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Some advice please


Registered User
May 26, 2015
My sister and I share the visiting of mum in her NH and as you know from my previous posts mum has been in bed since last September eats very little and looks more like a skeleton just skin and bone. On any visit we may get a blank stare back or nothing at all as she keeps her eyes closed (not sure if she is sleeping ). Mum has not really spoken anything to us for awhile now. When she does try it is just a mumble. I have not seen mum for over a week as our son age 38 had a heart attack so we had to put him first and go to Surrey to look after our 20 month old grandchild. My question is this my sister seems to think my mum is play acting with us when we visit as the carers say she is ok. Is she being hard on my mum. I can not believe that mum would do such a thing. Has any one else had experience of this or is it all part of VD. I do not want to fall out with my sister over this as we will need each other when that final stage comes but on the other hand if I am beating myself up about mum's illness and she is playing us how do I react. Any advice would be very welcome.


Registered User
Jan 20, 2011
My sister seems to think my mum is play acting with us when we visit as the carers say she is ok.
Hi Widdy. First of all let me wish your dear son a complete recovery. I won't say 'speedy' because I know it will take time.

It's difficult to answer your question without more information.

With regard to what the carers say, what does 'OK' mean? Mum talks and interacts with them, but not with her daughters? She's pretty much the same every day, just as you see her? She's normal for this stage of dementia? She is not distressed, upset or frightened?

What does play acting mean?

It doesn't sound as if your mum has much communication left. Keeping her eyes closed while awake is to shut out stimulation. Just having people in her room, possibly talking, may be too much for her to cope with. Have you tried going in quietly and just sitting, maybe reading a book, rather than focusing on her? That might seem rude, but she might prefer to take her time to get used to you being there. And some days there will be that blank stare. On occasion I've stood right in front of my mum, jumped up and down and waved my arms, and it's as if I am transparent. She just goes on staring ahead, looking at something inside her mind.


Registered User
Jun 27, 2012
I think your mum may react more to careers as they are more present on her life. So they presence can mean food and cleaning on daily basis.

Sometimes the hour of visit may not be the best one. ( on early morning my mum is more alert, I am used to visit her at night and see her sleeping).


Volunteer Moderator
Dec 15, 2012
Hi widdy
I share visiting dad and it's interesting how one man can be seen in such different ways - so I sympathise with what you write
I agree with Katrine that getting more info from the staff might help the picture - have a good chat with them and get specific details - I've found that 'OK' and 'fine' can have many meanings from 'he was on top form, came out of his room for lunch and had a laugh with us, no anxiety at all' to 'he didn't bang on his door all night as he did last night'
I also find that dad, though he's not as advanced as your mum, behaves differently for me than the staff, at times - I put it down to being his daughter so he can relax with me and be how he wants to be, and ignore me at times; and there certainly are times when he needs to shut out everything, including me - it's so clear that sometimes just being takes all his energy
maybe this is what your sister is taking as play acting? maybe for her it's 'easier' to believe in the play acting idea than accept another interpretation - I think as carers we all have our moments of denial when we just don't want to allow what is facing us to be true
and you're so right not to want to fall out with her - in the end whatever either of you think is happening doesn't really change the situation just how each of you perceives it
best wishes to you all and to your son and his family

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