Tell the truth or not?

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by MJK, Feb 28, 2008.

  1. MJK

    MJK Registered User

    Oct 22, 2004

    I read these forums regularly but rarely post (sorry!) but I just wanted to ask for opinions on the latest situation we find ourselves in.

    My Mum was diagnosed with AD two years ago (though I reckon it started about 7/8 years ago). Since the diagnosis we've had carers going in twice a day and things have muddled along with (lots of!) problems along the way, but nothing too serious. Unfortunately none of the family live locally so even minor problems can be big ones to solve.

    Mum has just spent 3 weeks in hospital after a wound on her hand became badly infected (she'd had it for at least 5 days before the family became aware) and she was admitted via A&E. Anyway, to cut a long story short we decided the time has come where she needs to go into a home. The risks of keeping her in her own home have been increasing and she ended up in hospital because there was no-one to take responsibility when she had a serious problem.

    So, I'm as happy as I can be that we've made the right decision. The home she is now in is lovely. She has a lot of freedom (within secure boundaries) and the residents are encouraged to be as active/independent as possible. She is physically fit (she's oly 70) and in many ways quite capable. She's only been there a few days but seems happy with the place and the people.

    Now for my question: do we tell her this is now her new home? So far we're saying it's just till her hand's better. Yesterday when we visited she got very upset because she thought she might be staying there permanently so, we again lied.

    So for other people who've been in this situation have you found it better to tell the truth or keep telling white lies? I've always felt that when the time came lying would be the best for my Mum but now I'm not so sure. She does know her own home so when she says she wants to be there she knows exactly where she wants to be.

    Sorry, a long post to ask a quick question!

    Thanks for any advice.
  2. heartbroken

    heartbroken Registered User

    Feb 17, 2008
    Don't be sorry for long post it helps to explain.

    I don't know the answer someone on here will more experiance might. I asked a simular question yesterday it is so hard, but does she forget from day to day what you have said if so I would keep to the same story or try and think another if it distresses her, plus you will need another reason when her hand is better. I would not tell her the truth, I know its hard but sometimes we have to do it
  3. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Hello MJK,
    If your mother will be upset to know the NH is to be her permnanent home, tell her anything she will find acceptable. There is absolutely no point causing her upset, if it can be avoided.
    She might still know her own home but she is at risk there.
    I hope she settles soon.
    Love xx
  4. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    I'm inclined to go with the prevarication route - not a direct lie (although there's nothing wrong with that if the circumstances dictate) but a more flexible approach. Something along the lines of "you'll be able to go home when you're safe to go home". Now we know that means never, but it's not an absolute lie. I found it easier to do that - I never was very good at lying to my mother. That or distraction - although distraction may not work if your mother is exceptionally focussed on the issue.
  5. huntsu1

    huntsu1 Registered User

    Jan 2, 2008
    Mum has been in her new home for six weeks now, she is much more settled now which is a weight off our minds but her favourite question is 'when can I go home', we tell her when it is 'safe' she knows she cannot remember even something said a couple of minutes before, and although she is not happy with this answer she seems to accept that untill her memory improves she is safer where she is. When I first posted on here I received a great piece of advice to 'do what is good and not what is right'. It doesnt come easy to have to tell white lies but if they mean mum stays calm then for us we are doing the right thing. hope that helps.
  6. hendy

    hendy Registered User

    Feb 20, 2008
    West Yorkshire
    This is such a difficult time - I'm sorry that you have had to put mum in a home. I remember dad losing his independence. It seemed to happen bit by bit but evetually the time came to place him in an EMI home. It is just impossible to describe the dilemma's as carers we have to face at times. I found that I couldn't lie to dad It just made me feel that he wouldn't be able to trust me somehow. Apart from which I didn't want to add to his confusion. All I can think is that I spent hours to reassure and try to communicate with him. I think dad realised somehow, that he would be more reassured living in a home. Having long admissions in hospital partly got him used to this way of life, sadly.
    kind regards
  7. elaineo2

