I don't know what to do

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by stevo123x, Mar 21, 2008.

  1. stevo123x

    stevo123x Registered User

    Mar 21, 2008
    3
    aberdeen
    I need some advice my mother has alzheimers and my dad was her carer but sadly he has past away a few days ago i don't even know if she understands what has happened do we try to explain or not we also have my dad's funeral would it be wise to take her or will it distress her too much we are at pains to know what to do any advice or experiences other members may have had that may be of help would be gratefully received
     
  2. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    69,560
    Kent
    Hello Stevo.

    I am very sorry you have just lost your father. Please accept my deepest sympathy.

    I`m afraid I couldn`t advise you whether or not your mother could attend his funeral. You know her best.

    How long has your mother had Alzheimers? Did she still know your father, did she recognize him as her husband? Has she missed him since he died? Is she aware he is no longer there?

    If you could try to think how she is now, it might help you to know how she`d be.

    Perhaps someone else will be more helpful.

    Take care xx
     
  3. BeverleyY

    BeverleyY Registered User

    Jan 29, 2008
    716
    Ashford, Kent
    Hi Steve

    We are in the same position(ish).

    My Mum died 9 weeks ago. My Dad has Vascular Dementia. He was at her bedside when she died, but I know he wasn't taking it all in. He knew, but it was like on a different level of consciousness. If he had been totally 'with it' I know he would have been distraught.

    Even this week he has still asked once or twice is Mum is out despite the fact that he goes to the cemetery 2 or 3 times a day!

    My Dad is what they term 'moderate' so, his short term memory is not good, nor is his spatial awareness, but on the whole to the outside world he is still 'normal'. In fact, most days to us he is totally fine and you wouldn't notice at times that he has anything wrong (then he asks who I am..:rolleyes: ) and they have lived with us 5 years.

    Dad was at the funeral and he was very upset that day, but he isn't at a stage where a little white lie would hide our loss so I've been 100% honest with him.

    I would say, if your Mum does understand what has happened and she will ask where he is, then you should be honest. If, however, she is at a more advanced stage of this illness and she doesn't even recognise that he is missing, then maybe for her sake you could tell a white lie or two.

    Having said all of that..... I presume they have been married a long time, and if she can get through the day with support... even if confused, it would be a fantastic thing for her to do.

    You need to do what you feel is best for her.

    Best wishes.

    Beverley
     
  4. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    17,000
    SW Scotland
    Hi stevo, welcome to TP.

    I'm sorry to hear your dad has passed away, it's a very difficult situation when the person left has dementia.

    You are the only one who can decide whether to tell your mum. What stage is she at? Is she likely to be upset, or is she beyond understanding?

    Most people think that if your mum is unlikely to remember from one day to the next, it's kinder not to tell her. Otherwise, you'd have to keep telling her over and over again, and she would have to suffer the same grief over and over.

    However, if she is still able to understand and remember, it might be better to tell her, rather than have to keep fobbing her off about where he is.

    As for the funeral, again it's up to you. She doesn't have to go if it would upset her, or if she wouldn't understand what was going on.

    Does she live on her own, or is she living with you? If she's on her own, you might find that she's not able to cope without your dad. Have you let social services know? They will have to reorganise her care package.

    There's such a lot for you to cope with just now. Please come back to us with any questions, and we'll try to help.
     
  5. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,439
    I would agree mostly with what has already been said, except I wouldn't make the "break point" an ability to remember. The thing is - as Beverley has mentioned, it's quite likely that your mother will forget that your father has died whether or not she goes to the funeral, but I don't think the fact that she will probably forget should be a reason not to take her. I feel quite strongly, however, once the funeral is over and she forgets, that it isn't a kindness to keep reminding her. Now for some people, they will forget but due to the nature of their illness, they will be incurious about the individuals absence, or alternatively, each time they are told that they are dead it will be like the first time they've heard the news. In other words: you have to play it by ear. However, I think if you can swing it, and have sufficient support for her, if at all possible she should go to the funeral.
     
  6. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    10,824
    london
    My mother 6 year on from being told she has AZ, then last week was told she has VD also, 6 year on from when my father pass away . Can still remember my father . It took mum 4 good years to talk about dad , with out say ' how sad , how sad ' when she want to she talk about him , with happy memory of they time together. All u can do is ask your mother if she want 2 go. Its natural if she get upset . If she at the stage she dose not kown you father that , if it was my mother and it would upset her going 2 a funeal of someone she now did not know i would not take her ,.
     
  7. hendy

    hendy Registered User

    Feb 20, 2008
    506
    West Yorkshire
    Dear Stevo
    I'm sorry to hear that you lost your father. Please accept my condolences. I'm not sure I can tell you what is the best thing to do. Everybody's situation is unique. I can only tell you that I have had to break some sad news on several occasions to my father(he has Vas Dem). It was a dreadful dilemma each time. It also necessitated taking him to two funerals, when his condition was fairly advanced. How much he understood of what was happening each time, is difficult to say. Some people at the time advised me not to take him, but I simply did not feel I could make that decison and deprive him of the opportunity to say a last goodbye to his dear friends. It was hard for me, but I felt it was my duty to help Dad in these circumstances.
    You are the only one who can decide Stevo
    take care
    hendy
     
  8. rhallacroz

    rhallacroz Registered User

    Sep 24, 2007
    106
    merseyside
    What a predicament

    HI Steve
    Well firstly I am so sorry about your situation they say it never rains but it pours. Well I am only going to speak about the situation if it was me. I myself hate the thought of funerals and dont know even if I could attend my own parents funeral. Funerals are things in my opinion that we have to go through in order to publically say goodbye. In your dear mums situation unless she is totally aware of the event I would not take her.
    If your mum doesn;t settle in the next few weeks you could perhaps have a quiet little celebration with just close family and friends in order to give some closure to your dads dear life. You may also wish to consider your dads thoughts in all this and what he would have wanted if he were here today to guide you
    Your in my thoughts Steve.
    Take care
    Angela I know you will make the right decision..
     
