Chad's Blog

Therapeutic Fibs and Dementia: A Compassionate Approach Rooted in Love

Posted by Chad Seiter | Jun 18, 2024 | 0 Comments

Navigating conversations with a loved one who has dementia can be challenging. As cognitive decline progresses, they may become confused about their surroundings, misplace memories, or struggle to understand the present reality. In these moments, adhering strictly to the truth might cause distress or agitation. This is where therapeutic fibs come into play, guided by our commitment to love and kindness.

What Are Therapeutic Fibs?

Therapeutic fibs, sometimes referred to as "white lies," are small untruths told to provide comfort and reduce anxiety in individuals with dementia. This approach prioritizes their emotional well-being over strict adherence to reality, helping to create a more peaceful environment. This practice aligns with the call to love our neighbors and care for our loved ones with compassion.

Why Use Therapeutic Fibs?

  1. Reduce Anxiety: Correcting a person with dementia can lead to confusion and frustration. Therapeutic fibs can help maintain a calm atmosphere, fulfilling the biblical principle of peace.
  2. Maintain Dignity: Constantly correcting or contradicting someone with dementia may feel humiliating for them. Gentle fibs allow them to feel more at ease and respected, showing love and honor.
  3. Avoid Conflict: Disagreements can escalate quickly with dementia patients, leading to unnecessary distress. Therapeutic fibs can help avoid these conflicts, promoting harmony and understanding.

Examples of Therapeutic Fibs

  • If your loved one is anxious about missing an appointment that doesn't exist, you might say, "The appointment has been rescheduled for tomorrow," to ease their worry.
  • If they believe they need to go to work (despite being retired), you could say, "You have the day off today. Enjoy some rest."

Implementing Therapeutic Fibs with Compassion

  1. Know Your Loved One: Understanding their history and routines can help tailor therapeutic fibs that are believable and comforting.
  2. Stay Calm and Positive: Your tone and body language should convey reassurance and care, which helps reinforce the calming effect of the fib.
  3. Focus on Emotions: Address the underlying emotion rather than the factual inaccuracy. If they miss a deceased loved one, validate their feelings: "You must miss them a lot. Tell me more about them."

Ethical Considerations

Using therapeutic fibs raises ethical questions. It's essential to balance honesty with compassion, always aiming to support the person's emotional and psychological well-being. Consult with healthcare professionals if you're uncertain about the best approach.

Final Thoughts

Therapeutic fibs are a compassionate tool to help manage the emotional and psychological needs of loved ones with dementia. By prioritizing their comfort and dignity, you can create a more supportive and peaceful environment. Remember, the goal is to make their journey through dementia as gentle as possible, fostering moments of calm and joy in their daily lives.


  1. Alzheimer's Association. "Communication and Alzheimer's." Alzheimer's Association
  2. Alzheimer's Association. "Dementia Care Practice Recommendations." Alzheimer's Association
  3. Healthline. "Therapeutic Fibbing for Dementia: Pros, Cons, and Ethical Considerations." Healthline
  4. Mayo Clinic. "Alzheimer's: Managing Memory Loss and Confusion." Mayo Clinic

About the Author

Chad Seiter

Attorney at Law


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