THERAPEUTIC FIBBING – Episode 5 – The Arrival – https://storiesforcaregivers.com/therapeutic-fibbing-the-arrival-5-8/
Dottie’s sister Lynne arrives from Calgary to celebrate Dottie’s birthday. After a long wait an irate airport attendant wheels her out, angrily saying she shouldn’t be traveling alone in her condition (she’s further along in her dementia journey than Dottie). The family lose Dottie and Auntie Lynne on the way to the exit. Luckily, the airport attendant found them trying to depart in a taxi and used ‘therapeutic fibbing’ techniques to persuade them to reunite with the family.
Therapeutic Fibbing is technique often recommended by dementia experts. It is the practice of agreeing or saying things that are not true to avoid causing someone distress and to make them feel safe and comforted.
Series Description –
Therapeutic Fibbing is a heart-warming dramatic comedy web series produced by Nanaimo-based Equal Films Ltd featuring an everyday Canadian family utilizing – with varying levels of success – a form of compassionate lying to navigate communications with a loved one living with dementia.
In 2022 the TELUS Fund funded 4 episodes of this web series. It has had close to 300,000 views since its debut in the Fall of 2022.
Therapeutic Fibbing saw some of the strongest engagement ever measured among the Stories for Caregivers series. The combination of strong engagement and episodes being under 3-minutes helped it reach over 8,000 organic views on Facebook.
TELUS Fund was so impressed with Therapeutic Fibbing they have approved four more episodes to be created in 2023. These new episodes are larger in scope, showing how the technique works out in the world, in public and in more complicated situations.
Both the Dementia Society of Ottawa and the Dementia Network of Calgary reached out to thank the producers for creating Therapeutic Fibbing and asked if they could use the series in some of the training and support they provide.
Background – Dementia
By 2030, one-million Canadians will be living with dementia; and an even larger number of us will end up being caregivers.
Stepping into someone’s reality isn’t the same as lying
Dealing with someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia – honesty isn’t always the best policy. That’s because their brain may experience a different version of reality. Dementia damages the brain and causes progressive decline in the ability to understand and process information. That’s why forcing someone to abandon their version of reality and join our “real world” can cause confusion, pain, anxiety, fear, and anger.
So, dementia care experts often recommend a technique called therapeutic fibbing. It helps you step into their current reality and spare them unnecessary upset and distress. This technique takes some getting used to, because going along with your older adult’s new reality can feel like you’re lying to them. But using white lies to validate their feelings and reassure them is certainly not the same as lying for a malicious reason. Always telling the truth could be cruel, so therapeutic fibbing helps you join their reality, and this comedy web series shares a few real-life examples of how to use therapeutic fibs to provide comfort and reassurance.