How do i explain where my Dad is when Mum asks, he died 8 years ago.

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by TPSS, Jul 16, 2018.

  1. Globemaker

    Globemaker New member

    Jul 20, 2018
    My mum does this sort of thing its usually about my nan ,they were very close . I tell her with a hug that.nan died over 30yrs ago and she's up there in heaven , she doesn't remember and asks did we all go to the funeral and stuff
    When I think we've chatted enough I change the subject look at that bird or wasn't it lovely when Mark came round the other always works and my family and friends always look round for the bird
    They reckon I'm dead good at it
    My mum likes knitting.. just 50 stitches plain knitting she makes blankets for anyone whose had a baby
    I've got so many now that I unravel them and give it to her again .. Having something to do makes her happier
  2. SKD

    SKD Registered User

    Mum is always wanting to see her Mum and Dad who died many years ago, her eldest sister, who died 3 years ago and my Dad who has been gone 7 years. just before she moved into care we were looking at the garden and I said - Oh I need to dead head the hydrangeas. Mum said - your Dad doesn't seem to bother these days! She does still worry about what he will want for tea - I usually say nothing much Mum! I've become used to it but sometimes it is hard.
  3. Blondee

    Blondee Registered User

    May 12, 2018
    It’s so sad when this happens. My mum always asked where Tommy (my dad) was. It was easy to distract her but I was taken aback when, after she had been admitted to a care home, I visited and she burst into tears after we had gone to her room. She told me that Tommy had gone away with a much younger woman (he didn’t look at another woman in his life) but then he was a much younger man! All you can do is distract your mum. And she will be distracted. It’s a heartbreaking situation but it’s all about keeping your PWD content and that’s whatever it takes xx
  4. Baz22

    Baz22 Registered User

    Dec 30, 2017
    South West
    So many stories on this thread that mirror my own experience. I too started trying to tell Mum the truth about her Mum & Dad and then like so many others on here developed the art of deception when the question came up. Net result Mum does not get upset or agitated and we move on. It was hard at first as my natural instinct was to be truthful with her, but it has become second nature now to dodge the question. It has been a few weeks now since she has asked but she will at some point and again I will swerve it to avoid causing upset.
  5. Canadian Joanne

    Canadian Joanne Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 8, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    Very early in Mum's illness, before she was diagnosed in fact, she asked me where my grandmother was. I told her Grandmother had died (she had actually died 30 years before) and there were floods of tears and questions of "why wasn't she told" etc. I quickly learned to lie. From then on when she asked about my grandparents I would say they were fine, same as always, which was true as they were still dead. If she asked where they were, I would tell her the town where the cemetery was. When she said she wanted to visit them, I would agree and say "let's go the day after tomorrow as I have a dentist appointment tomorrow.

    I had never been able to lie to my mother before but as it was a matter of keeping her calm and reasonably content, I learned quickly, I did not want to see the grief and pain I caused when I first told her my grandmother was dead.
  6. Msphoenix

    Msphoenix New member

    Jul 22, 2018
    My mum has advanced vascular dementia and has lived with me and my family for the past 7 years. She always asks where dad is although he died over 20 years ago. We try to distract her and often we tell her he is at work or coming soon. Occasionally we have told her the truth but that upsets her too much. Lying became easier and more humane. As long as she is happy and calm is the best we can hope for. She also asks for her parents whom needless to say have been deceased an Incredibly long time. It is very difficult but we made the decision early on that the truth would have to be sacrificed to endure her comfort and happiness. Good luck.
  7. Shedrech

    Shedrech Volunteer Moderator

    Dec 15, 2012
    hello @Msphoenix
    just to say welcome to TP
    I totally agree with you - whatever helps keep my dad as settled as possible, that's what I do/say - it's all about 'love lies', nothing malicious, just kindness
  8. Niggy

    Niggy New member

    Oct 17, 2017
    I have read "Contented Dementia" by Oliver James. I am recommending this book to everybody, because it explains how to keep a loved one with dementia happy. That is our main concern. It explains ways to cope with all these difficult questions and situations. I found it very practical, helpful and comforting.
  9. Dawnbreaker

    Dawnbreaker Registered User

    Jun 26, 2013
    One piece of advice we were given by the consultant psychiatrist who assessed my relative for dementia was that "you have to lie through your teeth". We very soon realised that this was good advice. Giving some made-up explanation as to where her husband was and why she hadn't seen him recently was less distressing all round than saying "he died 3 years ago - don't you remember?". Sometimes she remembered or vaguely suspected, and asked "is he dead?" in which case we'd tell the truth, but if she asked "why hasn't he visited me?" a lie always worked best. As one of her carers once remarked, in the context of all the lying: none of us is going to go to heaven!
  10. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    SW London
    We were fairly new to dementia when my FiL first started asking where MiL was - she'd been dead 10 years by then. We began by gently explaining that she'd died, but he'd get terribly upset and cry - only to forget and ask again soon afterwards.
    So we started saying she'd just popped to the shops, or had gone to see Mrs/Auntie So and so. This would keep him quite happy - his short term memory was practicall zero by then so he never remembered that we'd said similar before.

    It's never wrong IMO to fib to someone with dementia if the truth would mean distress, agitation or fretting.
  11. NorthBankDave

    NorthBankDave Registered User

    May 10, 2017
    I would absolutely agree with telling 'love lies' to protect their feelings. Mum regularly asks where her husband is (he died 36 years ago), her Mother In Law (who died 24 years ago) and thinks her younger sister is calling round, or gets disappointed because she hasn't (she died three years ago). More recently she calls out for her Mum in the night or wants her to take her to her medical appointments.

    In my experience with Mum, when she is asking the question she genuinely doesn't know that they aren't alive anymore and telling her just upsets her, so I just reassure her that they're OK, or tell her I don't know where they are or give her a hug and try and distract her. It doesn't sit easily with me but It's all about making the PWD feel calm, safe, reassured & content. I know how heartbreaking it is though so sending a hug your way :)
  12. Lilye

    Lilye Registered User

    Oct 15, 2016
    Its heartbreaking isn't it hilaryd absolutely heartbreaking.
  13. Lilye

    Lilye Registered User

    Oct 15, 2016
    Thank you Shedrech that is very kind of you.

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