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Do You Tell Someone With Dementia When a Loved One Has Died?

Todd-cravens-492711-unsplashA friend recently faced the task of letting her mother, who has mid-level dementia, know that the mother’s elderly brother had died. This death was not unexpected, but when a person has dementia and short-term memory loss is a problem, the news would likely be unexpected by the mother.

My friend can be forgiven for dragging her feet. Her mother has been told often that the brother was ill. It was new information to the mother each time. There was no reason for the daughter to think that the telling of her uncle’s death was not going to shock her mother all over again. She seriously thought of not mentioning it. It’s not as if a visit was expected. She asked me what I thought.

Read the full article on HealthCentral about when and how to tell someone living with dementia when a loved one has died.

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Photo credit: Todd Cravens: Unsplash


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What a beautiful story, Angela. She knew your sorrow and was able to offer comfort. That's why we can never, ever say that "they don't know what is going on." She saw your body language and knew what to do. Thank you for this lovely note.

I remember after my husband died from Alzheimer’s, I went to visit Dorothy my next door neighbor who was in a Nursing Home with late stage Alzheimer’s. I always used to take her dog Mitzi with me for a visit which she really enjoyed. After having a little stroll around the garden, we sat down and she always loved opening up my handbag, looking inside and pulling out my lipstick which she put to her mouth. She suddenly asked me where my husband was, I told her he had died and as those words passed my lips and my eyes welled up; she took my hand, held it tightly and kissed it. Which made me realize that even this wretched illness cannot take away the human soul.

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