Quick question about taking dementia patients to funerals, especially when behavior is erratic. Trying to convince the family that it is in her best interest not to be told, let her think the person is still alive but unable to visit. What are you thoughts? I am a new reader. Thank you.

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Welcome! I agree with you. One of my residents lost her husband recently, but she’s far too deep into dementia to be able to understand or come to terms with that information. Telling her or taking her to the funeral would have been confusing (and, probably, just cruel). While all people with dementia are different, and while I’m sure the family wants to “tell her the truth,” it’s just going to cause her grief. She’ll soon forget the information, but she’ll still be upset. I wouldn’t tell her and I also wouldn’t bring her to the funeral.

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Rachael Wonderlin is an internationally-recognized dementia care expert and consultant. She has a Master’s in Gerontology and is the author of three published books with Johns Hopkins University Press. Rachael owns Dementia By Day, a dementia care consulting and education company.

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