Death in the family - how do we tell my nan that her son had died?

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by mew1949, Jun 14, 2015.

  1. mew1949

    mew1949 Registered User

    Jun 14, 2015
    My uncle is in hospital and very unlikely to last the day. We have not as yet told my nan that he is ill at all we have said he is working away. My nan finds it difficult to retain short term information, however she is canny enough to know something is going on.

    Her son is her blue eyed boy and phones him about 20 times a day and we have been advised two different things. One to tell her and one to change the subject.

    My grandad died 6 months ago and sometimes she remembers but most of the time she is constantly asking me where grandad is?

    My nan is 90 years old and we are a very very close family and we are concerned that if we don't take her down to the hospital what happens with regards to the funeral?

    Please can someone advise?
  2. 2jays

    2jays Registered User

    Jun 4, 2010
    West Midlands
    Awful time for you xx

    My thoughts.. Not that I have any experience of this situation...

    Maybe not tell her he is in hospital, but maybe take her to see him at chapel of rest. Maybe take her to funeral, with a carer so you don't have to worry about her whilst you are grieving. This all depends on how mobile your nan is.... And how much she will retain.... Only you know this

    So sad. Thinking of you xx

    Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point
  3. daisydi

    daisydi Registered User

    Feb 25, 2015
    I am not sure if there is a right or wrong way. My mum has dementia and her eldest sister died a year ago. We took her to the funeral and on the way back she asked why everyone was so upset. We thought that she had no memory of it but only yesterday when asked about her family I said she has two sisters. She said no, only one because M had passed away so she can remember!
  4. Rageddy Anne

    Rageddy Anne Registered User

    Feb 21, 2013
    Sorry to read of your imminent loss, and your Nan's.

    I think it would be better if you tell her, that he's died, and that it was quite sudden, rather than put her through the anguish of a hospital visit, though others might not agree.

    You'll need to tell her he's died in case later on she over hears mention of her son's death by someone who thinks she knows. It could happen, and if it did, you'd be able to say " yes, its so sad, and we miss him don't we Nan?" or something similar.

    We've been trying to keep from telling my husband some sad family news, but outsiders don't always realise, so they might blunder into saying the wrong thing, and then feel awful.

    Is she well enough to attend the funeral? Such a hard heart goes out to you.xx
  5. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    You might want to tell her once and let her attend the funeral but any repeat questions about where he is should be deflected, as you don't want to cause recurring grief to her, do you? Believe me, it will be kinder.
  6. cragmaid

    cragmaid Registered User

    Oct 18, 2010
    North East England
    If she asks about your uncle, I'd tell your Mum that he's poorly in hospital, if she wants to visit you have two is to take her and two is tell her that there is an infection and no visiting on his ward.
    When your uncle does die I'd say...tell her once. After that when she asks just say he's busy, away, poorly or at work. Telling her each time, that he has died, will be like telling her the first time and the sadness drags on and on.
    As far as the funeral is concerned, how does she manage in social situations? If she gets overwhelmed and upset or disruptive then don't take her, but if she can absorb the significance of the occasion let her go with you but if you think that the service would be beyond her, what about taking her to the after service reception/wake.

    I would leave it until the day to decide.....My Mum was too tired to go to her cousin's funeral when push came to shove.

    Sorry you are having to make these decisions.

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