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Old 03-26-2009, 11:52 AM   #1
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My Dad who has dementia, brother passed away

My dad who is 76; has been in the nursing home since September 2008 with dementia. His condition has been declining. He still remebers who I am; his son; but doesn't ask about the rest of the family. I usually go see him 5 or 6 days a week.
A little over a week ago; I got a call from my cousin saying that her dad just passed away. This is my dad's 71 year old brother. My wife and myself went to the wake and the funeral.
I know that I could no way bring my Dad to the funeral or even tell him about it. He lives in his own little world and is just concerned about that specific moment. Its really hurting me inside that I can't tell him. I know that he won't understand; and might cause him to get extremely confused and violent. All the family asked about him at the funeral and understood why he was not there.

When I visited the nursing home; I was telling the nurse about it and she also told me not to tell him. She told me that somebody recently told another patient about a death; and the patient cried for days. Has anybody else gone through this?

I just needed to vent a little about it. Thanks for listening..........

 
Old 03-26-2009, 03:02 PM   #2
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Re: My Dad who has dementia, brother passed away

Yes. Don't tell him.

My mother forgot that both of her brothers had preceded her into death. She often asked about them. We said they are fine. She said why don't they ever come to see me. We said, you will see them soon.

No reason to upset him, no reason to make him feel sad, and he will forget it again and you'll have to tell him again and again, each time upsetting him as much as the first time. Keep it to yourself.

Sorry for your loss.

Love,

Martha

 
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Old 03-26-2009, 07:27 PM   #3
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Re: My Dad who has dementia, brother passed away

My advice also is to not tell him.

We told my mom when her sister died and it sent her into a two year spiral downward that was hell for her and us. The grief was more than she could bear.
She had to know when her husband died but she dealt with that somewhat better. Her best friend from childhood died last September and we have not told her. We won't, even though she asks for her constantly. In fact, the friend's daughter calls her from time to time and tells her that the friend is fine and resting. It gives mom some peace to talk to her and she doesn't have to suffer the grief of truth.

Love, Meg

 
Old 03-27-2009, 03:47 AM   #4
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Re: My Dad who has dementia, brother passed away

I would not tell him. I know it makes you feel bad, keeping this from him, but there is no point in telling him. Moms last remaining sister passed away last year and I wish there was someway that I could have let her think her sister was still here but this was her "baby" sister and they talked on the phone. She is now the only one left out of a very large family and it scares her and makes her so sad. If I could have saved her from this saddness I would have.

Don't tell.

Love, Chris

 
Old 03-27-2009, 06:24 AM   #5
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Re: My Dad who has dementia, brother passed away

Thanks for listening........

I agree and will not tell my Dad. I hate lying to him, but its for his best. I am 38 years old and my Dad at some times thinks I am a kid and likes to control me. I visit him about 5-6 days a week. Its so tough seeing him like this. Last night; I had to feed him his dinner. He refused to pick up the fork.

 
Old 03-27-2009, 06:56 AM   #6
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Re: My Dad who has dementia, brother passed away

Joseph
its not that 'he refused to pick up the fork' , its that his brain lost that directive that tells his arm and hard what to do.

As the brain softens and deteriorates, different functions are affected. So please realize you may have to make sure someone is there feeding him on the days when he can't. As well as determine what you will do when he is no longer able to at all.

My prayers are with you.

Its easy to say or project "he won't dress himself", "he won't bathe" , "he won't go down to the rec room" etc. But its not a matter of "he won't . . ." its a matter of on that day, he can't . . . Once you accept it, the frustrations at him won't seem so great.

 
Old 03-28-2009, 04:02 AM   #7
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Re: My Dad who has dementia, brother passed away

Hi Joseph,

All the other "posters" are right. It does get easier to tackle the problem the way the other ladies have advised. My mum continually asks after her husband/brother/sister/mother who are all dead. she thinks at times that I'm her older sister. I go along with it. I get more conversation. When she asks for her mother, I say she'll come and see you when your tucked up in bed. Then I go and get her her mother's framed picture. She gives her a kiss, and is quite contented. I feel like an actress when i visit. I play all the key female roles in her life. Thank goodness I paid attention to family history, because i can relate to events she brings up.

Take care of yourself and your family.

love sandra xxx

 
Old 03-28-2009, 08:10 AM   #8
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Re: My Dad who has dementia, brother passed away

Quote:
Originally Posted by mentalmum08 View Post
I feel like an actress when i visit. I play all the key female roles in her life.
Oh, mm, this made me have a couple tears! Such a beautiful daughter you are to realize this is a role we must accept...a tough one, but simply understanding this whole concept brings much comfort to our loved one.

Joseph...I remember your poignant posts from a while back. Bless, bless, bless you for helping your Father....

