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Sin of Omission?

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Old 12-12-2006, 03:25 PM   #1
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Sin of Omission?

Background: Mom is stage 5. Living in assisted living. Very able to be physically active. Seems to be doing much better since going into Assisted Living where she is on a routine, getting her meds regular and her diet is controlled.


Have any of you started practicing the sin of omission?

For instance, let's say you are getting a divorce and she never sees your hubby/wife anyway. Would you ever consider letting it pass and just not telling the person about the change in your life?

Or, let's say a job was lost? Telling her might mean she will think she can pack her bags and move in. Would you just not tell her?

What do you all think?

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Old 12-12-2006, 03:43 PM   #2
Martha H
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Re: Sin of Omission?

As a veteran of this situation I say go for the little white lies! Omit, omit, omit!

Say nothing that might make Mom unhappy, worried, sad, plan things for you, plan changes in her /your life style.

My Mom (with whom I moved in when my marriage fell apart in 2000) does not remember that I live alone now - if I ever get through on the phone or if I am there, she invariably asks how is H? I say, Fine, as far as I know. Which is true.

I would never tell her anyone she knew has died, is sick, or is in trouble of any sort. We don't tell her about current war news, crime news, or anything else bad. Everyone is fine, the world is in great shape.

Are we lying to her or protecting her? A bit of both. Both are necessary and therefore forgivable.

When she doesn't remember that both of her brothers passed away, and asks about them, I say I'm sure they are fine. When I was there she said I wonder why T (her sister in law who died in the 80s) never calls, I said I wonder too.

Is it wrong?

Put another way - if I say T died a few years ago, Mom will ask me tomorrow what ever happened to T. So why bother upsetting her, even for a moment?

That's how I dealt with it.

It is as if she wakes up every day with blank pages and asks you to fill them with information she has lost. You may as well fill them with nice stories.



Last edited by Martha H; 12-12-2006 at 03:44 PM.

Old 12-12-2006, 04:31 PM   #3
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Re: Sin of Omission?

My Mom always asked where her mommy was and I believed it best not to tell her that her mommy had passed away over 25 years ago. Rather I would tell her she went to a meeting at the church or whatever story sounded good at the time. She usually accepted that and was o.k. with it. I couldn't see telling her that her mom was deceased everytime she asked as I felt she would be grieving everytime she heard that her mom had died. I had tried telling her on a few occasions that her mom passed away but she would get angry at me and say something to the effect, "No, not that mommy." You have to learn to be creative and telling little white lies becomes commonplace.

P.S. Hope your mom is doing better, Martha.

Old 12-13-2006, 03:39 AM   #4
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Re: Sin of Omission?

I've said it before, and I'll say it again and stand by it ...

Promise them the world if it keeps them happy and calm.

There is nothing to be gained by telling them things that will upset them.

White lies under certain circumstances are healthy ..... remember, it's not your loved one your telling your '***** pies' to, it's the imposter.

Old 12-13-2006, 05:47 AM   #5
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Re: Sin of Omission?

I agree. That is the hardest lesson to learn, but the most effective.

I think it was in a book I read, "An AD patient needs love.........NOT the truth"

It's so ingrained in us to always be truthful, that it's hard to do sometimes. But with my Mom, if I don't tell her what she wants to hear...........she wails for days ........

Last edited by Sandyspen; 12-13-2006 at 05:49 AM.

Old 12-13-2006, 08:34 PM   #6
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Re: Sin of Omission?

Boy, talk about your milage may vary. The replies on this were so amazing to me. My Mom is so very different that most of the folks being cared for by this group, it's just a different world. She believes she is still very much in the center and should be in control. It's not a matter of keeping info from HER to keep her calm. When she learns she's been sidestepped, that's when she gets mad. And it's MAD in capital letters. I wondered if anyone else had to deal with this angle.

My Mom will learn of things I don't tell her from other friends/family. As I said, she's still very active and physically out and about with visits. But if she learns about things through others and believes I haven't told her, it only fuels her argument that I'm stealing all her stuff, lying to her and being a terrible daughter. And it's impossible to predict that which will plant and grown in her brain, and that which won't survive the conversation.

