn't it? My dad died in June and my mum doesn't really understand that he's gone but then now and again she starts crying for him. My mum also often thinks that her mother is still alive and wants to go and visit. Being a carer for someone with dementia is the hardest thing that I've ever done in my life. Wishing you and your mum all the very best.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
2,026
0
65
London
We have now moved on, mum's funeral has taken place and was a good and fitting end to a long life. So now the priority apart from my executor role, is care of my dad. I think his dementia has worsened. It isn't entirely new but talking to the deceased, now including my mother, seems to be a regular thing, often with photographs. Long- term memory is beginning to fail too. He asked me the date of his own birthday recently. He cannot remember a very memorable thing, my mother's date of death, and wrote a date in the future for this in a couple of Christmas cards. I think he is also worried about his own mental state, after months of total denial he now sometimes acknowledges that he is confused. It is hard to be sure but Ei suspect that grief has accelerated dementia somewhat.
 

lollyc

Registered User
Sep 9, 2020
801
0
Although my Mum has never seemed overly distressed about Dad's death , I definitely think it accelerated her dementia.
In the space of 8 weeks she went from normal, non-dementia, via a hip fracture and delirium, to sectioned for 14 weeks. She was released 4 days before Dad died, and I really do believe that it was all simply too much. Would she have deteriorated if Dad hadn't died? We'll never know.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
2,026
0
65
London
I think my dad's memory and confusion have worsened since my mother died. The funeral didn't affect him as much as I expected. I will never forget the villagers singing Abide With Me in a tiny village church. Perhaps he has forgotten it. But he cannot remember basic things like where and when she died, when we last saw her etc. His general memory seems to have deteriorated too. I don't know if there is any scientific explanation but it does look as if grief has cranked dementia up a notch.
 

Duggies-girl

Registered User
Sep 6, 2017
3,357
0
I think my dad's memory and confusion have worsened since my mother died. The funeral didn't affect him as much as I expected. I will never forget the villagers singing Abide With Me in a tiny village church. Perhaps he has forgotten it. But he cannot remember basic things like where and when she died, when we last saw her etc. His general memory seems to have deteriorated too. I don't know if there is any scientific explanation but it does look as if grief has cranked dementia up a notch.
@MartinWL When my mum died my dad went to pieces for a while. My mum had suspected dads had dementia for a while but I hadn't, as soon as mum had gone I could see what she meant. I stayed with dad for week and then slowly, bit by bit started to go home.

Dad seemed to recover quite well and did not often mention mum, I wondered if he had forgotten it all but he hadn't, it was just his way of dealing with it all, a kind of acceptance and his old fashioned way of getting on with things without making a fuss.

However his dementia became more and more obvious so I think losing mum may have cranked up his dementia or it could be that I was taking a lot more notice of how he was coping.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
2,026
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65
London
I am not sure if time will be a healer of if my dad will get worse. I would say he is wallowing in melancholia not only for the loss of his wife of 65 years, but also his brother, who died 19 years ago, and friends who died before that. He spends a lot of time looking at photographs of the departed. I suspect a good part of it is a realisation that his own abilities are failing although he would not admit that. I doubt there is much I can do for him. Some neighbours do call in now and again but I am afraid that they will be put off visiting by the repetitive gloom conversation to which they will be entertained.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
2,026
0
65
London
Time seems not to be a healer, if anything his grief is becoming greater. The strange thing is that he is grieving as much if not more for his brother, who died 18 years ago. I am finding the gloomy melancholia quite hard to deal with. There seems to be little that I can do.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
18,899
0
South coast
Is he still spending a long time looking at those photographs?
If so, Im wondering whether they are a trigger for these thoughts and constantly reminding him of his loss?
People with dementia frequently cannot process their grief and so never "come to terms" with it. The best way to deal with it is often to let them forget and not keep reminding them. Perhaps removing the photos might help? (and dont tell him why you removed them)
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
2,026
0
65
London
It is now 5 months since my mother died and I am still working on winding up her estate but that's an aside. My father doesn't seem to be coming to terms with the loss of his wife of 67 years. If anything he is more depressed. Bereavement is the obvious reason but he also mourns those of his family and friends who died years ago just as much, especially his brother who died 19 years ago. Like many elderly people left alone when their contemporaries have died, he has little to look forward to. In his mind ( mixed dementia) there wasn't much wrong with them when they died. He is on a mild antidepressant which I am sure helps. Sometimes carers report that he is "very sad today" and when I visit the conversation is often about the long-departed, which I find a bit trying as it is repetitive conversation. There probably isn't a solution to this although maybe more antidepressants might be needed in the future.
 

jennifer1967

Registered User
Mar 15, 2020
12,784
0
Southampton
It is now 5 months since my mother died and I am still working on winding up her estate but that's an aside. My father doesn't seem to be coming to terms with the loss of his wife of 67 years. If anything he is more depressed. Bereavement is the obvious reason but he also mourns those of his family and friends who died years ago just as much, especially his brother who died 19 years ago. Like many elderly people left alone when their contemporaries have died, he has little to look forward to. In his mind ( mixed dementia) there wasn't much wrong with them when they died. He is on a mild antidepressant which I am sure helps. Sometimes carers report that he is "very sad today" and when I visit the conversation is often about the long-departed, which I find a bit trying as it is repetitive conversation. There probably isn't a solution to this although maybe more antidepressants might be needed in the future.
maybe needs to be a higher dose of antidepressant as they do tend to start with a low dose first. it must be heart breaking when all their contemporaries are not around any more as they cant go over old memories with those that have lived it.
 

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