How to Deal with An Older Parent Who is Lying

Grandfather, granddaughter

Coping with aging parents can be challenging for any number of reasons. If they have reached the point where they require extra help or care, they can become very difficult to take care of.

But if they are displaying unruly behavior that includes lying, then it can be very frustrating to get to the bottom of anything. They may start lying for their own reasons but continue to do so if they are getting away with it.

Find Out Why They are Lying

If you feel your elderly parent is lying to you, before you do anything, try to understand why. They may be upset that they are not involved with decision-making and trying to regain some power.

They may be lying out of fear. If they admit to not feeling well, or not being able to perform a task, they may fear they will be placed somewhere else or require more care.

Of course, they also may not be aware they are lying at all. If they are showing signs of memory loss or dementia, then it may not be in their control. So, it’s important to understand if they are trying to manipulate you or simply unaware.

Look into What They are Telling You

When your elderly parent tells you something that is very serious, like health issues or some type of abuse, you need to investigate it. Even if they have been telling you lies for some time, it’s better to know for sure.

Don’t jump to any conclusions, but just make sure there is no truth to it. You don’t want to get into a situation of ‘the boy who cried wolf’, just because they constantly lie about certain things.

Common lies are that they are in pain, or not in pain when they really are, they already took their medication, the caregiver is stealing from me, and so on. Most of these can be checked quite easily.

Talk To Them About the Lies

Once you have established that they do not have any cognitive concerns, try to talk to them. Sometimes, just letting them know that you know they are lying is enough to get them to stop.

Don’t be confrontational, just address the issue calmly. Don’t call them a liar, but you could ask them if it is true, as it doesn’t seem right to you. They may have a change of heart, or they may just double down.

Try to reason with them and get them to explain how what they are telling you could be possible. If they can’t provide an explanation, give them one to show them that you know they are not being honest.

Accept The Fact They Lie

For your own peace and well-being, you may need to just accept the fact that they are going to keep lying. Ultimately, you can’t make them stop and if they know you know, then that’s where you are at.

Make sure everyone else knows. Involve your family and the caregivers. It might be different if your parent knows that everyone is in on their game. They may give up, or they may try to pit one another against each other.

Stay calm and don’t get mad at them. This will be challenging as the lies and their insistence on them will be very frustrating. You don’t have to challenge them on every lie, just smile.

Set Limitations

If one of the lies is manipulating you to run every day to aid them, let them know this isn’t going to happen anymore. Set a limit on the hours they can call and ignore their calls if they don’t adhere to it.

Have someone available, whether family or a professional caregiver to answer the calls. If every call is an emergency, it can get extremely frustrating. Let them know they can’t call you at work, or between certain hours every day.

Consider a medical alert service. Your loved one will be able to press their pendant whenever they need help. A trained Response Specialists will determine the help they need, and if you or emergency services need to be called.