OH constantly mourning long-dead siblings

brioni

Registered User
Apr 19, 2017
6
London
My wife is in her early 80's with moderate-stage Alzheimer's. She comes from a large family of many brothers and sisters, where she is one of the younger ones. Now that her long-term memory is firmly fixed in her childhood, she is constantly mourning the fact that her older siblings have since died (some many years ago).
I struggle to deal with this - usually by telling her that they are all older then her, but this doesn't seem to satisfy her. Within the past couple of days I have changed to saying that they wouldn't want her to be sad, and that would make them sad; this seems to be more effective (at the moment).
I wonder, however, does anyone have a suggestion for a better solution?
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
11,313
South coast
Does she remember that her siblings have died, or do you have to remind her? Is there anything that is triggering it off?

With dementia you have to prevent them from anxiety and every time she realises that her siblings are dead will be like the first time she heard, so its best to prevent her from going there. Try heading her off and distracting her when you realise where the conversation is going. If she asks where they are or whether they are dead, then love lies are the way to go. Hopefully this phase will pass soon
 

marionq

Registered User
Apr 24, 2013
6,008
Scotland
Whenever this topic comes up about siblings I seem to have a contrarian view and wish I didn’t. My husband was one of 7 brothers and 2 sisters. Only himself and one handicapped sister left. At the height of his Alzheimer’s he constantly wanted to go out to meet up with one or more brothers usually at a place that no longer existed. He is 86. I just didn’t have enough distraction techniques to cover all of them so was very direct and when he mentioned x or y I told him calmly they had died in such and such a place and in what year. I then swiftly moved on to another topic.

This worked although it took months before it subsided. The important thing is not to raise anything which would remind them so I never bring out old photo albums or talk about matters which focus on his family.