If your elderly family member has dementia, she’s probably shared some information with you that has had you scratching your head. You might have wondered whether you should try to correct some of the stories that she shares. Dementia changes a lot about how your senior’s reality functions, so it might be better to go with the flow.
What She’s Saying Is True for Her
The very first thing for you to realize in this situation is that your elderly family member doesn’t feel or realize that she’s in a different reality from your own. She’s sharing what she feels is true based on the information that she has and the reality that she’s in at the moment. She doesn’t see what she’s saying as untrue or a fib.
Does it Matter?
You’re going to need to assess this from the standpoint of whether it truly matters or not. Is someone being harmed by your senior’s belief in the story she’s told you? If no harm is going to come from the version your senior is telling, then there’s no harm in letting her continue with her version.
Using Logic Often Backfires
On the flip side, if you’re trying to use logic to try to bring your senior to your way of thinking is more likely to backfire. Dementia changes how her brain works, which means that you’re not going to see things the same way that she does and she’s not going to think the same way that she used to. The rules of logic work differently for her now.
You’re Not Encouraging Something Bad
At first, you might worry that you’re encouraging something that is going to be bad or harmful for your aging adult. The reality is that this isn’t a situation that is going to matter in the grand scheme of things. If your elderly family member wants to believe that she’s heading home from school later today, that’s not necessarily a bad version of reality for her to have.
This Takes Practice
This type of reaction is not easy at first, though. You’re going to need a bit of practice and possibly some help from someone else modeling how to respond. Elder care providers are proficient at helping aging adults with dementia navigate the spaces between two realities. They can show you how easy it can be to go along with your senior’s current situation, keeping her safe and comfortable all the while.
A senior with dementia is already dealing with quite a lot, as are you as her caregiver. It’s up to you ultimately how you want to handle this type of situation, but you’re going to exhaust yourself and frustrate your senior if you push too hard. It’s worth taking some time and evaluating the situation.
Excerpt: Sometimes you might hear your senior say something that is far from true, but she has dementia. Is this something you need to correct each time?