Seventy Three Percent of People Do What?

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National Honesty Day is April 30, a day intended to encourage people to be more honest and open in their interactions with others. But for family caregivers, honesty may not always be the best policy. AgingCare.com recently surveyed more than 700 people taking care of an elderly parent or family member, and found that 73 percent admit to lying to the person they're caring for.

Key findings from the survey include:

>>73 percent of family caregivers admit to lying to the person they're caring for; 43percent on a regular, weekly basis.

>>Half who admit to lying believe it is justified because it either makes their own life easier, or it's for the elderly family member's 'own good.'

>>Only 28 percent of the people who lie believe it is wrong and feel guilty about it.

 

Family caregivers are most honest about their loved one's medical condition, and least honest about their own feelings:

>>65 percent lie about their own feelings

>>39 percent lie about other family members

>>20 percent lie about their loved one's health or well-being

>>10 percent lie about their loved one's medical reports or test results

An Outlet for Honesty

For those taking care of an elderly family member, striking a balance between honesty and keeping the peace often means bottling up unhealthy angst. The AgingCare.com Caregiver Forum provides an outlet for honesty; over six million caregivers visit this supportive online community each year, where members can share their candid feelings or worries without condemnation, without guilt and without deeply hurting the one they love.

What would family caregivers say if they could be completely honest? The following comments from the Forum provide a glimpse of the feelings that are suppressed each day by those caring for elderly family members.

People tell me how great I am for taking care of my mom and when they tell me this I feel worse because of the way I really feel deep inside. I want my life back.

I am a fixer and I can't fix any of this. It is like watching a bad movie that you can't leave.

I feel torn: I love her and hate her at the same time. I just wish all of this would end.

I'm usually pretty compassionate, but people who compare taking care of someone with dementia to taking care of a child should be whomped upside the head.

Mom said "I don't have a head ache now." I'd laugh inside, and say to myself... maybe not you.... but I felt like I am going crazy, and I have a head ache every day.