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Does mum need to be told she has dementia

Toony Oony

Registered User
Jun 21, 2016
579
Hi @Betty65 - keeping Mum's diagnosis a secret from everybody was merely to stop her being distressed at what she would have perceived as the most awful fate possible. It would have been so much easier for me to share with others what was happening - and you are right, people could then have been understanding - but her GP (who knew Mum well) decided and I agreed, that in the severely depressed state that Mum was in the result would have been a rapidly downward spiral.
I kept this 'secret' for as long as I needed rather than let her worst fears be realised and watch her give up completely and slip away in misery.
Everyone is different. My reply was to describe what we had done and how it had worked out. This was 100% right for my Mum - not so for others.
It gave us 2.5 more years together - and that's all I care about.
 

cobden 28

Registered User
Dec 15, 2017
75
I think whether or not you tell your relative of a diagnosis of dementia depends on how the person is likely to react to such information. When my late mother-in-law was diagnosed, she was in hospital for spething else, and was surrounded in her hospital bed by her son (my ex), her daughter (my sister-in-law) and their spouses, The doctor told MIL very gently that she had vascular dementia, but I don't think it really sunk in to MIL what wasthe matter with her.

This was in the mid-1990's, as I recall, and MIL died of heart failure in a care home in 2003 when she was 84.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
13,691
South coast
My mum was told kindly, but clearly, that she had Alzheimers by the doctor in the memory clinic, but I dont think it registered with her as she was so busy flirting outrageously with the doctor 😳

I never mentioned the A or D words to mum again (I just referred to her "bad memory"), although I did tell other people around her, so that they knew
 

Whisperer

Registered User
Mar 27, 2017
223
Hi @Betty65 - keeping Mum's diagnosis a secret from everybody was merely to stop her being distressed at what she would have perceived as the most awful fate possible. It would have been so much easier for me to share with others what was happening - and you are right, people could then have been understanding - but her GP (who knew Mum well) decided and I agreed, that in the severely depressed state that Mum was in the result would have been a rapidly downward spiral.
I kept this 'secret' for as long as I needed rather than let her worst fears be realised and watch her give up completely and slip away in misery.
Everyone is different. My reply was to describe what we had done and how it had worked out. This was 100% right for my Mum - not so for others.
It gave us 2.5 more years together - and that's all I care about.
Dear @Toony Oony

Completely agree with the position your doctor and you took regarding your mum. My mum went to the Memory Clinic in 2015 and was diagnosed with MCI. Despite the best efforts of the doctor mum refuses to go back stating “if I am going dolally I do not want to know”. Her fear of Dementia is as deep routed as your own mum’s. Makes it harder for me but we will go back to the Memory Clinic when mum no longer has the awareness to fully comprehend what is happening, get a diagnosis to then access local services like day care centres. My siblings are fully aware of mum’s condition but it is never discussed or referred to in front of mum. At times it makes it harder for me and after mum has behaved oddly in a conversation I have had to go back and explain to neighbours, the dentist, etc, that mum very likely now has Vascular Dementia, though I lack a formal diagnosis. Could they please be aware of this but not mention it to mum and allow me to guide conversations in the future when memory lapses become apparent.

i had a lot of soul searching a few years back about forcing mum back to the Memory Clinic. Her previous heart problems mean she almost certainly has Vascular Dementia for which there is no treatment, except trying to control her blood pressure. I bit the bullet and resolved to care for mum how she wanted things. It makes it harder for me at times, but we have chugged along for five years, mum slowly declining, but crucially happy within her shrinking world and fully trusting of me. Remembering how Dementia can cause so much misery I can ask for no more, though fully appreciate things are going to get harder in the future.

Just wanted to say to you that you are fully correct about deciding a path of caring which best fits the person who has Dementia. That is an act of kindness, there is no absolutely right way which fits all cases. Sometimes you just have to weight everything up, make a decision in the best interests of your loved one and then get on with it. Others may not agree but I find those who have strong counter opinions are usually way away from the day to day caring. That is not the case in my family where my siblings have been very supportive. But others on this forum have quite a bit of problem with opinionated relatives, friends, neighbours, etc.

Wishing you well for the future.