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Koinonia Senior Care

Enriching the lives of homebound seniors and inviting our community to join us.

Dementia’s deception of “I want to go home” plagues many caregivers with how to respond to their loved one whose childhood home and parents are long gone. The anguish of their loved one’s grief when they find out the truth or the guilt of our fibbing by finding excuses for why their request is delayed, are both difficult to endure.

As a caregiver, we are seeking soothing words to relieve our loved one’s stress. Therapeutic fibbing can be controversial but is used by many caregivers to accomplish an atmosphere of acceptance, if only for a short time. As a compassionate caregiver, they step into the world of their loved one with listening and engagement. This validates they have been heard, while keeping them safe and calm.  A strategy is then implemented that temporarily relieves the stress and anxiety for both your loved one with dementia and the caregiver, family member, or visitor.

One caregiver’s strategy is to make up several excuses in advance, so she is never caught off guard when the dreaded request is anxiously voiced by their loved one. Perhaps a personalized list will be helpful for you, as well.  Here are a few examples:

“It’s raining too hard there to go today.”

“Your sister is out of town right now and she wants us to wait until she returns.”

“___ is sick right now and they don’t want you to get sick, so let’s wait a few days.”

The excuse may only last one day, but if it satisfies and calms your loved one, your visit can be more relaxed and pleasant.

Another strategy was created by Jess Fraser, a film maker whose parents were once on the dementia journey.  Jess created a Therapeutic Fibbing series of short episodes called Stories for Caregivers. Jess and staff (many who have dealt with dementia in their own families) “flipped the script from tragedy to dramatic comedy, demonstrating tools caregivers can use in the process.” Watch, be challenged, and be blessed as you think outside the box as a caregiver.  https://storiesforcaregivers.com/therapeutic-fibbing-home-4-4/

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