Eventually you might find yourself at a crossroads of sorts as a caregiver. You’re going to need to decide if it’s more important for you to always tell your senior exactly the truth or if you’re going to sometimes lie in order to help her to feel calmer and more secure. It’s a difficult choice.
When Lying Can Be Helpful
Kids are taught that it’s never helpful to lie. Lies can lead to secrets and to dangerous situations, so they’re to be avoided. But as a caregiver, especially to someone who has cognitive changes resulting from something like dementia, lying might be something that you need to engage in on a regular basis. It even has a name: therapeutic lying.
What Is the Real Situation?
Very often the true situation is different from the reality your elderly family member is living in on a daily basis. She may have a variety of situations and questions she brings to you, ranging from questions about where her parents are to where a beloved spouse is right now. These questions can be upsetting for you, but the answers can be even more upsetting for her.
If the Truth Is Going to Hurt Her, You Might Need Another Answer
If your elderly family member comes to you and asks where her spouse who passed away a year ago is, you have a choice to make. The truth, which is what we’re all taught to share, brings a memory that she clearly does not remember on her own. If you give her that information, she’s likely to grieve again because she’s hearing that news again for the first time as far as she’s concerned. But if you use therapeutic lying, she may be persuaded to remember other, happier memories and forget her initial question.
This Might Be a Situational Solution
Some of the questions that your senior asks may be ones that you can respond to truthfully. That is completely up to you. But if you’re noticing that your elderly family member is experiencing negative feelings and responses to those answers, then it might be time for you to reconsider your stance on the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Senior care providers can often help you to navigate these difficult questions. They can show you how to use distraction and therapeutic lying in a way that doesn’t feel as if you’re doing the wrong thing for your senior.
When you are in need of care for a senior loved one, consider home care provided by Golden Heart Senior Care. We have offices nationwide. For more information, call us today at (800) 601-2792.