Help please, the truth or not the truth

Stripey3

Registered User
May 29, 2019
32
I am in a quandary...
My father is in hospital and my mother does not know. Both have dementia and both are in the same care home. Staff at the care home feel its best not to tell her even though she is looking for him and saying she doesn’t know where he is. I think it would better to tell her he is in hospital and therefore she will know he is not in the home. Of course she will forget so might have to be reminded but at least in her lucid moments she will know. The care home obviously have more experience in dealing with PWD’s but I can’t get my head around the fact that they think it’s better not to tell her.
I went along with it today and now feel terrible that I haven’t told her where he is to put her mind at rest and wish I had gone against their advice.
Anyone else faced a similar situation??
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
11,267
South coast
Its a difficult one, but I think there is the distinct possibility that if you told the truth to your mum it wouldnt put her mind at rest at all, but would distress her and even if she forgot there would still be the memory of the emotion that something terrible had happened. She might also constantly insist on going to visit him.
 

northumbrian_k

Registered User
Mar 2, 2017
921
Newcastle
What benefit would she get from knowing that he is in hospital @Stripey3 ? The idea of hospital stirs up fears in many people. If you tell her she may forget it soon enough but the fears that are raised may linger on. I would take the advice of the care home, especially as it is possible, even likely, that she looks for him even when he is in the home.
 

Stripey3

Registered User
May 29, 2019
32
@canary
@northumbrian_k
Thanks for your quick responses. Both very helpful and I hadn’t thought of it from your angles so to speak.
Perhaps I was focussed more on the lying or not telling her the truth side of things.
Her had his op today (he fell in the home and fractured his hip) and all went to plan and he is back on the ward.
I was planning to take Mum to see him tomorrow but I guess I should speak to them first and see what they recommend?
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
11,267
South coast
Unfortunately @Stripey3 when you are dealing with dementia you have to let go of the idea of telling the truth all the time, even though it does not come easily because we are taught to respect our parents and not lie to them. Once dementia comes along, though, the truth can cause much harm, so we have to be "economical with the truth". I have also heard it called "therapeutic untruths" if this concept is easier for you. You have to be guided by asking yourself - Will this cause distress? Your job now is to minimise distress.

Speak to the care home staff, but you can also visit yourself and see whether your mum would find it distressing. Would she be likely to insist on trying to take him back with her?
 

Stripey3

Registered User
May 29, 2019
32
@canary
No, this is the second hospitalisation for him. I took her to see him before and she was ok with the visits and
Didn’t insist on taking him home. So I am hoping this time will be the same.

I will write on a piece of paper ‘will it cause distress? Your job is to minimise distress’
and keep it in my bag.. I think it’s great and will be a handy to have as a reminder as it’s so easy to let your emotions take over and cloud your judgement and thought processes. So thank you for that.