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Why Caregivers Lie

Caregivers: Have you ever lied to your elderly loved one?

If you have, you're not alone.

A whopping 73 percent of people taking care of aging family members have lied to the ones they love, according to a recent family caregiver honesty survey of over 700 members. In fact, most of these men and women fib on a regular basis—43 percent admit to being untruthful at least once a week.

White lies and good intentions

What do caregivers lie about the most?

How they're really feeling.

Sixty-five percent of frequent fibbers say that they tell untruths in order to hide their real emotions from the ones they're taking care of.

It's unsurprising that the majority of caregivers feel the need to lie about what their true feelings are.

Looking after the day-to-day well-being of an elderly loved one is a grueling undertaking that can bring up a host of emotions, many of them unpleasant. Anger, guilt, resentment, grief and countless other sentiments swirl around in the mind of the caregiver, slowly draining them of energy and positive emotions.

The idea of putting a loved one's needs in front of their own means that these men and women often suffer in silence, unable to admit to how they really feel.

When talking to friends and family members, caregivers rely on the ever-popular "white lie"—an untruth told for the sake of protecting the person to whom you're lying—so often that they run the risk of convincing themselves that they feel "fine."

The one person you should always be honest with

No matter what your thoughts are on the concept of the white lie, there is one form of dishonesty that will backfire on you 100 percent of the time: lying to yourself.

Stuffing your feelings, ignoring caregiving's cumulative effect on your physical and emotional health, and neglecting to ask for help are three sure-fire ways to speed your progress down the road to caregiver burnout.

You have to be honest with yourself, recognize your own needs, and honor those needs by attending to them with the same care and compassion that you give to your loved one.

Preventing burnout is essential for caregivers. Here are a few resources that may shed some light on how you can learn to balance your loved one's needs with your own:

Also, if you're seeking to connect with a group of people that you never have to lie to about caregiving's most difficult topics, look no further that the Caregiver Forum. These men and women know what it's like to live in the trenches of caregiving and can provide you with honest, understanding feedback.

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