Last week I read a blog discussing the ethical issue of using “fiblets” when dealing with someone who has dementia. The author was adamantly opposed to ever telling a lie. My stomach clenched because I have told some whoppers. I suggest there is a very fine line between right and wrong and every person and situation differs – the rule is gray — not black and white.
The first years I struggled with the issue of truth. Telling it only got me into fights with my Mother. She didn’t believe she had a stroke, asked me to stop by to pay bills or even that their licenses were revoked. We eventually had to hide their cars. The full story is covered in Operation Safety Net.
Other issues erupted and we would try to explain the situation — I finally concluded Explaining Just Makes You Feel Better — it didn’t help the situation and usually created more problems and arguments. In most cases, my parents NEVER remembered the event that had created a problem and thought we were liars for repeating the story to them.
The first doctor that diagnosed my parents told me: Sometimes You Have to Be Sneaky. It took me a while to recognize that he was right and I needed to overcome my “honest Abe” issues and either keep quiet or in the most pivotal moments tell a whopper of a story. When the retirement community was going to terminate my parents Independent Living contract, we created a situation to ensure my parents ended up in the Assisted Living section of the Continuing Care Retirement Community they selected.
I have never lied to parents to make things easier for me. I have avoided topics, reworded responses in order to keep life as pleasant as I could for them. I have never once taken my role lightly or felt that my actions disrespected my parents. My overriding principle is to treat them as I would want to be treated. I hope you all find peace in the tough choices you have to make on this difficult journey. Wished.
I‘d love to hear from you. Please share your thoughts on the topic. Have you ever had to tell a “fiblet” but did so because it was in the best interest of a parent or loved one?