white lies or the truth


Registered User
Dec 5, 2005
My sister has been liveing with us for over 6 monthe but on a daily basis asks when she is going home as she thinks she only came a day or two ago. i always tell her the truth - that is - that she is living with us now and no longer lives at home. This always upsets her and she insists she IS going home, but of course she does not realise that she could not look after herself as we do every thing for her. should I just go along with her and say yes you'll be going home soon. I would feel bad about telling lies- its not in my nature but i know it would probably be better for her.


Registered User
Mar 7, 2004
Dear pammy, welcome to the world of white lies...............nobody likes telling them, but you cannot expect our love ones to understand "today" as we do.
You have to fudge the issue a bit, saying something like "You don't have to go yet, we love having you" or your house/flat is being redecorated/heating being repaired.

After a while she will stop asking so often. As you say she does not realise she has been with you 6 months, so why should she realise that she cannot look after herself.

As Bruce so wisely says "you have to enter their world". Not easy I know,
take care of yourself, Connie


Registered User
Mar 27, 2004
White lies

Dear pammy

Connie is right we all tell white lies, mainly to prevent distressing the one we are caring for.

You say your sister gets upset when you tell her the truth, by definition that means you get upset too. What is the point of telling the truth just for the sake of it?

If a harmless white lie maintains the harmony between you, and allows you more time and effort to put into things that are really important for the wellbeing of you both, why not.

Whatever you tell her she will have forgotten by tomorrow at the latest, so don't put yourself through the torment of should I lie or not.


Cheers Barraf


Registered User
Dec 11, 2003
Tully, Qld, Australia
Dear Pammy,

Oh, the lies I have told..! At first I hated doing this so very much. After a while it almost became second nature and I got so inventive, it was scary.

Maintaining the status quo is all important. Why hurt somebody with the stark truth, when you can lie a little and protect them? Just cross your fingers behind your back.



Registered User
Oct 15, 2005
If a white lie is the difference between upsetting your loved one or not.... I also say......LIE THROUGH YOUR TEETH.. with your fingers crossed of course :)

PS.Although I am having difficulty getting my Dad to to do this! When you've been sharing your life for 50 odd years with no secrets, it's mighty awkward to make the change! :eek:


Registered User
Sep 16, 2005
Half truths

Pammy, I know what you mean by telling lies is not in your nature. I have real trouble with it myself, it actually makes me feel physically ill to tell lies (what did my parents do to me when I was a child, to cause me to have such a reaction, I wonder??!!) but as everyone above has suggested, sometimes this can't be avoided when you are dealing with people with dementia and you don't want them to be distraught on a daily (or hourly) basis.

However if you are like me and telling lies really really goes against your grain, I have found that lies are not necessarily unavoidable. There are two main categories of lies that people think of, the first is outright lies usually done for bad reasons, white lies that although they are lies are told to avoid people being hurt, and then there is what I do with Dad, and that is, not telling the full truth all the time and using distraction and changes of subject. I.e. The full truth is your sister will not be going home because she is getting progressively worse, but the reason she is staying with you is because she is unwell. If she were to miraculously get better then technically she could live alone, so if I were you trying to not get her upset, when she asks, I'd try simply emphasising why she is at your home now, how concerned you were for her when she first got ill and that you felt that she would be safer if she stayed with you and that you have no problem with her living on her own when she is well. (Note that the 'when' can be taken two ways, as an accepted likelihood or as an if) And you really really want her to be well. (Definetly not a lie) Then move to change subject. Technically not a lie although in some ways I am far more devious than a simple liar and my technique is possibly more immoral, but wording my phrases so that theoreti callyI am not lying sits better with my psyche than the alternative. ..Just giving you the option.

If white lies are more your style though, just follow the guidelines I give my step-daughter when she questions how its ok for adults to tell white lies....I tell her using ones lying powers for good and not evil is okay.