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Dealing with questions about deceased mum from dementia suffering dad.

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by J-J, Apr 12, 2014.

  1. J-J

    J-J Registered User

    Apr 12, 2014
    My dad who is in his 80s has started asking where my mum is, she passed away a few months back and at the time he was aware in his own way of what was going on..
    I have been changing the subject or ignoring it completely..

    Any advice would be appreciated. J J.
  2. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    SW London
    #2 Witzend, Apr 12, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2014
    A lot may depend on the state of someone's short term memory. If you explain however gently that the person has died, and they understandably get very upset, only to forget and ask again soon afterwards, it may be kinder to say they are away for a few days, or have gone to see so and so, or whatever seems appropriate.

    Distraction is often recommended but it is not guaranteed to work, and I must say it didn't often work for me.

    My FIL suddenly started asking where MIL was (she had been dead several years by then) and at first we explained gently that she had died, but he would be terribly upset and in any case only forget and ask again later. So we just started saying she'd popped to the shops, or she'd just gone to see Auntie x etc. These fibs always kept him quite happy for the moment, and he never remembered that we'd said much the same before. This had been my main worry about fibbing like this, that he would realise and accuse us, but he never did. As I said, a lot may depend on the state of short term memory.
  3. grobertson62

    grobertson62 Registered User

    Mar 7, 2011
    The first time dad asked we told him the truth blimey we wished we hadn't
    He soon forgot but we didnt.....
    After that mum was shopping ironing or whatever. It kept him happy that our deceased mum was busy. Mind you he did also tell us she had visited him and been to new york... She never went anywhere alone
    So sometimes a lie is kinder..
  4. Ann Mac

    Ann Mac Registered User

    Oct 17, 2013
    I think it depends on the level of insight the person with the dementia has. My Mil, with AZ and vascular dementia will ask about her late husband - and I'd say about 90% of the time, she will suddenly remember herself that he passed away a long time ago. If we have tried a little white lie, and said he's in work, or gone to the club, and she then remembers, not surprisingly she can get very angry at us 'lying', or (perhaps worse) be really embarrassed that she forgot, and sad that we have fibbed. Trouble is, its so hard to recognize when she is going to suddenly remember. At the moment, we tend to gently say 'Think about it, love - what happened to T**** ?', and this mostly prompts her to remember, and whilst it may cause her a tear or two, the level of upset isn't as great as if she thinks we have been lying to her. Its the same thing when she asks to go 'home' - we try to distract, we say we'll discus it later because we are busy, or whatever - but we don't attempt to fib any more, as if she catches us out, there is trouble:( Where the 'home' situation is concerned, there have even been times when she asks knowing the answer, but admits she thinks if she 'keeps on at us' we will give in and take her - if that's the mind frame when she asks, and its awfully hard to work that out straight away, using fibs can cause her to get really angry :(

    It makes it so much harder for her - I wish she would accept the 'Little white lies', if only for her peace of mind x
  5. LYN T

    LYN T Registered User

    Aug 30, 2012
    Brixham Devon
    I used to hate this stage so you have my sympathy.

    My Husband always used to ask where his Dad was when I picked him up from Daycare. It was almost like he was waiting for his Dad to pick him up from school. I used to tell him the weather was bad and the trains weren't running etc. He accepted it quite happily so I was glad that |I had told a little white one.

    Take care

    Lyn T

    WILLIAMR Account Closed

    Apr 12, 2014
    I visited somebody with dementia a few times around 3 years ago when the son was not there.
    His father asked where David was. I did not now David but I asked the son.
    It turned out David was another son who died 40 years before which I did not know about.
    Dementia sufferers do get things wrong.
    On another visit the father was worried the son would not be able to get any petrol to visit him. We both could not understand why.
    I spoke to another relative and they had said within earshot of the father the petrol station which they normally used was closed for refurbishment and they must remember to put some petrol in the car on the way home.
    There was no question of visits being stopped to any relative because of a petrol shortage.
    We did not know about this closure as we did not go past this station.
  7. copsham

    copsham Registered User

    Oct 11, 2012
    My mum seems a bit different with her dementia ( vascular). My father died 15 yrs ago but in the past 16 months in a nursing home she has "divorced" him, said that he probably won't visit as he does not know where she is! She has told me that she "must have married the wrong man " " He was all right til he started drinking" etc.

    This feels like within her dementia she is working out her feelings and reflecting on her life. When her sister told her he had died she was sure that her sister had got it wrong.

    It must be horrible if a person really misses there deceased partner but it is the opposite here.
  8. J-J

    J-J Registered User

    Apr 12, 2014
    Its strange .. He now says shes in bed ,,, no matter what ...
    Which is good ..
    He did ask me the other day if she was still in hospital ..so he must of recalled something ..
  9. Vesnina

    Vesnina Registered User

    Aug 25, 2013
    My mother sometimes calls for her mother just after sleep.
    I answer.
    As I hug her, she knows... (she cannot see).

    Sometimes just after sleep, she asks for her husband (my father).
    I say he is not here at the moment...

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