Grieving dementia patient

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none Grieving dementia patient

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Just popping in
Posts: 1
My grandparents were 93 years old and had been married 72 years. My grandpa was in excellent health but my grandmas health had started to decline. She also has moderate dementia. My grandfather was killed in a car accident a month ago. At first she seemed numb, but aware of what was happening. The longer it has gone on - the more her reality has become foggy. She has recently started believing that he left her - possibly for another woman. This is breaking her heart. We try to gently remind her that he has passed away but she will just say "I just can't realize that". It's such a sad situation and it's very hard on my mom - having to constantly retell the news that grandpa was killed. I was wondering f anyone had dealt with grief in dementia patients before and had any suggestions. I thought about taking pictures to her - both of him alive and pictures of his grave but I am just clueless. I don't want to make her worse. I just want to help. I will be grateful for any help!

Posted on 2012/3/12 13:20

none Re: Grieving dementia patient

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From: Dallas
Posts: 262
Hi, JacksMom:

I'm sorry it took so long to respond. We just keep ElderHope alive so that people can maybe get info that will help but we really aren't checking it.

Still, I did want to respond as I read this morning.

I'm not sure what Barb would say. She's the expert.

Still, I will try to channel her.

Does she naturally remember your Granddad? Or, is family invoking Granddad's memory?

If it is the latter, it may be worth minimizing discussion about him while she is present. If his memory is being invoked, in many ways, perhaps she is reliving the grief, reigniting the grieving process. That might be inordinately painful for her.

Also, with dementia patients, the capacity to have a rational conversation is often non-existent. Explanations just won't work: they especially don't hold over time (like longer than five minutes). The condition of the brain precludes it, for the most part.

What may help is diversion: To an activity, to food, to pleasant childhood memories. Basically, the here and now, and pleasant memories of days gone by is a great place to camp. Still, there will be those occasions where she remembers Granddad. Maybe, in those times, it's best to say, "You and Granddad had so many happy years, " and go and light a candle. Of course, blow out the candle afterwards so nothing bad happens.

ElderHope, LLC

Posted on 2012/6/9 2:46

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