This entry is written by Truthful Loving Kindness (yes, that is my full legal name) for publishing at http://www.truthfulkindness.com , so PLEASE address any questions or comments to that website, regardless of which website shows these words.
Tru here, in answer to a question about why persons with dementia “Lie” so much.
Not really any suggestions, but i can give some insight into WHY it appears that it happens (so that you can better create strategies that can help in your specific situation).
Due to hallucinations, fantasy (like “Arthur; the sea dragon in space” digital painting above) can become our reality,
… but so can Horror (Almost all of my hallucinations are horror).
In some of my nocturnal hallucinations, family members and FaceBook friends do and say things that are selfish and cruel.
i make every effort to separate (this NON-reality that feels more real-than-real) from my day-to-day attitudes and behaviors
— because the rational side of my brain TEMPORARILY knows those things were hallucination,
but it is difficult not to APPLY them as consensus reality,
because hallucination memories and consensus reality memories can easily become merged.
((In fact, since nocturnal hallucinations are SO very vivid, they are often more memorable than consensus reality)).
Also, most people have things that they do not wish to remember, but with those of us who have memory loss that often becomes fact.
And our memory of actual (non-hallucinatory) events can be distorted.
With my grandmother her last couple years were very influenced by events that her childhood emotions had not fully dealt with.
i suspect that experience might be a frequent occurrence with others in late stages.
Five minutes after my mother calls on the phone, husband will ask “how is your mom?”.
At my CURRENT normal i can answer “i dont remember, but i am sure she is doing well”.
… HOWEVER, i have seen this journey from two grandmothers, and i know that eventually i will not realize that i do not remember, and will simply answer that “she is doing well”.
When great-grandma lived with us there was no such thing as an early diagnosis,
her perceptions and memories were inaccurate,
and it was all-too-easy to feel she was “lying”.
i so much wish that i knew then what i know now
(as a person seeing others and experiencing early stages of dementia myself).
Another aspect to consider is that some of us have sensory hallucinations. My hallucinations are primarily of sound and smell, but occasionally visual. There are times that i am SURE a radio is on somewhere, interfering with my concentration. But husband insists there is no radio. My nocturnal hallucinations often set the tone for my day, and sometimes those (hallucination) events are considered factual in my day-to-day experience.
((See Impact of Nocturnal Hallucinations by Truthful Kindness at https://truthfulkindness.com/2016/01/19/impact-terrors-dreams/ )). If asked about those events i am NOT lying; instead i am giving my version of the TRUTH !
i think when a Person Living with Dementia says something that is untrue in all others’ perceptions,
i believe it is sometimes a lie,
BUT it totally depends on whether that particular person used untruth as a coping mechanism BEFORE dementia.
If they were basically a truthful person before dementia,
then those untruths are most probably NOT lies;
they are REALITY for those of us who are living with dementia symptoms.
Big difference, and prior personality is what tells the difference.
Barbara Parker Brown (on Mon 06Dec2021) “Can it really be lying if we think it is the truth?” … (on Mon 06Dec2021) “yes, you may use it.” (in blog entry)
— *** —
LINKS; Remember, Links are in colored text, NOT the pictures.
… and you might want to check out the “Hallucination” Links gathered for Dementia Symptoms and Strategies (alphabetized) at https://truthfulkindness.com/about/d-info/links-sx-strategies/.
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Tags: alzheimers, communication, dementia, person with dementia, PLwD, reality, relationship, symptoms, truth. S&S categ: commun.