Weekly Newsletter

May 17, 2023

Quote of the Week:

“Be determined to handle any challenge in a way that will make you grow.”

-Les Brown

Honesty is Always the Best Policy

Honesty is the best policy.” Is it always? Telling lies, or the more acceptable “little white lies,” serves to circumvent difficult situations in hopes of saving feelings (more often our own) or of escaping difficult situations. Are they the exception to the rule? The consideration of integrity and transparency makes for an often muddled interpretation of just what it means to be forthright and honorable.

When faced with circumstances such as identity confusion, misremembered reminiscences, or failing to understand that past abilities, such as driving the family car, are no longer in their skillset, the “truth” can be confusing and downright upsetting. Logic no longer serves as a shared reality. And, more importantly, it doesn’t work. Truth can be confusing and downright upsetting. Paranoia and agitation often accompany the disconnect. A clash of wills…and wont’s.

Enter the “fiblet”. At the World Alzheimer’s Conference in July 2,000 the term “geriatric fiblet” was introduced as “necessary white lies to redirect loved ones or discourage them from detrimental behavior."

The “fiblet” allows for a new relationship strategy, replacing the communications and understanding that defined past connections. It becomes of the utmost importance to recalibrate the exchanges in order to embrace empathy and kindness over logic. One must ask, will the truth do more harm than good? Will the truth harm or compromise one’s dignity and create agitation and confusion, drawing their attention to their memory impairment. Is logic and “reasoning” taking the place of connection and respect?

An example: a loved one wanting to drive the family car when this is no longer a safe option, might be told (sympathetically) that the car has broken down and is in the shop for repairs.

It might warrant reminders, but serves to take the focus off the caregiver’s dictate and allows a shared empathy to take its place.

Instead of repeatedly pulling loved ones back to an unfamiliar present, think about joining in their reality while enjoying quality time with them. The details of their fictional experience may not be clear to you, but the emotional experience you’re sharing with them is just as important, if not more so. Stepping into their world requires a new skill set. Yet In creating a mutually warm connection that benefits you both, it allows for a potential to build new and treasured memories. 

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Case Management for Older Adults

Presentation Link: (CLICK HERE)

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"Moving Beyond the Trap of Guilt" featuring Karen Kelleher, M.A

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