You were probably raised to believe that lying is always wrong, but when you’re a caregiver for an elderly family member who has dementia, you may need to tell some little white lies occasionally. But should you really lie to your senior?
It’s Called Therapeutic Fibbing
When you first start hearing that you might get better results if you’re less than honest with your senior, it can feel wrong. But it’s called therapeutic fibbing. That means that you’re telling your elderly family member what she wants to hear in order to feel more comfortable. The truth can be scary and upsetting, especially if your senior has cognitive issues.
Telling the Full Truth Can Be Hard on Your Senior
If your aging adult is living in the past more than she’s living in the present, some facts may be painful or even cruel for her to confront. Hearing that a beloved relative is no longer alive, for instance, can cause your elderly family member to grieve for that person all over again. Therapeutic fibbing can help you avoid causing her that pain.
Using Logic Will Backfire
Sticking with logic often feels like what you should do, but it can backfire. Your senior is not engaging with the real world in the same way that you are. She’s created a new and different reality for herself and it conflicts with the reality that you’re in. The logic you’re trying to use doesn’t operate the same way in her own reality.
You Have to Join the Reality Your Senior Has Created
Your elderly family member isn’t going to suddenly return to your version of what’s real. That means you’re going to need to join her in hers. Play along as much as you can, especially if what she’s believing at the moment isn’t going to cause her any harm.
Respond to the Feelings Behind What She’s Saying
Sometimes what’s really going on when your senior says one thing is that there’s a feeling she’s trying to express. For instance, if she mentions wanting to see a favorite relative, she may be feeling lonely or in need of comfort. Try to offer your senior what she might really be asking for.
If you’re finding it difficult to lie to your senior, even in a therapeutic way, you might find it helpful to enlist someone else’s help. Elderly care providers can help you to learn how to use therapeutic fibbing the right way so that your senior is calmer and happier.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Edison, NJ, please contact the caring staff at Care Street Home Care of New Brunswick today. Call (732) 607-8870.