  9. stevo123x

    stevo123x Registered User

    Mar 21, 2008
    3
    aberdeen
    thanks for your help

    can i start by thanking all of you who took the time to reply it gives me great heart that there are people out there who understand the situation that my family find itself in.as for my mother she has never given any real indication that she knows my father has died and to be honest she hasn't mentioned him too much she hasn't really asked where he is even last night for example she was reading some sympathy cards that people had sent and said someone must of died with no flicker of recognition that her husband of 53 years had gone. i don't know what stage she's at probably moderate i guess but she definetly can not be left on her own. as for the funeral i'll have to discuss with my brother and sister i'm sure my father would have wanted her to go but i don't want to take her if there is any chance that she may get upset with all the people that will be there only thing i'm sure of is that it won't be an easy decision.
    once again can i thank you for your input.
    stevo
     
  10. CraigC

    CraigC Registered User

    Mar 21, 2003
    6,630
    London
    Stevo,

    Well unfortunately I can speak from first hand exprience. My father sounds a little more advanced than your mother but he is still aware of his emotions. Mum died a few weeks ago and I really felt nervous about the funeral. People kept saying to me that you will regret it if you do not take your father and there is no going back. Honestly, I had no idea what to do.

    So on Tuesday we arranged a wheelchair taxi and took dad to the funeral. I kept close to him and there is no doubt in my mind that he took a little bit of the situation in. The music, the mention of her name all through the service and of course all the tears. I call it a seventh sense.

    But I can honestly say that I have no regrets. We had already decided that it if became a strain on his emotions we would stop everything and take him into the garden, no one would have a problem with that.

    I think when you said
    that summed up how we felt. However dementia touches people they are still alive and still have emotions. The only blessing is that they will probably forget.

    Without knowing your specific circumstances, I can only offer my experience over the last week. No regrets BUT every situation is different, so just do what you feel is right and make sure that if you do go ahead, you have a clear contingency plan and everyone is aware of it, paticularly the minister holding the service.

    Whaterver you do, good luck and I know you have your own grieving to cope with.

    Hope that helps
    Craig
     
  11. fearful fiona

    fearful fiona Registered User

    Apr 19, 2007
    723
    London
    Dear Stevo

    I am unfortunately another one who can speak from first hand experience. My father died three weeks ago and we had the same dilemma with my mother who is in the psychiatric unit of the local hospital as she became violent at the care home and they couldn't cope with her. We told her about Dad, but she hasn't taken it in and in fact is convinced that he is still there and she has seen him recently. If she asks about him I just say "he's not here" or sometimes "Dad's no longer with us", but she doesn't seem unduly distressed, so probably best not to insist that he has died.

    My brother and I took the decision not to involve her in the funeral as she seemed unable to take in the fact that he had died and we felt that she would not understand whose funeral it was. It was a terrible decision to make, but we felt it was for the best.

    I have kept the order of service and all the condolence letters sent to me rather than to Mum (because people knew of Mum's situation) and if the time comes, I thought she and I could sit down and look at them. However I'm not sure that time will come.

    Best of luck with taking a very difficult decision, I think it is all down to how much your Mum understands really.
     
  12. Margaret W

    Margaret W Registered User

    Apr 28, 2007
    3,725
    North Derbyshire
    Hi Steve,

    Well, it is obvious there is no right or wrong answer. My uncle died 3 years ago. My aunt (his wife) was then in the late stages of Alzheimers, she didn't really know who he was. But my cousin got her dressed in her best clothes, and off to the funeral, and although she didn't really know what was going on, I do think she recognised some of her relatives from the past. She didn't converse with any of us, but we conversed with her, and she sat and smiled and said "where is Arthur?" a few times, but it was not at all distressing to her. In fact I think she enjoyed having a day out amongst a lot of people - as she used to do before the illness.

    Above all, I just loved meeting my Auntie Ethel again after all the years of not seeing her, and she looked just as lovely as she had done 20 years ago.

    I don't know the answer, Steve. I can only suggest you try it, and have a backup if she appears stressed.

    It just seems right that she should go to her husband's funeral, she probably won't be distressed, she won't realise what she is there for, but she will know it is for something important. Who knows what that will register in her mind?

    Much love

    Margaret
     
  13. stevo123x

    stevo123x Registered User

    Mar 21, 2008
    3
    aberdeen
    thanks for advice

    To all those who replied to my post for advice many thanks my father's funeral was on the 26th March and we decided to take my mother to the funeral my sister did have a word with my mother the night before to see if she understood what was happening we think that may have been a mistake because she got quite annoyed and wouldn't talk to my sister but by morning she had seemed to have forgotten again and was alright.The family gathered at her house to go to the funeral this seemed to confuse her but we took her with some trepidation but in the end she was fine and as one of the you who replied said she actually seemed to enjoy the company she received from family and friends.
     
  14. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    17,000
    SW Scotland
    Hi Steve, thanks for the update.

    I'm glad your mum got through the funeral without too much upset. I hope she has more or less returned to 'normal' now, and you are not finding it too difficult.
     

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