How can I handle my aging parent's lack of truthfulness?

Shelley Webb
A problem with accusations from an aging parent is that other family members and persons who do not visit frequently, tend to believe what the aging parent tells them. The parent can sound perfectly logical and give no reason not to be believed. The parent may actually believe that what they are saying is true. In this case, it might be helpful to provide a book on dementia, Alzheimer's disease or on caregiving to the person who is questioning your actions.

Hmmm. "Lack of truthfulness" from an elder can cause issues in any number of ways. Are you concerned about what they are telling you - perhaps overstating their ability to function independently, manage finances, take medications, report health complaints? Gentle but firm observation of reality - what your eyes are telling you - is in order.

Are statements made to other family members about you, your caregiving (or alleged lack thereof) the problem? Borrowing from Miss Manners recommendation for parent / teacher conferences; "If you don't believe everything they say about me - I won't believe everything they say about you." Any family member who further challenges your caregiving should be handed a calendar, and scheduled liberally. "I have a life" is no excuse.

Does this lack of truthfulness manifest itself in the doctor's office? Clinicians skilled in the care of elders will value your input. Call the office, and ask to speak with the staff (often a nurse) in advance. Sometimes, standing slightly behind "the patient" in the exam room, will allow you to provide input (nod yes, no, roll your eyes...) when answers don't jive with reality.

In all situations, "Trust but Verify," is the goal.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.