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How to Answer a Direct Question


Registered User
Mar 28, 2015
I have read many threads asking what to do if a loved one we are caring for asks for a long-dead parent or loved one - humour them, say they will be back soon, they are at work etc.

But my Mum keeps asking my Dad if her father (who died of a broken heart a year after my Nanna died in 1980) is dead? She asks as if she assumes he is and just wants confirmation.

Dad is following the guidelines but is not sure what to say if he is asked a yes or no question outright and quite frankly neither am I, especially as I am no longer sure if Mum even knows who I am most of the time. She only asks my Dad these things, when I am there she treats me like a friendly visitor most of the time.

So what do I tell my Dad he should say? He is 88 and dealing with Vascular Parkinsonism so has enough of his own problems to deal with and also has Minor Cognitive Impairment so the solution has to be simple!


Registered User
Apr 24, 2013
How does she respond to being fobbed off? Is she happy with a vague answer? Is it possible as you say that she knows the truth but wants it clarified. Perhaps she would be happier knowing that her parents are dead and together in the hereafter ( wherever that is!). I know all the arguments about love lies and if it works then great but some people want a straight(ish) answer


Registered User
Aug 30, 2013
Whatever you answer, make it as close to the truth as possible.
That way you don't have to try and remember the "correct" answer, and if someone else answers, their reply is close to what you say.



Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
South coast
If you think that she knows and is just seeking confirmation, then I would try answering her honestly and gently and see what happens. If she becomes distressed, then next time she asks you will know that you need love lies and distraction, but if you are right then she might take it quite well.


Registered User
Aug 15, 2015
Has your Dad ever asked her where does she think they are? Or maybe I don't know you tell me? See what answer you get from her as I think she is looking for clarification rather than an answer. Maybe he could say if he has to tell her they are dead, I'm afraid they are in a better place, with my parents too. It may soften the blow.

Hard to give an answer when you don't know the person and how fragile they are.