Dementia and Truth-telling

We are supporting a major new inquiry into our understanding of some of the most challenging and distressing symptoms of dementia.

The inquiry will be exploring the issues of truth-telling, lying and finding meaning in the often different realities or perceptions of people living with more severe dementia.

Some common examples of these types of experiences include:

  • not recognizing or trusting a family carer, or believing that they are an imposter.
  • believing that a deceased parent is alive and wanting to visit them.
  • gaining comfort by holding a doll, believing it to be a real baby.
  • we want to consider not only the practical and ethical issues involved in these situations, but also the meaningfulness of these experiences to people living with dementia. Can we rethink dementia to enable responses which are more supportive, therapeutic, and possible even empowering for people living with dementia?

The inquiry involves a panel of experts, including people living with dementia and carers, that is considering evidence from a variety of sources including a literature review (PDF), an online survey, oral hearings, and site visits of services with innovative practice in this area, to explore these issues.