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Need Advice on how to deal with strange questions from Dad with dementia

(86 Posts)
Bracken28 Sun 08-Nov-20 14:34:35

Hi thankyou for letting me join. I am hoping someone out there can offer some advice with regard to my Dad who is 5 years into Vascular dementia. I am more than able to cope with most things but I find myself tearing my hair out from some of the things Dad asks. He is quite aware that my mother died 14 years ago but is now saying we should get the doctor to come and give her an injection to quote "resurrect her" He has also asked for his death certificate because it needs to be ammended. I have tried to explain he doesn't have one because he is alive but he gets quite mad that I haven't produced one. This has been going on for about 3 months every single day several times a day. Now its beginning to wear me down mentally. Has anyone had experience with things like this? Sorry this is so long but I have loads more lol.

Granny23 Sun 08-Nov-20 14:44:56

A better place for your question would be on the Alzheimer's Society's Talking Point. Although their name is Alzheimer's they cover all types of Dementia and their membership is a mine of information about all aspects of the disease and ways to cope as a Carer.

Gwenisgreat1 Sun 08-Nov-20 14:45:24

Sounds like you need advice from a Mental Health Nurse?

Can you make up a Death Certificate on your PC? And ask him to help you fill it in? Or tell him you are working on it? It's extremely difficult when they 'get a bee in the bonnet'

Granny23 Sun 08-Nov-20 14:47:47

Here is the link for Talking Point

Jaxjacky Sun 08-Nov-20 14:48:40

I found with my Mum, similar situation, I just agreed, often said I’d put it on my list of things to do/ have posted it off to be done or similar. Whatever it was, was then soon forgotten. It’s hard, but I learnt not to challenge, just agree.

M0nica Sun 08-Nov-20 14:57:25

Live in the world your father is living in. When he talks of 'resurrecting' your mother, just say something like 'I have spoken to the doctor but he cannot come today' or other such open ended answer.

Do the same with the death certificate. Tell him that the Coroner has it but will not give it to you until he has died, or another such answer.

I had this problem with an aunt and uncle I was responsible for. The questions were not quite as odd as the ones you have, but at one point my uncle was convinced that he had an appointment with his bank manager and kept worrying about missing it. I kept reassuring him, but after a month I just said to him, 'I have spoken to the Bank Manager and he said not to worry he will make a new appointment later on'. he accepted that immediately and never mentioned the matter again.

M0nica Sun 08-Nov-20 14:59:00

Both my aunt and uncle had vascular dementia.

MrsThreadgoode Sun 08-Nov-20 15:07:18

He is aware that your Mother is dead, but sometimes he isn’t, I’m afraid that’s rather way Dementia works.
As another poster has said, just go along with it and reassure him that you are working on it.
My Mum was constantly being told ( in hospital) that my dad had died some years earlier and I’d arrive to find her in floods of tears, I just asked the Nurses to please just tell her that he is at work because 5 minutes later she will have forgotten all about it.
But this is the way it’s going to be with your Dad, it’s such a shame and I feel for you both.

kittylester Sun 08-Nov-20 15:27:56

Lots of good advice here?

Try distraction techniques like - ok, we can do that tomorrow, shall we gave a cup of tea now?

Talking point is a brilliant source of advice!

kittylester Sun 08-Nov-20 15:28:36

Lots of good advice here!!!!! Not ?

Oopsminty Sun 08-Nov-20 15:31:05

Had this with my mother

She was convinced my husband was her boyfriend.

Often asked us to phone her Mum, ( long dead)

My father had died and she'd occasionally ask how he was.

We just went along with it all.

Best way I believe

phoenix Sun 08-Nov-20 15:33:55


Jaxjacky Sun 08-Nov-20 15:34:46

kittylester do you have different advice that’s worked better?

Aldom Sun 08-Nov-20 15:34:54

Gwenisgreat 1 Not a Mental health nurse in this case. A Community Psychiatric Nurse is the person who would be able to advise. I speak from experience.

