Hi! Thank you for writing in. The answer is: no, you are not doing the best thing by telling her the truth. The most important thing about dementia care is the ability to *embrace their reality*
Embracing someone’s reality who has dementia means that you recognize that he or she no longer lives in the same world that we do. When you’re telling her “the truth” you’re really only telling her OUR truth. People with dementia live in a different world than we do. It’s not about lying, it’s about getting in with her reality.
Here’s what you need to do: say, “I don’t know, I haven’t heard from her in a bit” or “Yes, she’s been very busy” or any other thing that makes it seem like she’s alive. Here’s the thing: she can’t remember anyway, so why upset her with something painful? Each time she hears it, it’s new again. And, when she forget the facts, she still feels sad–she just doesn’t know why.
In her reality, her mom is alive. Her reality is a lot happier than ours–a world where she’s old, her mom is dead, and she has dementia.