A Caregiver Asks: My Wife Keeps Asking for Her Deceased Mother. What Can I do?

I Miss You

My wife keeps asking for her mother who has been gone for more than 20 years. What can I do to convince her that her mother is gone?

The sad fact is that you will not be able to reason with her about this, and it will be painful for both of you if you continue trying.

Here are some reasons why:

  1. Her short-term memory is affected and she will forget what you told her and ask again repeatedly.
  2. Learning anew of her mother’s death will cause her to grieve all over again.
  3. She may think you are lying to her and become suspicious of everything you tell her.
  4. She may try to leave her home to find her mother.

Here are a few are a few suggestions to try instead:

  1. Tell her that her mother loves her very much and would be with her if she could.
    1. Mom is visiting a distant relative and will be back in a few days.
    2. Mom is at work.
    3. Mom has gone to the store and will be back soon.
  2. Ask her to tell you about her mother.
    1. Did Mom make the best pies or cookies at holiday time?
    2. What are some of the things she loved to talk about with Mom?
    3. Doe she look like Mom or just the opposite.
      1. Share pictures of them taken when she was growing up.

It may help to take your wife into another room. Sometimes a change of scenery will help distract her. Play some music you know she likes or put on a favorite television program she always enjoyed. Some people with dementia love vintage reruns.

It is important (and difficult) for us to remember that we must enter their world and not expect them to understand ours.

Bobbi Carducci, CCC, CCE

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. dhallaj
    Oct 03, 2019 @ 12:11:50

    Wonderful suggestions. Thank you.



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