LadyStardust Sun 08-Nov-20 15:39:05

My Father in Law was convinced his wife was still alive when he was struggling with dementia. My sister in law always tried to correct him and tell him she was dead, which always upset him. I just went along with whatever he was telling me and steered the conversation in another direction, as suggested by kittylester. It seemed to be the best way to deal with it and it caused him less upset. It is a really tough time though and you have my sympathy Bracken28

Grandmafrench Sun 08-Nov-20 15:57:03

Yes, another vote for agreement and distraction. There is usually no point in challenging, or explaining - you just end up dealing with the same old argument over and over and distressing the sufferer.

I think Kitty went off to beat up her keyboard, Jax. It was
determined to type a question mark after her 'lots of good advice here' - instead of lots of approving exclamation marks.

Sorry for the time you are having, Bracken (I once had a lovely dog named Bracken!) you can only keep doing your very best.

Bracken28 Sun 08-Nov-20 16:00:22

Thankyou for all your kind words, I have to say although Dad forgets most things instantly when I try to distract him from these subjects he very quickly tells me its because I can't be bothered to do them. I had to actually phone the place where he has his funeral plan because he wanted to find out what happens next with regard to the fact we don't have a death certificate. I felt such an idiot lol. Interesting to hear that a psychiatric nurse maybe a help. I do wonder if he's just at the delusional stage of dementia though

Septimia Sun 08-Nov-20 16:41:16

I wonder if he's thinking of something else but has it fixed in his head that it's his death certificate. Maybe he means his will or some other document. Have you asked him what needs amending? That might give you a clue. Making a note of that information might satisfy him briefly anyway.

Fortunately we didn't have those problems with FiL, but we did have other ones, so I sympathise!

sodapop Sun 08-Nov-20 17:05:55

MOnica is right, live in your father's world Bracken28 otherwise you will be going round in circles. It's hard isn't it when the parent/child situation is reversed.
Do you have Admiral Nurses in your area ? They deal specifically with people living with dementia and their carers.

Aldom Sun 08-Nov-20 18:34:01

Community Psychiatric Nurses (CPN) also work with people with all forms of dementia. Their job is to visit clients in the home to provide support, information and advice for both client and carer.

Iam64 Sun 08-Nov-20 18:40:01

Good advice from MOnica and others about living in your father's world. My understanding from friends working with dementia patients is the current thinking, is don't keep reminding them x is dead, for example. They're then re-living the death over and over. Simply respond to their question with reassurance. Elderly people in residential care settings for example, often say they're waiting for the bus so they can go home/go and see x. Staff and loved ones are advised to respond with something like, it hasn't come yet/it won't be too long - for example.
So tough x

ElaineI Sun 08-Nov-20 18:44:38

There should be a community nursing team in your area who may help, sometimes social care team as well. I did watch a programme about living in the time setting of the person with dementia and going along with what they are saying even if they are wrong. I don't have any experience of it though but could see it might help. All the ideas here sound very good.

kittylester Sun 08-Nov-20 18:44:58

I put a question mark in my original reply rather than an exclamation mark. The advice is very good!!!!

FannyCornforth Sun 08-Nov-20 18:52:58


kittylester do you have different advice that’s worked better?

Kitty repeatedly got her punctuation in a muddle and ended up in a right mess!
She was endorsing the advice.

All the best Bracken, I have little experience of dementia, other than living nextdoor to a lady in her nineties when I was in my twenties.
She was convinced that I was her mother, and also that I was stealing her saucepans.

Hetty58 Sun 08-Nov-20 19:06:16

Yes, just let them believe what they do, however mistaken, and try to shift the responsibility for action elsewhere (e.g. the doctor, solicitor or police are dealing with it).

We met a lady, in hospital, who kept forgetting that her husband had died. Every time she had visitors, she'd ask after him and be in floods of tears when they told her. Eventually, her son just said 'Dad's working late' and she was fine with that.