Whether to tell truth

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New Member

Date Joined Feb 2011
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 3/1/2011 12:48 AM (GMT -6)   
My mother-in-law is 89.  She moved in with us 2 years ago when she became unable to care for herself.  She has very bad osteoporosis, with lots of trouble walking, and alzheimers.  After she had lived with us a couple of months, her house burned, not to the ground, but it is totally unlivable.  Afterwards, she asked about her house about once a day.  We told her the truth each time which always led to many more questions.  And then we start with, I hate to be a burden on ya'll, with which she goes on and on, and then grieves for quite awhile.  Now, 2 years later, she starts asking about her house continuously.  It has become very depressing.  I know she can't help it, but it is still hard to contend with when it dominates conversations.  After all this time of telling her the truth and having to deal with the consequences, would it be okay to tell her that her house is fine, but she is unable to live by herself.  Do you think it would help?  We are so new to all this.  Thanks for any help.

New Member

Date Joined Feb 2011
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 3/1/2011 2:56 AM (GMT -6)   
 Hi AUponder,
                   I think it is better you take a professional's counsel on this  eyes                   it sounds acute and dangers in it...even if u do it rightly.

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 23551
   Posted 3/1/2011 9:00 AM (GMT -6)   
I used to tell little white lies to my Gma all the time. Because every time they find something out, it's like a scab that has been peeled off every time - it hurts them mentally. My Gma moved in with me and was mentally fine but then she developed AD. There were a quite a few times that I told her that she was visiting us while her trailer was being painted. in reality, her trailer was 800 miles away, sold and her husband (my Gpa) had passed away. She was already an emotional wreck half the time I saw no need to add to it.
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Post Edited (Red_34) : 3/1/2011 7:46:32 AM (GMT-7)

MT Lady
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Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 969
   Posted 3/1/2011 11:09 PM (GMT -6)   
I COMPLETELY agree with Sherry...no harm in telling her little white lies. Why continue to cause her pain, and so much stress on yourselves? What purpose does it serve? My mom has Alz, she is 89 years old and lives in assisted living. I call her every night to say good night and every night she asks "will I see you tomorrow?" and every night I say "of course, I will be there"... I do go at least twice a week, sometimes more, but it makes her happy to think her daughter is coming the next day. She never, ever remembers. It just gives her a good feeling as she is falling asleep. What's the harm? None.
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Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 6448
   Posted 3/3/2011 1:46 PM (GMT -6)   
I was just discussing this subject with someone last night. For some reason, the person seems to dwell on one thing but can totally forget everything else. I too tell little white lies because as the above posters mentioned, because I figure why add to their frustration. I took over my parents finances and my Mom is always talking about how she can't forget to pay the bills. I just tell her not to worry because I'll help her with them. She tells me she will help me find the checkbooks, and I tell her, "That's great, we'll find them when we need them." Then she'll let it go for awhile. Then we'll go through the same scenario again. But, this was her biggest job and she took great care to make sure everything was in financial order.  I know it's not as "big" of a situation as what you are dealing with, but there's many more stories like that!

New Member

Date Joined Feb 2011
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 3/7/2011 11:50 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you all for the help. It may have happened too long ago, and we've told her the truth everytime, for it to work. But, I think I'll tell her everything is fine at home. Thanks

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 3/21/2011 4:44 PM (GMT -6)   
The same topics dominate my mom's conversations, too. She doesn't remember what we have already told her... everyday, every SENTENCE is like starting over... so don't worry about saying whatever you have to, to keep her calm and happy. She won't remember... Only we get upset because it is so repetitive.

New Member

Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 4/8/2011 9:57 PM (GMT -6)   
I agree with the responses above, and would like to add that in my PCA course it is suggested that disturbing subjects/answered be avoided and to try to understand the emotion behind the question. For example, maybe you two can enjoy talking about how nice her house is focusing on her positive emotion, then add in lies as needed to not upset her. The woman I care for brings up her husband every once in a while (he passed away three decades ago). If she asks about him I just tell her he's on a business trip and will call tomorrow etc. However, the woman I care for has pretty much zero short term memory, so this wouldn't be appropriate for some people). It is hard for me because I am a very truthful person, but I have seen the effect of telling the truth and it causes more harm than good. My take on it is that Alzheimer's creates a reality vastly different from the one most of us know. There is no reason to drag people into a reality that no longer exists to them. My goal with my patient is to promote peace and enjoyment as much as possible in her last years.
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