Is Honesty or Compassion More Important in Dementia Care?

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In most cases, telling a lie is unwise. However, in dementia care, lying is sometimes the kindest thing caregivers can do. Lying is also a key component of habilitation therapy, a mode of dementia treatment popular with many psychological experts. If you’re wondering whether it’s better to use truth or kindness in dementia care, here are a few things you should know. 

Living in the Reality of Dementia

Many seniors with dementia live in a different reality. As the condition progresses, they may have a difficult time processing information and understanding time and place. Some caregivers instinctively want to pull their loved ones back into the real world. When a senior is confused, the caregiver may try to counter the confusion with hard facts. However, seniors with dementia are unlikely to get better, which is why many experts recommend being compassionate rather than speaking the inconvenient truth.

If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated provider of homecare. Lifestar Home Care is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. 

Habilitation Therapy

Habilitation therapies aim to return seniors to previous levels of function. The therapies focus on the skills and abilities seniors with dementia still retain. Habilitation therapy can enhance a senior’s capabilities and independence and boost his or her emotional wellbeing. 

For example, in the event your loved one inquires about his or her mother, you might gently say she died several years ago. However, in your loved one’s version of reality, his or her mother is still alive and well. Habilitation therapy states there’s no reason to ruin these comforting bits of fiction. Instead of stating the painful truth, try to engage with your loved one’s version of reality. For example, if your loved one asks, “Is my mother coming to my school play?” don’t simply tell the truth. Instead, divert your loved one toward another goal by saying “Yes, she’s coming to your play. But you can’t go on stage until you drink your water and eat your lunch.” 

Caring for seniors with dementia can be challenging for family caregivers. Luckily, there is Dementia Care Oklahoma City families can 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. 

Information Processing & Unpleasant Truths

Therapeutic fibbing allows caregivers to divert their loved ones’ attention toward meaningful activities, and it also insulates seniors from unpleasant truths. Because seniors with dementia have difficulty creating new memories, they’re unlikely to remember their mothers have been dead for quite some time. If you remind your loved one of this fact regularly, he or she may experience the accompanying pain over and over again. In such situations, using therapeutic fibbing is an act of kindness. 

If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, medication reminders, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Lifestar Home Care, a leading provider of Home Care Oklahoma City families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. If you need compassionate professional care for your loved one, call one of our friendly Care Managers today.


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