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Difficult questions(5 Posts)
Just want to get it off my chest...
DF has been struggling and is muddled in lots of ways up till now but nothing like this. He has always known who was who.
DF asked me yesterday where mum was (not sure whether it was mine or his he was looking for (we'd been looking through some photos). My mum died 4 years ago.
He also later wanted to know why she left him, he knew he'd done something to upset her but didn't know what. In fact they were very happily married for over 50 years, never separated, never any big rows as far as I know.
I was really upset - another step on the hellish dementia journey.
Can anyone help me on a practical level - how do I answer the "where is your mother / my wife question" when he has no recollection that she's dead.
Should I avoid looking at photos with him - he seemed more engaged that I'd seen him in a long time, and yet it seems to have caused this issue.
To help you both cope with these questions, it is better to go along with their take on reality. " she has gone to the shops" is usually an answer they can live with. Then follow with something like, " hope she brings cake" . I found that it was better to give the same answers every time using the same the same tone. My mother ended up by answering her own question, almost parrot fashion,
"Where is Dad, has he gone to the shops to buy cake"
With the question about him upsetting her, maybe say "yes but you made up didn't you. She gave you a big kiss when she went out.. Domt you remember". A Soft reassuring voice, never contradicting was the on,y way I could get through this.
I am so sorry you are joining the army of people caring for those with dementia.
Hello NoArguments, just as Pithivier said. Agreeing - in a sense - that she's gone, but not forever. I tell my Dad my Mum has gone shopping. Even when she's in the loo. If he knew he'd follow her there. He now makes jokes about her going shopping all the time. "I know what you're going to tell me... Oh God. She's shopping". Sometimes he gets angry that she's shopping, but it's something he still understands. For now.
Shopping and bringing cake is a great way to move the conversation on - shall we get a brew and biscuit whilst we wait? Shall we tidy the kitchen whilst we wait for her? Then it moves on....
It's hard how things that one day reassure and make them feel safer can the next day, be awful. I haven't worked out how to assess that yet.
I work in care and have always been told to say that we don't know when these kind of subjects come up. It's hard but it means you don't have to answer even more questions if you say something like they have gone to work/the shop.
I can understand that, in a 'Care' situation there is no time to answer the endless loop of questions. For my mum saying 'I don't know' would have got her agitated and stressed. It is a minefield. We like to think we know what works for our own relatives but it it changes constantly.
When my mum was in hospital, I felt sorry for the other visitors. She would ask me , Where am I? I would reply, ' In hospital' 'I am really frightened'. ' There is no need to be frightened, I am going to be here with you'. Her ' 'That's good'
Because of her advanced dementia she could not be left alone so I was with her all day.. This conversation was repeated and repeated and repeated. It was the only way I could stop her trying to get out of bed.