Should we tell my mother, who has Alzheimer's, about my father's death?
Yes, your mother has the right to know this information, no matter what stage of disease she's ain. How she responds and how well she remembers is hard to predict.
Don't avoid telling because you fear a strong reaction. She may cry, grieve, or respond negatively -- all honest and reasonable responses to a significant loss.
If she asks for details, tell her. If she then forgets what you've told her, however, let it go; you don't need to issue fresh reminders every day.
Give this information at her best time of day in a quiet place that is free of distractions, TV, and other people. Take her hand and don't hide your own tears. These non-verbal expressions are powerful communicators to people with cognitive and communication problems.
Realize that sharing this information benefits you, too. Even nonverbal people with dementia may stroke your hand or murmur words of comfort so you can grieve. They may even be expecting or awaiting such information and can communicate having received it, bringing everyone some peace.Ã‚
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