Should you always tell the truth to an elder with mental problems? Or is it okay to white lie sometimes to keep them quite?

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Do you always say the truth to your relative with mental problems? Or sometimes you tell them lies to keep them quiet?

Answers 1 to 10 of 10
We lie through our teeth! Our Mom is not loosing it completely yet, but she certainly has her days! Sometimes it is just best to agree with her, she is not going to remember it by tomorrow anyway. Keeping her in a happy place is better for her. Our mom is a hypochondriac, the more she is upset, the more illnesses she gains! And, she thinks she is suppose to be taking medication for these supposed illnesses. Honestly, we are asking the doc to prescribe placebos so we can "treat" her as needed.

Pattie
I think it would depend, what kind of mental problem are you talking about?
My mother has Alzheimer. For example, she forgets she has lost her parents. Very often she starts to pack her things and says to me she wants to go to them. If I tell her that they are dead, she is sad (but she forgets it after 2 seconds), if I say "okay, it is late now, we are going tomorrow" she gets very excited and she remains excited. So I never know what to do.
2 for mom: thanks for your reply. I agree with the placebo solution (why not? We want to make them happier!) My mother has "everything" except hypochondria. The problem is that she always asks me things that I cannot give her... So sometimes it is difficult to handle her.
when they say they want to go somewhere i would take them out for a joyride , off to dq to have an icecream or drive over to see somebody for a min or 2 , my dad cant stand to be at anywhere longer than 5 mins cuz he s ready to hit the road , loves that music jammin and curising along the country side , even loves going to wendy s drive up window and then chow down while im a driving around . like that movie called driving miss daisy .
when he says he wants to go somewhere i always say sure pa anywhere u wanna go and we go ., one hr drive or 2 hrs drive maybe longer ?? depending how he feels ,
its fun ! beats sittin at home staring at the tv . mm maybe we shall go to wendys tmr , its been a while . :-)
My mother likes to go around, too!!! She likes to go anywhere. But when she has decided she wants to go to her village to see her parents, there is no way i can distract her- she keeps asking. Anyway you are right, after a ride she is always happier.
I am smiling thinking of all these aged globetrotters!
Rosella: my mother also had Alzheimer's and would ask all the time about her parents and brothers and sisters (all of whom have passed).

I would tell her whatever she needed to hear to keep her happy. If one day she realized that they had passed, I would tell her how happy they must be in heaven, watching over her and making sure she is safe. *(Mom is now with them in heaven)

On days when she thought they would be coming over soon, I would ask her to help me prepare some 'snack's or tidy up the room before they arrive! That helped keep her busy for hours some days.

If Mom wanted to 'packup' so she could go back home, I would ask her if she could wait until after lunch, or dinner (whatever was next) and soon she would be distracted.

We would also go out shopping for something for dinner, or fabric to make placemats, or new linens for the beds, or anything else that would help her 'get ready'.

I found that when my mother spoke about her parents, or siblings it was because she was feeling a bit 'lonely' or maybe just needed some extra attention. Some days we would sit and share stories about our family since she thought I was her 'sister'. These were easy days for me. And I would sit and listen, then ask what she liked the most about "Dad" or about Mom (my grandparent). That would give me more insight to where she was in time. And I would join her. After all I knew my mothers family too!

Just concentrate on keeping the mood light, and redirecting to something else when it sours. My mother also loved to drive in the car, and while we were out, I would have her help me 'navigate' or something else to keep her occupied until we got to our destination.

Telling the truth is overrated when it comes to Alzheimer's and it can cause more problems than using therapeutic lies. Just ask me: Pinnochio's long lost sister! LOL
Top Answer
To Mia Madre: Thank you a lot. You are right. You gave me very good advice. This situation is rather new for me (my miother is getting worse year after year, of course) so sometimes I really do not what to do.
Thank you again... She thinks I am her sister, too. There must be some patterns that are the same for all people with their condition... It is very hard to see them suffer like this.
RosellaItaly,

Alzheimer's is a horrible disease that is very difficult to handle. My Grandmother died of it. MiaMadre has given you some excellent thoughts. Our mom is just getting old and having trouble remembering things. She will have days that are GREAT but they are fewer than the days that she has difficulties. We make sure that our mom stays in her happy place most of the time. There are things that we take a stand on, bath time, the foods that she eats and the meds that she does need. Mom is diabetic and has to take medication 4 xs a day. So we stay on top of that. A lie to help them get through their day is not a bad thing. I am a much happier person when there is a smile on mom's face, so I try to keep one there.
Dear 2formom, this forum is very useful because until 2 days ago I felt ashamed and sorry that I had to tell lies to my mother in order to live better (she and I, because I won't deny I think of my sake as well as hers). It is very difficult to accept the fact that you cannot treat your mother anymore as a normal person. (this is not a nice way to say it, I know) . I see now that other people who are in the same situation, must use some strategies. I always wonder if I am doing the right things. I do the same as you do, there are things that I take a stand on, as changing clothes, washing, eating properly. As for the things that are less important, I let her have her own way. Thank you a lot. I don't know If I am very clear when I write in English... if my choice of words is not the right one, don't be shocked!

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