Should You Engage in Therapeutic Lying with a Loved One Who Has Alzheimer's Disease?

Caregiver Brighton NY

Caregiver Brighton NYIf you’re a family caregiver to a loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease, you’ve likely handled a few sticky situations already. Your loved one may be looking fervently for a relative who has passed away or she may be making up stories about her life. Engaging in something called therapeutic lying can help you to keep the peace for your loved one.

Sometimes the Truth Is Painful

In some cases, telling your loved one the whole truth can bring up painful emotions. If she’s looking for her husband, for example, and he passed away, she may not remember that fact. She only remembers that she is looking for her husband. If you then tell her that he’s been gone for several years now, your loved one may become overwhelmed with grief and sadness. For some loved one’s who have Alzheimer’s disease, the emotions can linger for days even if they don’t remember why they’re sad and grieving.

White Lies Can Reduce Arguments and Agitation

When you do tell your loved one the truth, especially a painful truth, you might be surprised to find her arguing with you. Your loved one may not believe the truth from you and that can cause her to feel agitated and even to distrust you and your motives. Again, that agitation and frustration may linger for quite some time after the original conversation is forgotten.

Is There Harmful Intent in the Lie?

One question that you can ask yourself if you’re still on the fence about therapeutic lying is whether or not you intend any harm to your loved one by telling her something that is not quite the truth. If you’re doing it to save her pain and anguish, then the answer is usually no, you’re not intending any harm with the lie you’re about to tell. For some family caregivers, the intent is what is important, not the lie itself.

It’s up to You

In the end, it’s up to you how you choose to handle some of these sticky situations. Sometimes you might feel way too guilty to tell your loved one a lie, but that can have consequences for you afterward. You’ll have to weigh your options and determine if you can handle the occasional white lie in order to help your loved one experience a bit more peace.

Whatever you decide, you’ll need to make the decision that best suits your elderly loved one’s needs. If those needs change, so too might your stance on therapeutic lying.

If you or an aging loved one are considering Caregiver Services in Brighton NY, contact the caring staff at Caring Hearts of Rochester today! Serving Rochester, Pittsford, Greece, Webster, Canandaigua, Fairport, Perinton, Penfield, Brighton, Henrietta and surrounding communities. Call 585-245-0134.