Honesty or Compassion: Which Works Better in Dementia Care?

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Dementia care can become challenging when your aging loved one begins to make false statements or attempts to say or do things that aren’t based in reality. Your loved one may also be in complete denial about the diagnosis or oblivious to his or her condition. As a caregiver, you may have to walk a fine line between telling the truth and trying to be kind. Fortunately, you can use the following tips to avoid outright lying to your loved one while still helping him or her work through delusional thinking. 

Practice Validation

Seniors with dementia often exhibit challenging behaviors or make false statements when there’s an unmet need. For instance, your parent may insist on getting dressed for work even when he or she has long been retired. The desire to go to work may stem from a need to be useful to others in the community. 

Instead of being bluntly honest about the fact that your loved one hasn’t worked in decades, you could verbally validate the need to help others. Then, find an activity at home that fulfills this need, such as making cards to send to veterans overseas. 

Caring for senior loved ones can 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 can turn to Home Care Assistance 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.

Understand When to Practice Kindness

While you may have grown up being told to never lie, there are times when telling the truth could cause tremendous pain. For example, mentioning that your loved one’s parent or spouse is dead could cause him or her to experience the trauma all over again. For this reason, you may need to practice a little therapeutic skewing of the truth. For example, if your loved one is waiting for a dead spouse to show up for lunch, tell him or her that the spouse has been delayed but you’ve invited another friend to share the meal. 

Caring for a senior with dementia can be challenging for family caregivers. Luckily, there is dementia care Clearwater 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. 

Know How to Pick Your Battles

Dementia can impair the ability to reason, and trying to argue your point may only lead to further agitation. If your loved one continues to claim something that isn’t true, you may find it’s easier to just let the situation rest. Shift the conversation to another subject and focus on moving forward with the day. Remember the whole point is to keep your loved one comfortable, and trying to change his or her mind may only lead to stubbornness. 

Try Redirection Instead of Lying

Seniors with dementia often live from moment to moment. While forgetfulness poses many challenges, it does offer the advantage of being able to redirect your loved one’s attention away from false beliefs or negative thoughts. For instance, you could simply start up a new activity instead of trying to make up an answer to a question that has no real satisfying answer for your loved one. 

If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated provider of elderly home care. Clearwater Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. From the mentally stimulating activities in our Cognitive Therapeutics Method to our friendly Care Managers who are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, we offer a wide array of high-quality at-home care services. Reach out to us at Home Care Assistance if you need compassionate professional care for your loved one. Call one of our friendly Care Managers today at (727) 330-7862.

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