How to compassionately answer questions about deceased loved ones.

Posted by pattyinal @pattyinal, Apr 19 11:57am

My husband has declined rapidly in last few weeks. He constantly wants to go “home” and is frustrated when I insist that we are home. He wants to know where his parents are and when they will be here. Thinks his mom is expecting him at home and has even asked me if I know where his wife is. When I say “I’m right here”, he often just smiles as if he was playing a trick on me. How do you answer all those questions wisely and compassionately? I tell him our parents are in Heaven, but it makes him sad and sometimes he insists he just saw them. This is a new level for us and I don’t know what to say. Thanks for any new insight.

Hello Pattyinal. As I read this, I am reminded of how many times my dear Mom asked the same type of questions. It took me years to take the advice of a friend of mine who said, "you must join her world". For years I didn't buy in to that. How the heck was I supposed to tell Mom how her FIRST husband was, when she only had one husband?? I would remind her she had 50 years of ONE wonderful marriage with daddy, and she would vehemently disagree with me. Uggg! Then she would look at a picture of daddy (my dad, her husband of 50 years) and call him her father? I just couldn't believe it! Anyway, please take my advice and Join His World. When he is home and says he wants to go home, you tell him sweetly that in a few minutes, after you finish the dishes, you can help him pack. When he says "where is my wife?" you say, "Let me go look for her! I'll bet she's really pretty!!!" It helps to redirect their thoughts. It calms them down. It will feel horrible for you at first, but it is the kindest thing you can do. Give yourself a pat on the back every time you have to say a little fib, even though it feels really wrong. Keep me posted! Thoughts and prayers, Virginia

REPLY

Per Virginia I too had to succumb to saying the same things with my mom who has dementia. It was very hard and saddening when I first started doing it. I had to finally agree with her that I was her mother and that she was my daughter. But over time it actually helped my frustration as well.

Liked by dbrhdarby

REPLY
@dbrhdarby

Per Virginia I too had to succumb to saying the same things with my mom who has dementia. It was very hard and saddening when I first started doing it. I had to finally agree with her that I was her mother and that she was my daughter. But over time it actually helped my frustration as well.

Jump to this post

Hi @dbrhdarby, welcome to the Caregivers: Dementia group on Mayo Clinic Connect. I look forward to getting to know more about you and your mom. Does your mom live with you? How long have you been caregiving?

REPLY
@virginianaeve

Hello Pattyinal. As I read this, I am reminded of how many times my dear Mom asked the same type of questions. It took me years to take the advice of a friend of mine who said, "you must join her world". For years I didn't buy in to that. How the heck was I supposed to tell Mom how her FIRST husband was, when she only had one husband?? I would remind her she had 50 years of ONE wonderful marriage with daddy, and she would vehemently disagree with me. Uggg! Then she would look at a picture of daddy (my dad, her husband of 50 years) and call him her father? I just couldn't believe it! Anyway, please take my advice and Join His World. When he is home and says he wants to go home, you tell him sweetly that in a few minutes, after you finish the dishes, you can help him pack. When he says "where is my wife?" you say, "Let me go look for her! I'll bet she's really pretty!!!" It helps to redirect their thoughts. It calms them down. It will feel horrible for you at first, but it is the kindest thing you can do. Give yourself a pat on the back every time you have to say a little fib, even though it feels really wrong. Keep me posted! Thoughts and prayers, Virginia

Jump to this post

EXCELLENT advice!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Your story is EXACTLY what I went through as well with my mom.

REPLY
Please login or register to post a reply.