How do we tell my mum her partner has left her?

Discussion in 'Middle - later stages of dementia' started by klo, Feb 14, 2016.

  1. klo

    klo Registered User

    Feb 14, 2016
    My mum is in the mid-stages of dementia. Her short term memory is very bad and she is very anxious and confused a lot of the time, particularly at night.

    Last week, her (87 year old) partner (who also has early stages of dementia), left her. He literally walked out of the house and is refusing to come back. We understand his decision as he was really struggling to cope.

    However, my mum is really confused and asking when he is going to come back. We are seeing a social worker tomorrow and she will have to go into a home as she cannot stay on her own. But we feel dreadful, not only that we cannot look after her but, have to somehow tell her he is not coming back.

    Does anyone have any idea of what or how we can tell her?
  2. Patricia Alice

    Patricia Alice Registered User

    Mar 2, 2015
    My mum and her sister were separated last July due to my mum's deteriorating vascular dementia. The care home kept her sister but served notice on mum and she had to go to a more challenging behaviour home. Mum's psychiatrist said that after a few weeks she would forget about her sister and to some extent she has. We had to tell mum she was going into hospital for a short while (a new home), at first she kept looking for her sister, but the psychiatrist was correct.

    Perhaps you could say that her partner has had to go to hospital or convalescence for a few weeks, try not to mention his name.

    It is a very difficult one.

    Best wishes.
  3. klo

    klo Registered User

    Feb 14, 2016
    Gosh! I really hope she does forget him...

    She has been obsessed with the loss of her car for the past 2 years. It has caused so much upset... and that was just the car!

    At the moment, she thinks he has gone to see his daughter but she is not happy that he hasn't called.
  4. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    This might sound a bit barmy but is there any chance of mediation even so that when she does go into a home he visits?
    Can you tell her for the time being that he isn't very well and has gone away to be looked after for a while until he regains his strength and health? Then the same to her when she has to make the move - the GP has recommended that she is looked after in this lovely hotel to regain her strength and recover?
    It might ease the immediate pain, lessen the distress and make the move easier on everyone
  5. Shedrech

    Shedrech Volunteer Moderator

    Dec 15, 2012
    Hi klo
    What a sad situation for your mum and you - and for her partner (I hope he has family to look out for him)
    I was wondering what to say to dad if he ever mentioned his parents and my mum, for instance, and why they aren't with him (all dead) - so I thought up lots of instances he's told me about from his childhood and life with mum when they were away for some time eg mum went to Canada with her sister on a long holiday, his parents made regular visits to family in their home town - I then had lots of reasons why the person he mentioned couldn't be with him right at that minute, but would be back 'soon'
    Are there any such times you could use for your mum now - did her partner go out somewhere regularly, or did he have a holiday or go visit one of his family, or a hospital stay? Just something that would sound reasonable to her to settle her mind at that moment.
    best wishes
  6. klo

    klo Registered User

    Feb 14, 2016

    Thanks for the suggestions.

    I have spent the week looking after my mum and she is immensely confused. But we opted to say, he was visiting his daughter but was ill... She has repeatedly called people looking for him though and yesterday got hold of his daughter who told her he had left and wasn't coming back. She has been in a very accurate place for the past few days and was fully aware that he had left her... for some of the time... but then would slip back into thinking he was coming back.

    We have had to find a care home for her, as I go back to work on Monday and today has been so hard. She is not settling well and is feeling very abandoned.

    We felt that the home, although far away was the best that we could find. But are now questioning ourselves.
  7. Twodimensions

    Twodimensions Registered User

    Apr 6, 2014
    Hi Klo

    My mum is in mid-stage dementia and in a care home. Like many others there she is always asking about Dad - whether this is my dad or her dad, I'm never sure! I aways say I think he's out and about and coming home later. That seems to work. Sounds like you are in an absolutely heartbreaking situation - all the best.

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