The New York Times recently posted the article linked below about dementia. I have been discussing this with my clients for years. You cannot usually engage in a logical argument with a one-year old child, and sometimes you cannot do so with an elder who has advanced dementia. You must deal with the disease of the mind in a way that works for that person.
The first time I heard of this issue was from a nurse at a nursing home. She said sometimes you just have to lie to someone, but she didn’t call it a “lie” she said most of the time the “lies” were not big enough to even be called a “fib” this nurse called it a “fiblet.” That is a little white-lie that helps to calm and redirect the patient so she is not upset by the issue.
You probably don’t want to keep telling someone that her loved-one has died, but you might want to tell her that lunch will arive “soon” even though she just ate. I faced this issue personally with my grandmother. After my grandfather died, she kept asking for him. When we told her (again and again) that he was dead she cried like it was the first time she heard it. This happened for a little while before we realized it was cruel and just plain stupid to keep telling her something terrible that she could not remember. From then on we said he was out and would be back soon. This worked just fine.
I highly recommend going to the Alzheimer’s Assocation website http://www.alz.org/ and reviewing their educational material. If your family member or friend has dementia, then you need to learn how to deal with these issues before they become a problem.