Re: grief in the dementia patient

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Quite a regular
From: Rowlett
Posts: 56
Dear Joanne,

I’m sorry for your mother’s passing and for you now dealing with your father’s dementia and confusion about her passing.

You say that your father has dementia, which means that it will not only be hard for him to remember that your mother has died but also what it means that she has passed away – and his emotional reactions to death may not be what would be expected for someone without dementia.

The Alzheimer’s Association’s website: www. offers much information about dementia and how to interact with someone who has cognitive impairment relating to dementia. However, when some has dementia, the ability to remember – especially short term memory – is impaired as well as the ability to process information and make sense of what others say or do. Therefore, it’s understandable that your father does not believe others who say she has died because it’s hard for him to understand or process those thoughts that relate to her death. I think that you are on the right track to just meet your father where he is when you visit him, meaning answer a question simply about your mother’s passing and then change the subject or distract him in another way, like ask if he would like to walk over and get some juice. The most important thing is your caring presence and the reassurance that you will continue to “be there” for him, will continue to visit, etc. Some days may be harder for your father than other days, he may seem more confused or agitated and other days he may appear better. Just know that this is normal for someone with dementia – even though it can be very hard to cope with these changes in mood and memory for family and friends.

I hope this helps some – please check out the Alzheimer’s Association for more information about dementia, as it may help you better understand your father’s behavior and thinking – now and in the future. Please take care and again, I am so sorry for your mother’s passing.
Barb (4Hope)

Posted on 2011/5/16 13:01

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