Should You Be Truthful or Kind When Providing Dementia Care?

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Should Dementia Caregivers Be Honest or Compassionate in Victoria, BC

Dementia care can become challenging when your aging loved one begins to make false statements or attempts to say or do things that are not based on reality. Your loved one may also be in complete denial of 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 is an unmet need. For instance, your aging 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 your loved one’s need, such as making cards to send to veterans overseas.

Caring for a senior loved one 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 Victoria 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 your loved one 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 an older adult with dementia can be a challenging task, especially if you have other important duties to tend to. If you are the primary caregiver for a senior loved one in Victoria, respite care is available when you need time away from your important caregiving duties. At Home Care Assistance, our respite caregivers are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help your loved one manage everyday tasks in the comfort of home while you have the chance to take a much-needed break.

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 is 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 senior home care. Victoria 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. Whether your aging parent needs respite or live-in care, call us at (250) 592-4881 today.


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