Apply Now
RSS Feed Print
How to respond to someone who has an incorrect belief about something
Posted: Tuesday, November 23, 2021 2:34 AM
Joined: 11/23/2021
Posts: 2

Hello; my first post here.

A little background. I live in Europe, and my father, who has dementia, lives in Australia, so our relationship is long distance.

According to other family members he has formed the belief that I am in the process of returning to Australia permanently, which I am not. In previous conversations (even as recently as a few weeks ago) he has asked me directly if I intend to come back, and I have responded by telling him something like "not for the time being". But now it seems he is convinced I have moved to a different country in Europe and am preparing to return to Australia.

I have read a number of online resources, including this site, but I still don't know how to respond. I don't want to outright say no, which would probably confuse and agitate him, but I also don't want to give him false hope. Of course, I do intend to visit him as soon as I can, but the Covid situation makes it difficult to be certain when I can do this.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

Posted: Tuesday, November 23, 2021 6:39 AM
Joined: 3/6/2017
Posts: 3125


It's OK to be positive but vague.

Your dad won't likely retain the details, only the emotional message behind them. And most PWD live very much in the moment, so perhaps you could focus on your plans to come for a visit when you can safely do so and use it as a segue to move the conversation onto something related- what you miss in Australia or what you plan to do when you come. This would make him feel like you want to be there without a timeline.

Posted: Friday, November 26, 2021 1:48 PM
Joined: 11/23/2021
Posts: 2

Thank you for taking the time to reply HB. I will see how that goes. It is difficult to tell from so far away how much he remembers of conversations, and how much they get mixed up. For instance, in my first post I mentioned that he thinks I moved to another country in Europe - the UK. I am sure this comes from our previous conversation where we talked about his Dad coming from the UK to Australia. Anyway, I guess I will have to play it by ear.

Thanks again.


Posted: Monday, November 29, 2021 12:59 PM
Joined: 6/12/2016
Posts: 1930

Hi Lozz, welcome to the forum. I'm sorry you have to be here. Sometimes it's impossible not to agitate our loved ones with dementia. There is no way to tell how he got the idea you are moving back, maybe just wishful thinking on his part.
Jerome Likes Pie
Posted: Monday, November 29, 2021 2:25 PM
Joined: 6/2/2021
Posts: 35

Welcome Lozz,

A lot of people swear by the fiblet, a harmless fib used to calm the PWD.  I believe in using it too, but I think it depends on the stage of the disease of the PWD and their retention and the topic being discussed.  Creating false hope may not only cause harm to your father, but to you as well emotionally.  Some of this stuff will be trial and error because not all PWD are alike.

Can you drag out your "fictitious move" somehow?  Maybe say, it is going to take several years, but I would really like to be with you, and I am seriously looking into it.  Being vague is good as someone suggested, but it may take straddling reality with a positive message and with that of a truthful one.

Best wishes,


× Close Menu