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To tell your loved one everything that’s wrong and all details or not?

My father has advanced dementia. He knows what happens in his daily life because we have hired 24/7 help. He knows he can’t drive. He knows we take care of him but he has never ask details other than asking about his cars or checkbook.

He does not know exactly where we get the money to pay for his care. He does not ask. He occasionally ask if I need money and I say no. He does ask me where I get money for his weekly allowance I always make sure he has and I tell him I get it from his account. He goes to lunch everyday with his caregiver and he always wants to pay and tip.

My father was military 30 years, very active and in charge of his life and many men. He is still the man in charge he thinks so he tells me about anything he can remember. A couple years ago he got scammed out of 5K on a car warranty deal which came from a phone call and he ended up giving his credit card information. Luckily the bank caught it. This was before we realized he could not be alone. My main question here is do I tell him the whole story ? Do I tell him that he cannot remember five minutes but he can remember 50 years ago ? Do I tell him he can’t remember anything five minutes later, do I’ll tell him anything or let things alone and let him live his daily life like he is doing now he seems very content, but does occasionally ask questions.

My wife and I have literally devoted our lives to him for the last two years and we have a down syndrome son also to take care of. It’s been a struggle, but I only want the best of care for my father and he deserves the best I can give him in my opinion .

This morning he called me with the help of his caregiver who he cannot remember any of the names for them and we have four caregivers. He is getting confused with his remote for TV and portable phone. This breaks my heart many times I have to hide my tears when I am around him.

Should I tell him everything? I don’t want to because I am afraid since he was always the man in charge. I am afraid it might make him very sad and depressed.

  1. Thank you for your beautiful and thoughtful post. I appreciate your care for your father and I respect and honor his service. This is a hard question but I will weigh in since I am in a very similar situation with my mother-in-law. I have decided not to try and explain something that she will not fully grasp and may upset her. I don't really see the upside in it and can see an immediate downside. I feel like I am always living in the moment with her and she seems to be most comfortable with this, as am I. Of course, you know your father best and you understand the dynamics in play. Others may have different ideas, but these are my thoughts. Scott Team Member

    1. thx so much for your reply. It makes perfect sense to me too. My father does get curious sometimes and so far I’ve been able to take a detour. I don’t like not being able to tell him everything, but for now, this is all I can do in my opinion. Thank you.

    2. It's hard not being able to say everything. I feel like I am hiding things, but I realize that it is in the best interest of my loved one. Scott Team Member

  2. Thx so much, I wish you and your family the best.

    1. Thank you and the same to you. Scott Team Member

  3. My husband does not know how Alzheimers progresses. He is a very happy man who loves talking to everyone, especially strangers! They often look at him with that confused look because he usually doesn’t make sense. I do not want to do anything that might take his happy nature away. He asked me once what Alzheimers meant and I told him it just means he doesn’t remember some things, which satisfied him. He was diagnosed nearly 5 years ago so he is advanced. I used to be able to figure out what he was talking about but it’s gotten much more difficult to decipher. I just say “yes” or “I know” or “you’re right!”. I’d rather he talk in circles than get quiet and no longer try to communicate. He doesn’t know he doesn’t make sense and, again, I don’t tell him.

    1. that is very sweet. I’m glad your husband hasn’t retreated into a shell. My grandpa did. They thought he was afraid of saying something wrong. I don’t know if that’s true. I wouldn’t burst your husband’s bubble. Let the rest of the world adjust!

    2. Thank you for your reply and for describing your situation with you husband. I think it is sweet that you talk with him this way. He still feels valued and heard. You taught me today. Scott Team Member

  4. I very much understand what you are going through. My Mother is the same way. I had to smile a little when you mentioned your Father asked about his checkbook. My Mother raised me alone and money was tight and she always , always kept up with her money. That was one of the first clues for me something was wrong. She insisted i write my uncle a $2000 check. Although my Mother is in a facility she asks me about her money and checkbook. SHE wants to write checks or tell me who to write them to. I let her think she is and then destroy them. She feels like she is still in control .... of something. At first i tried to explain her illness to her and what was happening. I somehow thought she wouldnt be as scared but i realized she wouldnt remember what i was talking about. Her brother has passed away since her diagnosis and she asks why he and her Mother dont visit? I have not and will not tell her of his passing. But i feel bad that she keeps asking for him and sometimes i dont have a good reply and just try to change the subject. You are doing all the right things. No use upsetting him. Prayers for you and family.

    1. Thank you for your great post. I find it interesting that people continue to have certain strong interests and leanings even when other interests are not quite so strong. I appreciate your care and concern for her. Scott Team Member

    2. I agree. There is no sense rocking her world. She’s defenseless to process it. I watched a Simon Sinek video clip recently where he said truth and honesty don’t have to be brutal. He went to see his friend in a play, and it was terrible. Afterwards, she asked him excitedly what he thought. He said, it was wonderful to see her so happy to express her creativity and watch her joy in performing. It made him so happy to be there. (Paraphrasing the video) what he said was true. The critique could come another day when she wasn’t so excited and would be ready to hear it. Timing is important. It would have been so mean to critique her then. For your mom, the truth is that she is loved very much. The rest can be shelved for another time, for her, maybe never. Blessings to you and your sweet mother. Kathy M team member.

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