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Should you tell someone they have Alzheimer's?

Should we tell my grandmother that she has Alzheimer's? She is calm and happy right now, she just has no short term memory.
Status: Open    Sep 06, 2014 - 12:17 PM


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4 answers

Expert Answers

May 13, 2015 - 02:29 PM

The answer is a personal matter and could depend on the stage of the disease and the timing as when you may have a discussion with your grandmother.

The Alzheimer's Foundation of America recommends some options here are a few I would consider:

1. Be mindful that they may suspect something is amiss long before a diagnosis and it is their right to know what is wrong.

2. The state of the process of the disease could enable them to participate in important medical, legal, financial, long term care and end of life issues.

3. If they are not able to totally understand the diagnosis or deny the explanations then accept their reaction and avoid further explanations of the disease at that moment.

4. Bring in the professionals a social worker and healthcare professional who has experience working with cognitively impaired individuals and have a family conference with the grandmother.


Voted Best Answer

Sep 06, 2014 - 12:24 PM

When my Dad had Alzheimer's we told him and he was very angry and in denial for a long time. He eventually seemed to accept it but it's hard to tell since he never talked about how he felt. I think it depends on the person, are they still cognizant enough to realize how the disease will affect them? If not I don't see a point in making them more miserable.


Oct 13, 2015 - 10:41 PM

My mother's progression into Alzheimer's was so slow and gradual that we never really got around to discussing her state of mind. I was able to move in with her and take care of her for 3 years, before I had to place her in assisted living with a locked area, since she was prone to wander. I visit her, we talk about her childhood as if she were a child. She asks about her parents and how they are doing, along with questions about other family members who are long deceased. I just go along with her. She readily accepted the transition to the assisted living facility since she had regressed to childhood already. My feeling is why add insult to injury when the patient seems to know something is amiss, but they are accepting their situation. Does it make a big difference to prove the point of what illness they have? Most important, I think, is to let them know they are loved and cared for.

May 10, 2016 - 03:03 AM

I think you should tell about her condition.
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