This is a topic that’s been debated for years…and the experts are no help. Some feel that people with Alzheimer’s should be told, and some feel they shouldn’t.
Perhaps the best way to decide is to think about your loved one’s possible reactions. Will she take it in stride, or will she fall into a deep depression? Will knowing enable her to cope better, or will it make her give up?
It’s probably best to assume that if you don’t tell her, someone else might slip. And it might be devastating to hear it that way. Her doctor may be the best one to tell her, if there’s a good relationship (with a family member present). Afterwards, it’s a good idea to call a family meeting and tell everyone at once.
These days, family meetings – especially when legal or financial matters are involved – are not always love-fests. So you might want to hold meetings dealing with these issues without your loved one present; the last thing she needs now is more stress. Some families actually use a mediator in these sessions…so there’s at least one rational, objective person at the table!
Allow your mom to grieve! And allow yourself to grieve. You may want to speak with her about early-stage Alzheimer’s support groups, to give her a forum to express her feelings, and to hear other patients express theirs’. This will help you, as well – because you’ll meet other people taking care of their own parents. And if this doesn’t work, consider professional counseling.
A few quick tips: Family-members should work as a team. Choose your battles. And allow yourself the luxury of an occasional laugh – you’ll need it.
At The Law Offices of Alice Reiter Feld & Associates, we practice Elder Law. And we have ways to help you get through (including one of the largest Alzheimer’s resource libraries in South Florida).
Over the past 33 years, we’ve walked thousands of South Florida families through the Alzheimer’s Journey, with professionalism, with compassion, and, when necessary, with a soft shoulder. And – even before a loved one gets Alzheimer’s – we can make sure they’re ready for whatever the future might bring, with comprehensive estate planning, wills, trusts, powers of attorney, long-term care planning, asset protection plans, and assistance with Medicaid or the VA.
We know the Alzheimer’s Journey. And we’re just a phone call away.
Do I Tell Mom She Has Alzheimer’s? And How Do I Tell The Rest Of The Family?