Saying Goodbye - help

stardust123

Registered User
Apr 11, 2008
16
My Dad is in hospital, shortly going into residential care. He doesn't understand when I say goodbye that he is in hospital and he wants to come with me, 'you can give me a lift can't you?' and 'can you drop me off at home'. When I explain that he has to stay there and that he's in hospital, he gets really agitated and insists on trying to come with me.

The last few times I have been, I have had to tell him a) that I am going to make a phone call and see what I can sort out or b) that I am going to the toilet and will be back shortly. Then I've had to leave! Finding this so hard, can anyone offer any advice ? Thanks.
 

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
16,243
65
Toronto, Canada
I think you've found the solution -

The last few times I have been, I have had to tell him a) that I am going to make a phone call and see what I can sort out or b) that I am going to the toilet and will be back shortly. Then I've had to leave!
It's something a lot of us have had to do. If he finds it easier to think you're going to the toilet or make a phone call or whatever, then that's what you should do. It's all about making the person more comfortable. Yes, it will be hard at first for you but focus on how it makes your father less anxious. Don't worry, you'll get there.
 

Skye

Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
17,000
SW Scotland
Hi Stardust, you're doing exactly the right thing!:)

If your dad gets upset when he thinks you are leaving, the kindest thing is to pretend that you'll only be away for a short time.

In the same way, I quickly learned not to say 'See you tomorrow' to John, as that reminded him that we were no longer living together. I always say 'I'm off to take Skye for a walk. See you later', and he's quite happy with that.

Anything that mitigates distress cannot be bad.
 

Brucie

Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
12,413
near London
After she has been 7 years in her care home, I still tell my Jan that I have to go out shopping and I will be back soon.

I really don't know if she understands, or even knows who is talking, but there is a hint of relaxation in her posture when I say it.
 

TinaT

Registered User
Sep 27, 2006
7,095
Bolton
I call the leaving talk 'kind, half truths'. It is true that I have to feed the cats, that the nurses/carers have made his bed and arranged his medication and cooked his evening meal. I tell him that we will be seeing the doctor soon who will be able to 'sort things out' for us.

The whole truth is of course, that I can't cope with him at home and it must to be on my shoulders alone to deal with this gut wrenching truth. Ken should not, and, I will never let him be faced with this terrible fact.

So I will continue to tell him these 'half truths' and he, God bless him, will continue to trust me that soon everything will be sorted out. He is happy with this explaination.

In my own experience I feel that it is a kindness to say that you will be back soon, or you are making a phone call etc., etc., Within a few minutes of leaving, because of the illness, your half truths have been forgotten and the more pressing, immediate concerns of the moment take over.

xxTinaT
 

Margaret W

Registered User
Apr 28, 2007
3,725
North Derbyshire
Hey you all,

I read your posts, I can't always add anything to help you, but I read them anyway. I can't find it in me to lie. But I was forced into it a year ago when I visited mum for the second day on the trot and she said "did you find the toilet?", and I asked what she meant. The previous day I had said "I am going now, I need to find the toilet", and the following day she thought I was still looking!

Love to everyone. Boy, aren't we a team! What would we do without this site?

Margaret
 

stardust123

Registered User
Apr 11, 2008
16
Thanks all

Thanks everyone, I seem to be doing the right thing then.

I really appreciate you taking the time to respond.

I used this forum a few times now and always find the advice comforting and invaluable.