September 2021 Newsletter
Dementia Mini Series Part 10
BUT I’M LYING, AREN’T I? Answering Tough Questions
Let’s start with this mindset: No, you are not lying when you answer your loved one’s tough question to help them to live successfully in their reality.
Before we label your responses as a LIE we need to review the meaning of the word “truth”. Truth is defined as being in accord with fact or reality. There is the answer in my opinion. We know that people with memory loss live in their reality and not in ours. To give them the answer based on our reality is confusing at best and harmful at worst. There is no value in giving them facts that only make them frustrated and sad.
If your responses are framed to reduce psychological pain or burden coupled with your understanding that they are living in their own reality you’re not lying.
OK, but what do I say when dad ask “Where is my mom?”
Harmful responses base on your reality would sound like this—
“She’s been dead for years.”
“You’re 82 now how old would she be if she were alive?”
“I’ve told you she’s been dead for years.”
Supportive responses based on their reality would sound like this—
“You’re mom made wonderful lasagna!”
“She taught me how to knit. I was a tough student!”
“Her big smile always made us happy.”
Not one of those responses is an untruth! It is not necessary to look at each comment you make to your loved one with memory loss as a truth or a lie but as a supportive comment.
The more you know about his mom the more responses you have that will address the question without giving facts that will cause pain and sadness.
Try it! You will feel you are making a positive difference for both of you!
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