Friday, 1 April 2016


I deceive Okaasan on a pretty regular basis.
I guess I am not alone in this? Other carers do the same?

I justify it to myself - usually - that I'm doing it for HER own good.

Not to add  confusion or stress to her life. 
What she doesn't know won't hurt her.
It'll be easier to get her to do something.

The white lies.

And sometimes: just lazy and knowing I can get away with it. Bad. 

Knowing that she almost certainly doesn't remember just now, or a few hours ago can be pretty useful.

* Deception One Example * Day care visit on Wednesday. I needed to give Okaasan money to cover the taxi and the shopping. But I didn't want to TELL her that it was Day Care Day, otherwise she'd escape, like last week.
So, I hovered in the kitchen and when she went to the toilet I planned to rush into her room and stuff the notes in her wallet. Unluckily she went to the toilet while I was upstairs, so there was just a small window of opportunity - I didn't have time to reach the wallet. Instead I opened the window doors between the rooms, grabbed Okaasan's trousers that were on the sofa and stuffed the money in the trouser pockets.
Later the day care visitor reported that Okaasan appeared to have the money in her pocket and not her wallet...and Dear Son chastised me for not directly putting it in the wallet myself.

But - it WAS easier. She found the money ok. I didn't have to explain why I was giving her money at breakfast time. I didn't have to risk her escaping.

* Deception Two Example * Hair salon. She hasn't been for more than 3 months. Kept brushing off the suggestion to go. Finally, on my way home last night I went into the salon and made an appointment for tomorrow.
Tomorrow morning I will brightly tell her: "Oh, today is hair salon day, isn't it! What time?? Oh - on the calendar it says 2 pm! Yes, hair salon. WE telephoned the other day, didn't we!"

And she will say: "Did we? Today? 2 pm? Hair salon? Oh??? Yes?"

And at 1.30 pm I will make sure she is getting dressed and get her to the salon on time.

And so she will finally go. Because she thinks the appointment was already made. We do the same with bath time every week - prepare the bath for her and then brightly tell her it is ready - as if she/we talked about it just before.

* Deception Three Example * Serving the same food. A bit guilty about this. Sometimes I give her the same food for lunch and dinner...because there is nothing else to cook/it's easier/it's leftover...she doesn't remember WHAT she ate at lunchtime, so I can get  away with it.

But food is a joy in her life. Isn't it for everyone? So, of course I try usually to cook and serve different things, choosing her favorite and trying to arrange it nicely, so it is attractive to eat and gives her pleasure.

But is the same food all over again.

* Deceptions 4, 5, 6.....*

Cleaning her room while she is out.
Removing important looking mail from her table and giving it to her son.
Removing, washing and returning laundry - secretly.
Going "taking a foreign guest for dinner" when actually going to the movie or a couple dinner.
Following her on the subway to check she is walking ok and knows her way.
"Oh I ate dinner near work, so do you mind eating alone?". And scoffing a hamburger upstairs.

...and on...

I am not alone in this. Am I? 
Mainly these are deceptions to make managing her life easier...for her and for us. But still, they are deceptions and inevitably color the relationship. Make me have a different attitude to her. Make me think less of her...because 99% of the time she doesn't notice or think it strange.

Keeping respect for the person you are caring for is hard. You do so much personal stuff for them. So much behind the scenes. She thinks she does more, much more. That she is in control of her life. But isn't.

White lies...slightly grey lies? I hope I don't get into too many really, really black lies...but you could. Someone with dementia is at the mercy of the carer and while I am ok with my level of deceptions I can clearly see how they could level up and become malicious and harmful.

Onwards in deception.

Got to get that tax office letter out of her rom today.
Got to get her to the hair salon tomorrow.

Might sneak off to see a movie at dinner time tonight...


  1. Can't imagine having to do this with a love one. It must be very difficult for you all. Maybe you could think of it as a communication technique or management, rather than deception. (and it really is for you MIL's benefit and happiness) We had a presentation from the Japanese Nurses Association, by a teacher who works with nurses working with demention patients. His big message was to avoid conflict, because although the client doesn't remember the details, they remember the feelings involved, and it can effect an overall relationship. (so maybe think of her as a todder rather than an adult..) But so difficult, I imagine, when it is a family member. Thinking of you, Nancy

    1. Thankyou Nancy. Yes, it IS mainly a way of communicating with her - getting her to do what is probably her a choice in things doesn'T work out so much, she has very little decision-making skill now. I think the overall relationship is good...lots of smiles and laughs....but I don't like that I KNOW I can deceive her so easily. STrange feeling.

  2. Hope all is well with your family. I'm sure your are busy with work and MIL. Take care.