For instance, my brother got divorced. She learned of it from her sister. Again, this take was a bit different that you might expect. She really didn't like the daughter in law so was happy to see the door hit her on the butt.
But then she was furious at me because I'd not shared the info. So I lied. I said "Mom, I could have sworn I told you. I'm sorry. I'll do better." Felt terrible guilty since she does have such an issue with forgetting and I used it as my way out because this time, I had not told her.

You know we had a thread about the humor in this. On telling of deaths of
friends, here's the rule: If they are significantly older, you can tell. The last was a woman in her church died. She would have been 90 if she'd lived 3 more weeks. My Mom knew her, liked her but was perfectly fine with this info. She asked me how much longer for her until she reached Bonnie's age (90 year old) and I said almost 10 years exactly. Well, ten years was a nice long time so it was perfectly okay for her to die. She had gotten old. Mom, at the strong young age of 80, can accept that 90 is the point where you just can't expect to live forever.

She's a pistol. And I am willing and able to lie in any way it will help. I guess I'm just trying to figure out when it will save me or bring me down.

And I hate to sound morbid, but again I can see a side where this will be easier when she advances just a smidge further into the illness. And who wants to be hoping for that?

Old 12-14-2006, 05:57 AM   #7
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Re: Sin of Omission?

I can TOTALLY mom is a powder keg always ready to explode as well. Our problem with her is that she doesn't remember moving her clothes around, or hiding her purse, medication, money, credit cards, etc and my dad and I are ALWAYS the culprits. My mom is 85, not formally diagnosed with dementia or AD, but I *KNOW* she has one or the other. If you read my thread a couple of pages back titled DEMENTIA???, you'll see what we've been going through with her for the past year.

Even when I tell her a white lie to try to keep her calm, 9 times out of 10 it doesn't work. She has become extremely verbally abusive, more so to me of late.

I feel for you, I really do and I know how it feels!

Old 12-16-2006, 10:28 PM   #8
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Re: Sin of Omission?

I know how hard this is for you. At the age of 30 I learned the same day my mom had stage 4 lung cancer and her mom (only child) was dx with Alzheimers. Since I was the only child/grandchild in state I got to take care of them both. It was a battle to creatively tell the truth in a positive way to them both as the cancer moved to mama's brain and Nana in denial of everything. Mom lasted 16 months due to sheer determination, and my Nana for 4 years. I know you don't want to see them progress, but it was really a relief when it got to the point that Nana forgot her only child died and reverted to what I figured was a time in her early childhood. She began to think I was her daddy's sister and always asked about her mother and grandmother. Then out of the blue she would insist I take her home. I would get help to get her to my van, drive around the block pointing out the pretty flowers and trees, drop by a store and get her a bottle coca cola (she did not understand the plastic bottles), and take her back to the assisted living home that was so wonderful to keep her til the end with my daily assistance. It was enough to distract her. Sometimes distractions were the only way to redirect her thoughts. The most wonderful thing I witnessed with her was that when she no longer knew me, her brother or sister, she still loved to sing gospel songs, sit in on singings, and have her bible read to her. She never lost that when all else was lost. It really was a comfort to me that even to the end she had her faith. Hang in there, I know it is hard. They do tend to go down quickly after the first 2 years or so. I tried my best to shield her from the world, truth, and let her questions and responses guide me how to answer her as I was an infant when her grandmother died. Her mother died the year before her at 102, and I never told her. She quit asking for people except her sister, brother, and grandmother until about 7 months before she died.. After that she know longer knew who she was. Although my mom was my best friend and it almost emotionally wrecked me losing her, I made a promise to take care of Nana. It was a honor, yet sadder than watching mama die as she lost so much of herself. Friends and family did not visit her once I moved her to the assisted living near my home after I could no longer care for her by myself. She slowly drifted farther away and it was a blessing when she passed. I never understood how people could talk about their happiness in someone dying, but after watching mama and Nana's illnesses I can truly understand. Hang in there, it is so hard, but you do the best you can.

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