Should our Mum attend our Dad's funeral?

Discussion in 'After dementia — dealing with loss' started by Diggydig, Mar 10, 2015.

  1. Diggydig

    Diggydig Registered User

    Mar 10, 2015

    I'm looking for some advice about dementia patients attending a funeral.

    Both our parents have dementia. Our Dad is at the end of his life, he has been receiving palliative care for the last 7 days and we expect him to pass away any time in the next few days.

    He lives in a care home with our Mum, in the same room. They have always done everything together. She is not aware how seriously ill he is, but she is showing anxiety about his wellbeing. We're a bit unsure whether she should attend Dad's funeral or whether that would be detrimental to her. She may not understand what is happening at the funeral. And she will almost certainly forget that he has passed away. If anyone has any experience of this situation we'd be grateful to hear your thoughts / experiences.

    Thank you
  2. sleepless

    sleepless Registered User

    Feb 19, 2010
    The Sweet North
    What a very sad situation for you all, I am so sorry that your father is so near to the end.
    It is perhaps unusual in that your parents are still together in a care home situation, so your mum will miss your father more than would have been the case had they not been still together.
    There are two schools of opinion really.
    Some say it is your mother's right to attend the funeral, no matter what.
    Others would say it may be kinder not to take her if she would not be able to understand what was happening, and possibly become very distressed and confused.
    Really, as you know her best, and at what stage she is, it is up to you to decide which option is best for her.
    I hope your father passes peacefully, and wish you the strength to cope with the arrangements to follow.

    I am sure others will be along with their experiences and advice.
  3. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    Hi Diggy
    I think unless there is some compelling reason you should take her. She may remember the funeral and it will give her closure, if he's there one day and gone the next she may think he's just left her, is still around and keep asking for him. Sorry I'm really bad at explaining things but my vote is take her.
  4. jimbo 111

    jimbo 111 Registered User

    Jan 23, 2009
    North Bucks
    Hello Diggy
    I sympathise with you having to make a decision without being too sure if you are doing the right thing
    Bearing in mind that your mom and dad are normally living together
    How is your mom coping with the separation ( assuming your dad is in hospital )??????

    Ifr she is coping OK I agree with Kevini that you should take your mom , she may not understand what is happening , but you will never have the regret that you stopped her from going , she may forget about it in a short while
    My experience in a similar situation was with the family decision whether to let my sister in law who was in later stages of AD}to go to her husbands funeral
    It was a mixed up conclusion
    She really had no idea what was happening , she asked repeatedly what was going on ,and when it did get through to her she repeatedly asked who had died ad wished that M could have been there
    For along while afterwards she continued thinking he was still in hospital and kept putting out clean clothes for him
    She never seemed to query why she could not visit him ,but often repeated she was glad that M was at last in a 'safe place '

    The family consoled their consciences with the thought that she did have some inkling
    that M had died and remained glad that she was at the funeral

    I hope you are able to come to a decision that will leave your mind in peace
    Best wishes
  5. sleepless

    sleepless Registered User

    Feb 19, 2010
    The Sweet North
    I do agree with kevin and jimbo -- as long as she won't be too distressed or confused, let her go.
    But don't expect her to remember he has died, or remember the funeral. She may well do, which would be best, but be prepared for the alternative.
    Sometimes there is no perfect answer, we just have to go with our knowledge of the person, and our instincts as close relatives.
  6. pippop1

    pippop1 Registered User

    Apr 8, 2013
    Do you have a close friend or relative that might "take charge" of your mother if she goes to the funeral? Someone that can calmly answer any upsetting questions when she asks them rather than you?
  7. Lyncus

    Lyncus Registered User

    Oct 30, 2014
    My father passed away last September, dad and mum were still living together in the family home with carers and family attending to their daily needs. Mom is in the later stages of AD. Mom attended the funeral with no "hiccups", but even now 6 months later it hasn't registered dad has gone, she occasionally mentions him as if he is still at work. There has been no grieving from her at all, which is a blessing in one way, for us to only have to deal with our own grief. Eveyone is different and its how you feel as a family she would cope with it, like some have said is may give her closure. So sorry for you at this sad time.
  8. meme

    meme Registered User

    Aug 29, 2011
    I hope you can take Mum to the funeral...I think her and your Dad would have wished for this if possible ...decisions you don't need at this sad time x
  9. Diggydig

    Diggydig Registered User

    Mar 10, 2015
    Thank you everyone for your kind words and advice.

    Our thinking at the moment is that we will take her, with someone tasked to look after her and help her through it. Unless there is a really good reason not to, which we will decide based on how she copes between when Dad passes away and the funeral. I think you are right, it is what they would both want.

    Dad is receiving care at the home rather than in the hospital as there is nothing else they can really do, apart from make him more comfortable. They are still together, Mum knows he is ill but is not aware how serious it is. We tell her he is very ill if she asks, but she forgets. It's a blessing really.
  10. boxer

    boxer Registered User

    Jan 15, 2013
    South-East London
    I sympathise with what you're going through at the moment.

    We lost our Mum to cancer 19 months ago and thought about whether our Dad should go to the funeral (a cremation service and everybody going back to a hall). He was in respite in a care home while we were sorting everything out but we then decided he was still head of the family, Alzheimers or not and he was there.

    He didn't know it was his own wife's funeral, only that something sad was happening, and he managed to greet and talk quite normally to everybody. He became very tired though and by around 6pm we took him back to the care home, where he settled and didn't say much.

    Sadly my Dad couldn't place my Mum after that and for the past 19 months didn't recognise her in photos, talk about her much.

    We've had our ups and downs with caring for my Dad over the past 19 months (he's had Alzheimers for 7 years altogether) but sadly he passed away this morning at 7.36am in hospital from aspiration pneumonia/advanced alzheimers and towards the end was shouting for my Mum, his brother and sisters and his Mum, all people that have passed away before him.
  11. WIFE

    WIFE Registered User

    May 23, 2014
    Boxer - so sad to learn of the passing of your Father yesterday. My thoughts are with you and your family.

    Diggydig - I think if you can you should help your Mother to be at the Funeral of your Father when it happens mainly for you and the whole family. Presumably most people will be aware of the situation health wise of your Mother and will understand if there is any outburst. Maybe someone could be deputised to take her back to the Care Home if and when she becomes weary or distressed. Thinking of you at this sad time.
  12. SallyPotter

    SallyPotter Registered User

    May 19, 2013
    #12 SallyPotter, Mar 20, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2015
    Hi Diggy, I was in the same situation as you with my parents as both of them had dementia, my father that a chest infection that wouldn't clear and I had been advised that he may not have lasted long. The next day my mother passed away. They were also in the same room at the care home. He was aware of her death but unable to communicate. He too died the next day. Just play it by ear, I think my father wanted to be left alone with his sorrow. The funeral may be too much for your mother too bear and you also need to think about whether you'd be emotionally able to cope.
    Thinking of you

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