    elaineo2 Registered User

    Jul 6, 2007
    leigh lancashire
    Hi MJK,as a carer in a home i can understand your dilemma,i see it all too's hard enough for families placing relatives in care,even harder when the relative doesn't understand why.the settling in process can take days/weeeks/months the meantime if you feel comfortable with being economical with the truth,then thats fine,just let the home know what you have actually told your relative,and they should comply with is almost impossible for dementia patients to settle initially,and whatever you tell them may well be forgotten,but if what you tell them is reiterated by the homes staff then it should make it easier for them and you when you actually tell them the my experience residents settle in time without having to be told their problems and why they are in a home.
    hope it helps elainex
  8. MJK

    MJK Registered User

    Oct 22, 2004

    Thanks for all the replies. It seems that you all pretty much agree on using whatever approach works! Well so far we're talking about Mum being in the home "until she's better". And we don't bring up the subject unless she does (which she does!). It would definitely upset her a great deal (but for how long, I don't know) to be told she'd never go home. She does seem to like where she is, but every coversation includes her saying she's looking forward to going back home "in a couple of days".

    Yesterday, for the first time I felt REALLY terrible when she said this. I knew that while I was making positive remarks about the care home, and soothing her, that in fact there were estate agents valuing her house. Till then I'd been happy with our approach, it just seems terrible that we can sell her beloved home without her even knowing.

    I've got the "guilt monster" crawling all over me at the moment and just feel very sad about the whole situation.

    Still know we've made the right decision, but doesn't help much at the moment. :(
  9. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    near London
    and that, in a nutshell, is what troubles us all. One can't seem to do right for doing right.....:(
  10. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Hello MJK

    This guilt monster has a lot to answer for. Yes, you are doing right. Yes, you know you are doing right. Yes, you do feel guilty. Yes, your mother is comfortable in the home. Yes, she is safe.

    Your mother is not unhappy, she is not at risk, she is not fit to care for herself.

    And you feel deceitful telling her she can go home in a few days. But she accepts that. If you told her the house was on the market she would be upset.

    The hardest part for me, with my mother, wasn`t putting her house on the market. It was clearing it out once it was sold. Prepare yourself for that if you can. It`s not a good feeling.

    But it`s necessary.

    Take care xx
  11. MJK

    MJK Registered User

    Oct 22, 2004
    Thaks Brucie and Granny G for your kind replies. You both explain the dilemma very well.

    I live a long way from Mum's house, but other family members have already started decluttering the house so we can get it on the market asap. I'll be going up to help in a couple of weeks - can't say I'm looking forward to it.:(
  12. ishard

    ishard Registered User

    Jul 10, 2007
    I saw an episode of ER yesterday that dealt with this.

    Dad has AD and he was called to the ER in time to see his son die. He was very upset. SS was called to rehome Dad now that his carer (son) had died.

    On the way to the home Dad asked for his son and was told again that his son had died of course Dad was very upset all over again.

    20 mins later Dad asks for his son again, this time doctor says "Ill tell your son when I see him that you want to talk to him" Dad was satisfied and very happy.

    Sometimes it doesnt always work to tell the truth if it just going to upset everyone.
  13. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    #13 Margarita, Mar 6, 2008
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2008
    I saw that also last mouth , must of been a repeat , was so sad .

    I can't offer any advice as am wondering that also in what to say when my mother go to a care * this is you home now * can only imagine how heart breaking it must be for you and for your mother if you told her that , you just can't can you . she never comprehend it understand why .

    you know and I know we doing it for they own safety , even if its different for me as I brought my mother to live with me , but even now she can not comprehend why she could not live alone she says to me even now you should of left me in Gibraltar " while I say and who would of look after you? silly arguments we get into .

    Now also I have to finally put her in care home , still she never understand, comprehend why .

    all of I can think of is we never done or are doing anything wrong , its the disease that done it all .

    we have to stay positive as its all to sad for words xx

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