How Do I tell mum her sister died?


Registered User
Aug 2, 2011
north lanarkshire
Hi everyone

It has been a while since I posted on this site but I have been dropping in now and again.

Mum was diagnosed with Alzheimers about a year ago following what has been a few years of need to go into what she was dong, saying etc as you have all been there so will understand.

To cut a very long story short mum was sectioned in November and until last week was still in hospital and as a family we were so sad to see this happen....although we knew it was coming (unlike the so called health professionals who told me that morning there was nothing wrong with mum!!) I guess like our children we all know our relatives better than anyone else.

Anyway, we found a fabulous nursing home for mum after months of searching and waiting on a room and mum went into the nursing home last week (11th February). Again no point in going into that day suffice to say it was pretty traumatic and one I wouldn't want to repeat ever again!

My dilemma is that the day before mum went into the home her older sister died very suddenly so we decided not to tell mum as we felt this would upset her at a time when she obviously was upset with the move. Tomorrow is my aunts funeral and mum knows nothing about it and although I know its probably for the best that she isn't told I feel guilty as if I am keeping a secret from her. My other aunt and uncle are going to visit mum tomorrow with me after the funeral and I have asked them (and they agree) not to tell mum about her other sister. They haven't seen mum in the home yet.

I should have said mum is a very fit 83 year old who has never been ill for as long as I can remember and is on no medication.

So do I tell mum about her sister and if so when would be appropriate? I don't want to upset her unnecessarily if she will just forget anyway?

Thanks in advance

Linda x

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Hello Linda

I`m so sorry to hear about your mum but am pleased to see you back on TP even so.

I really wouldn`t tell her about her sister, especially if her other siblings agree with you, it makes it a family decision.

I know I would have done anything to protect Dhiren from distress even if it meant withholding the truth.

It sounds as if your mum has had enough to contend with, she needs as much time as possible to recoup and hopefully regain some peace of mind if that is at all possible.


Registered User
Nov 8, 2012
I agree. My mum's sister has also just died and I shall not tell her.
I once told my mum that my dad had died (8 years ago. She had forgotten and was looking for him) and the upset I caused was terrible. Next day she had forgotten and was off looking for him again. So there seems no point really, I think.

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
Toronto, Canada
My mother has had a brother, a sister, and her first and second husbands die after her diagnosis. My sister and I decided not to tell her any of it. We felt the distress would not be worth it.


Registered User
May 17, 2011
Don't tell your mum. Although MIL didn't remember some family members we decided to tell her of her remaining (younger) sister's death & took her to the funeral. We assumed she would have no idea what was going on but how wrong we were. MIL & her sister used to be close but hadn't seen each other for 2 years (about the time she was diagnosed with dementia). MIL took the news very badly - not so much grief at her sister's death but she continually cried & repeated 'But I am older than her'. She was inconsolable at the funeral & it took weeks before she settled down & forgot all about it - meanwhile her dementia got worse because of the upset.

It's hard to keep things from your loved ones but no purpose can be served by telling them the truth & the anguish it causes them is hard to bear.


Registered User
May 19, 2013
Hi Linda

A couple of weeks ago my fathers sister died. It was agreed with the MRI home that he wasn't to be told. He's at a stage now when the present is going and the past is becoming more clear. his relationship with her is getting on for being clearer than the relationship with me (despite the act he hasn't seen her for at least 10 years) . If he was told it would distress him, he would then forget about it only to be told again and then upset further.

Take care


Registered User
Jan 31, 2012
My mum-in-law (deceased 2003) was diagnosed with vascular dementia in the late 1990's and her only surviving sibling, Aunty Joan who lived in France, died in 2002. It was decided by MIL's family, my husband and sister-in-law, it was best not to tell MIL as she wouldn't understand what had happened or why.

OH did eventually tell his Mum about six months after Aunty Joan's death; MIL's reaction, as I recall, was to look very sad for a short while and say 'Oh well, then.'

She never mentioned Aunty Joan again, and MIL died shortly afterwards due to heart failure, in her mid-80's.