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Could White Lies Be Beneficial to The Alzheimer’s Patient?


White Lies and Alzheimer’s Care in Lake Elmo MN

Alzheimer's Home Care Clark NJThroughout life, there are plenty of opportunities to tell little white lies. Young children are taught that white lies are really no different than major lies and they should be avoided. However, as we get older, the desire or need to tell little white lies becomes increasingly common.

When it comes to Alzheimer’s care, white lies may actually be beneficial in some cases. Let’s look at a certain situation to explore this in more detail.

The White Lie to Avoid Problems

When somebody is dealing with Alzheimer’s, they are eventually going to face some type of memory loss. It could be related to appointments they forget, being unable to remember somebody’s name shortly after meeting them, or other minor issues. In these cases, it’s probably not necessary to tell white lies to come for the individual; they likely already know there are memory related issues.

However, when somebody is struggling to make sense of their surroundings, if they are confused, don’t recognize people around them, or don’t know where they are, a white lies could be beneficial.

An example of this situation might be an Alzheimer’s patient who wakes up in the morning, doesn’t recognize the caregiver or even a family member assisting them, and becomes agitated. They might believe they are in a different house, where they lived 20 or 30 years ago. Telling the truth may cause them even greater anxiety and that might elicit a more violent reaction, such as a physical outburst.

Playing along with the idea that they’re actually in this old house, in a different time, as long as it’s not going to place them in any danger, may help the dementia patient feel more comfortable with the situation.

Knowing when a Lie is Beneficial

The key is to know when a little white lie is better than telling the truth. It’s not recommended to get in the habit of lying to the patient. It’s also not recommended for an Alzheimer’s patient who is in what is considered the earlier stages of the disease.

Also avoid getting carried away with these little white lies. You don’t want to tell somebody that a caregiver is one of their favorite celebrities or some other personality they admire. That’s not going to be effective.

You also don’t want to lie about things that aren’t there. Temper the desire to keep the patient comfortable with these white lies and avoid getting carried away, and you will be able to provide positive Alzheimer’s care in a supportive and constructive manner.

BrightStar in Lake Elmo, MN is dedicated to helping seniors maintain full, independent lives where they most desire to live: in the comfort of their own homes. Call us at (651)234-0044.

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Valerie VanBooven RN BSN

Editor in Chief at Approved Senior Network
Valerie is a Registered Nurse and long-term care expert. She has published 4 books on caring for aging adults and is the Editor in Chief of and