Should I tell my mom her sister passed away?
Answered by Karen Garner
My mother is being cared for in a group home for dementia and she also can't walk. She still knows who I am but is very confused about a lot of things. Her sister passed away a few days ago who lives far away. Can I tell my mother or is it best not to?
This is a most difficult question with answers that can go either way. The first question back to you is, Does your Mom have a physician or social worker at the home she is residing in that you can discuss this issue with? Without knowing your Mom’s mental state day to day, this is a tough call.
There are many who will say not to tell her because it will be protecting her. There are also many who will argue that it is her right to know and after all…wouldn’t you want to know?
This being said, most likely, should you tell your Mom her sister passed away, she will become sad. It is nice to protect her from this sadness, but that is part of life. It is also highly likely your Mom will forget her sister passed away and you will either end up telling her this same sad news over and over or eventually stop telling her.
Without knowing exactly what her cognitive ability is as far as recalling recent information and solely based on your question information, you can tell her once, console her and support her, talk about her sister and learn some memories you may not have heard before and then going forward either change the subject, re-tell her with the understanding she will become upset again or completely ignore the fact her sister has died and not bring it up. Part of this equation is you. What are you comfortable with and what kind of guilt will you live with if you don’t or if you do tell her?