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Telling Dad about a close friend who has passed away

Discussion in 'Middle - later stages of dementia' started by Burglady, Aug 3, 2015.

  1. Burglady

    Burglady Registered User

    Oct 27, 2014
    1
    Leicestershire
    My Dad is diagnosed with vascular dementia and his condition varies very much from day to day, or hour to hour, may be more accurate. His close friend of some 60 years, who has supported him so much over the last 5 years that Dad has struggled with his dementia has sadly just passed away. Dad mentions him regularly, and doesn't realise that he hasn't seen him for a couple of months now.

    We don't know how to deal with this as Dad does ask after his parents and his siblings, and the first time he asked after Mum I tried to gently tell him that Mum died a long time ago, and he crumbled as though it was the first time he'd been told this. We now deal with these questions in different ways depending on how he is, but often by trying to bring happy memories into the conversation. I appreciate there's no right or wrong way to deal with this, as everyone's different but just wondered how other people had gone about it, as I know he will be very upset. Should we tell him at all, or tell him and accept that we'll have to tell him many times as he will forget.
     
  2. Pete R

    Pete R Registered User

    Jul 26, 2014
    2,046
    Staffs
    My Mom's best friend died last year. I still haven't told her.

    I did the same as you when she asked about her Mom for the first time and I never want to see that "crumble" again
     
  3. ferniegirl

    ferniegirl Registered User

    May 10, 2015
    54
    Surrey, UK
    Hi there. My gut feeling is don't tell him. As you say, if you do, you will have to tell him over and over and he will experience the news as if it was the first time he has heard it which will be terribly distressing for him.
     
  4. Long-Suffering

    Long-Suffering Registered User

    Jul 6, 2015
    426
    No point telling him. If he mentions him, I'd just get him focused on a happy memory of him with his friend. Something to make him smile.

    LS
     
  5. justjimjams

    justjimjams Registered User

    Jan 30, 2013
    12
    Somerset
    I would agree that not telling him is far kinder.. My mother has vascular dementia, her condition also varies constantly..sometimes it's hard to keep up..
    Thing is, because of the memory, and the 'skewed' timeline (for want of a better description), if you tell them someone close has died..they may be upset (naturally)..but then, 5 minutes later (or an hour or next day) have forgotten you ever told them the sad news. So then during their next confused moment, for example, they might be telling you how they have just come back from seeing their mother..then they mention their (deceased) close friend..and hey presto, you're back at square one, breaking the news all over again and having them upset once more. And of course this goes on and on since it is the nature of the thing..

    So that is why I personally have chosen not to go down this path any more. Not an easy one but I think it helps me to know I am not putting them through an awful Groundhog Day scenario.
     
  6. Apothecary

    Apothecary Registered User

    Aug 3, 2015
    2
    Understanding where they are

     

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