How Therapeutic Lying May Be Useful in Dementia Care

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Lying to an elderly loved one with dementia may seem unscrupulous to many families. However, when used carefully and compassionately, this strategy may actually alleviate dementia symptoms. This article examines therapeutic lying and the role it may play in comforting seniors with dementia. 

Lying as a Means of Validation

Many dementia caregivers are tempted to try to correct or reason with their aging loved ones to bring them back to reality. However, logic and reason no longer apply when a senior has dementia, and both you and your loved one may end up frustrated and upset if this approach is taken. Therapeutic lying, also known as validation therapy, allows you to meet your loved one in his or her perceived reality instead of trying to reorient him or her to your reality.

Caring for senior loved ones may be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers may turn to Assisting Hands Home Care for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.

The Pros of Therapeutic Lying

Telling a therapeutic lie may be a gentle way of sidestepping awkward questions. For example, constantly correcting your loved one by telling him or her a particular family member is deceased may cause unnecessary pain and anguish as he or she relives the grieving process. The occasional fib may also help make your caregiving duties more manageable if it encourages your loved one to eat, bathe, or take his or her medicine as desired. 

If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care, a leading provider of Senior Care Cincinnati, OH, families may trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

The Cons of Therapeutic Lying

Telling even a small lie to your loved one could leave you feeling guilty. Even in the advanced stages of dementia, your loved one may experience moments of lucidity, and there’s always a risk he or she will realize you lied and feel angry or betrayed as a result. Some dementia care experts believe lying under any circumstances is demeaning and shows a lack of respect. 

Applying Therapeutic Lying to Your Loved One’s Care

Use your intuition to determine if therapeutic lying is appropriate when providing care for your loved one. The following guidelines may be helpful in implementing this technique and alleviating his or her dementia symptoms: 

  • Try to distract and redirect your loved one to another topic instead of agreeing or disagreeing with his or her statements
  • Identify and validate the emotions behind the statements
  • Only use a fib when it’s necessary for your loved one’s safety or when it will enhance his or her quality of life
  • Allow your loved one to believe his or her reality as long as he or she is happy and not in danger

Caring for a senior with dementia may be challenging for family caregivers. Luckily, there is dementia care Cincinnati families may rely on. Professional dementia caregivers help seniors with dementia stay safe and comfortable at home by preventing wandering, providing cognitive stimulation, and assisting with household chores. To create a customized home care plan for your loved one, call Assisting Hands Home Care at 513-540-0826 today.