It's just so hard to realize this disease brings with it little changes WE have to do too! All our lives, our parents have taught us NOT to lie or mislead others...and then, we find ourselves in positions that make us realize that to bring needed comfort to our loved one...telling these tiny lies is the only way to do it. I know...we all feel guilty for doing this...but we have to realize the positive effect it actually creates for them.

During that first year after placement for my Mom...her only sister passed away. She did seem to understand...and asked to go to the funeral. I stayed right beside her...it bothered her to actually "see" her in the casket, so we sat where the view was blocked by the lectern and minister. She loved seeing her nephews and other relatives...and poured carefully over the photos...and we have no regrets of taking her. Did she remember the next day? No. Did she remember at all later? No.

There were many occasions she thought I was her sister...the couple times I carefully corrected her...she'd point and say..."Well, she's standing right behind you!" Somehow, this brought me comfort!

Any dementia patient just looses so much "reality"...and we have to change ours also to help them along. Sending positive vibes your way......Pam

 
Old 03-28-2009, 01:57 PM   #9
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Re: My Dad who has dementia, brother passed away

Oh petal pusher you made me fell so mmmpphhh. I have just celebrated my youngest daughter's engagement to a gulf war veteran. He goes back to afgahanistan next month for a second tour of duty. My grandchildren where there at the dinner. It was a moment of escape. Perfect. My mom is always on my mind, and I value all you veteran's opinions. God bless you and look after you. xxx sandra

 
Old 03-28-2009, 09:44 PM   #10
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Re: My Dad who has dementia, brother passed away

Sandra, please thank your future son in law for his service.

I definitely agree with the charades. I have seen the pain in Dad's eyes every time someone tells him that his mother is dead. She died in the early 80's. Or when he is told that all of his brothers and all but one of his sisters are dead. I don't tell him that but there are those that do... repeatedly. It breaks my heart. So when I am there, I can't do that to him.


Love, deb

 
Old 04-02-2009, 12:21 PM   #11
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Re: My Dad who has dementia, brother passed away

Petal Pusher---Thanks for the nice comments. I saw so many people come visit their parents during the holidays and promise to come see a lot. Most never come back. I am only 38 years old and visit my Dad at least 5 days a week.

As my Dad is getting worse; its harder and harder to visit with. I am always VERY upset when I leave. I know that it's his disease who is in the nursing home now. He talks to me; but its usually just one thing repeated over and over. Last night everything had to be measured with a ruler; Tuesday night all he asked about is if he had a ticket and he needed a ticket to do everything!

My typical day is: I get up at 6:30AM; get in the car by 7:30AM; I work 8:30-5PM; I get to the nursing home by 5:45. My dad gets dinner at 6PM; I help him eat. I usually leave by 7:15PM. I get home at 7:30PM. By time I get changed; and make something to eat its close to 8PM. Then while doing chores and watching a little tv; its time to go to bed.

I know that I need more time with my wife and my dog; but I feel guilty not going. (I keep telling myself; that I need more time to myself) But I just cant stop myself from going. I dont know why!!!!!! I recently went to visit my Dad 14 days in a row.

I promised my wife; I will be home right after work tonight. I have been there every day this week.

THANKS for letting me vent!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 
Old 04-02-2009, 08:48 PM   #12
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Re: My Dad who has dementia, brother passed away

You know what you need to do..... you need to go home to your wife and your dog. They are the stability in your life. your Dad is obviously at the point where he is beyond recognizing that it is his son that is coming to visit him night after night. He is preoccupied with whatever is stuck in his head. You are visiting him at the worst time of day. The afternoon is the sundowning time when they are the most confused.

You need to visit your Dad but you need to moderate your visits. You Dad will not know if you go 7 nights a week or 3 nights a week..... but your wife will. You can not help your Dad condition.... but you can help the situation with your wife. Instead of going straight to Dad's, go home and help your wife cook.... or better yet take her out to supper!!

I love my Mom and Dad with all that I am. Right now I am 3 hours away from there. I get to see them every 2 to 3 weeks. Soon they will move much closer to me but I will only visit them 2 to 3 times a week. They will be in an excellent facility with caring people to watch them. That is my love to them. I will visit them and do what I need to do for them but they have taught me that I have a life to live. I have a family to care for. I have other things to do as well as be there for them. It's about BALANCE!!! It's not about neglecting them to do something else. It's about getting it all done in a balanced way. So set a schedule. Go two nights and skip one. Then go every other night. Don't feel guilty because you are giving others your attention. Your Dad would actually be pleased if you were not obcessed with guilt for having to visit him nightly.

This is my best advice and what I would do and what I am going to do.......

Love, deb

 
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