– Question –
My mom has Alzheimer’s. I know her mind isn’t what it used to be, but she says things that are obviously wrong or not true. I’ve heard that I should go along with her and I’ve also heard that I should explain why she’s wrong – I’m not sure which way is best.
She just told me that my uncle came to see her the day before, but I know that didn’t happen because he lives in another state. Another time she told me she never goes to a certain restaurant (her favorite place), but we had just eaten there a week ago!
Isn’t it better to correct her and tell her what’s right? I’m afraid her Alzheimer’s will get worse if I just go along with whatever she says. Sometimes I think she’s lying on purpose and I don’t want her to get away with that either.
What should I do?
– Answer –
Your mom isn’t purposely lying to you. When someone has Alzheimer’s or dementia, the disease causes their brain to malfunction. It might not happen all the time, but when it does, it’s definitely the disease talking.
In her world, she’s telling the truth
Older adults with Alzheimer’s or dementia truly do believe what they’re saying because it’s what their brains are telling them. In your mom’s case, what she tells you is her reality. It just doesn’t match yours.
Focus on kindness
The best solution is to focus on being kind rather than being right. Whenever possible, go along with your mom’s new reality. If that means agreeing when she tells a crazy, made-up story or says something sounding like a lie, then so be it.
Agreeing with her won’t do any harm and will definitely make her feel more calm and happy. Using logic and reason to explain why she’s wrong is likely to cause anger, confusion, agitation, defensiveness, or acting out with difficult behavior.
Agreeing won’t make the Alzheimer’s worse
Going along with your mom’s new reality won’t make her Alzheimer’s worse or progress faster. No amount of explanation, logic, or reasoning can stop or delay the disease.
Each person’s disease will advance at a different rate. But because Alzheimer’s and dementia are progressive diseases without cures, everyone eventually gets worse.
Making the most of the time you have together is the most helpful approach. Focus on positive emotions rather than exact words and don’t worry about whether the facts are correct or not. If you look at the big picture, those things aren’t that important.
You might also like:
— The ONE Alzheimer’s Care Tip That Will Change Your Life
— Communication Tips Help You Connect with Seniors with Alzheimer’s
— 3 Ways to Respond When Someone with Alzheimer’s Says I Want to Go Home
By DailyCaring Editorial Staff
Image: Bayshore Memory Care