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Knowing When to Roll the Credits


I assume a lot of folks here have seen this:

Hilden was adamant that not only would she not discuss the disease, she wanted to pretend everything was normal and didn’t want friends to know. That put Glass in a predicament. For more than 15 years, he had worked hard to lead a truthful life. And now he was being forced to lie.

But this approach of “therapeutic fibbing” can be a helpful technique for Alzheimer’s patients because it allows them to avoid painful truths. Patients often don’t want or need to discuss the realities of their diagnosis, so it’s often better for caregivers to avoid the topic or redirect the conversation.

The practice can take a toll on caregivers, who have to keep lying to a loved one. For Glass it was excruciating. “Here I am lying again on some level, which I promised I wouldn’t do—and I’m lying in some ways to the person I love most,” he says. “But it was also an agreement that we had, which was that I would honor her desire to enjoy her life.” And so he lied—pretending with her that she didn’t have the degenerative disease and lying to friends about her condition as well.

I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask how thoroughly the story has been fact checked, but in any case it’s altogether harrowing. Life… goes on in ways that are impossible to predict.

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