Not Logged in.
Book Jacket
The Things We Keep
A poignant story of one of today's nightmares: early-onset Alzheimer's.
Summary and Reviews
Excerpt
Reading Guide
Author Biography

Eve is unsettled when Rosie lies to Anna. Rosie replies, "We can make each moment frightening for her with the truth. Or we can lie...and make each moment happy..." What would you do? What would you want someone to do if you were Anna?

Created: 02/23/16

Replies: 21

Posted Feb. 23, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1358

Expert

Eve is unsettled when Rosie lies to Anna. Rosie replies, "We can make each moment frightening for her with the truth. Or we can lie...and make each moment happy..." What would you do? What would you want someone to do if you were Anna?

Eve is initially unsettled when Rosie lies to Anna and tells her that she will take her home the next day to see her mother (who is no longer alive) and her brother. Rosie tells Eve, "We can make each moment frightening for her with the truth. Or we can lie to her and make each moment happy and joyous." How did you respond to this scene? What would you do if you were in Rosie's position? What do you think you would want someone to do if you were in Anna's position?


Posted Feb. 28, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
candaceb

Join Date: 03/30/14

Posts: 36

RE: Eve is unsettled when Rosie lies to Anna. Rosie replies, "We can make each moment frightening for her with the truth. Or we can lie...and make each moment happy..." What would you do? What would you want someone to do if you were Anna?

I think Rosie was right and kind in her actions. When someone has dementia and is constantly told she is forgetful and reminded of the correct information, she becomes so frustrated and angry or has to relive upsetting events over and over. If I ever develop dementia, I hope people will be kind enough to want me to be content.


Posted Feb. 28, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
susanr

Join Date: 04/14/11

Posts: 114

Expert

RE: Eve is unsettled when Rosie lies to Anna. Rosie replies, "We can make each moment frightening for her with the truth. Or we can lie...and make each moment happy..." What would you do? What would you want someone to do if you were Anna?

I think that it was ok to lie to her to keep her content. So much caused her to get upset, that there was no reason to add to it.


Posted Feb. 29, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
gwenc

Join Date: 07/14/12

Posts: 25

RE: Eve is unsettled when Rosie lies to Anna. Rosie replies, "We can make each moment frightening for her with the truth. Or we can lie...and make each moment happy..." What would you do? What would you want someone to do if you were Anna?

I agree with Rosie's approach -although before experiencing Alzheimer's effects (via a relative and a friend's mother) first hand, I would have sided with Eve. I soon learned most patients live in the moment, and why not make that moment pleasant? Moments shift and loop; a tough experience for all involved.


Posted Feb. 29, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1358

Expert

RE: Eve is unsettled when Rosie lies to Anna. Rosie replies, "We can make each moment frightening for her with the truth. Or we can lie...and make each moment happy..." What would you do? What would you want someone to do if you were Anna?

I think the challenge is knowing the tipping point. Having seen both my father and uncle go through dementia I totally agree that there reaches a point where it is far kinder to agree with their reality when that is causing them happiness. My father and uncle were both in the same care home at the end of their lives and greatly looked forward to their mother (who died 40 years ago) coming to tea (and indeed spoke fondly of her previous visit the day before). To tell them daily that she was dead and wasn't coming would have caused unnecessary confusion and sadness. But in earlier years when they still had a grasp on events it would have been equally unfair, I think, to support every misperception as a matter of course. It is a tough and mentally exhausting balancing act.


Posted Feb. 29, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Windsong

Join Date: 05/07/13

Posts: 70

Expert

RE: Eve is unsettled when Rosie lies to Anna. Rosie replies, "We can make each moment frightening for her with the truth. Or we can lie...and make each moment happy..." What would you do? What would you want someone to do if you were Anna?

Although it was extremely frustrating, when i visited my mother-in-law who suffered with dementia, I finally came to the conclusion that her mind was closing to a happy place in her life,
that of her twenties. When she recited a poem that she memorized for her graduation, I applauded her. When she asked me a question that made no sense to me, I answered it the way I thought she would want me to answer. It was the only way for a pleasant visit. I understand Eve's feelings, but I decided the end of life had to be made as pleasant as the years leading to it.


Posted Feb. 29, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
donnac's Gravatar
donnac

Join Date: 03/26/14

Posts: 126

Expert

RE: Eve is unsettled when Rosie lies to Anna. Rosie replies, "We can make each moment frightening for her with the truth. Or we can lie...and make each moment happy..." What would you do? What would you want someone to do if you were Anna?

I have a friend with a brother who has schizophrenia and she used to have a terrible time trying to talk to him because he is highly delusional. Then a counselor told her to simply live within his reality (as best she could) for the duration of their visit with each other. It helped a lot. I think that is the best advice. Put in those terms it is not so much lying to someone as it is accepting that they are living in an alternate reality to the one we know. It seems ultimately a very humane way of being with anyone with cognitive issues such as Alzheimer's or schizophrenia. And unless their problems pose no threat to themselves or others, where's the harm?


Posted Feb. 29, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
bestmartin's Gravatar
bestmartin

Join Date: 02/20/13

Posts: 71

Expert

RE: Eve is unsettled when Rosie lies to Anna. Rosie replies, "We can make each moment frightening for her with the truth. Or we can lie...and make each moment happy..." What would you do? What would you want someone to do if you were Anna?

I agree with Rosie's decision and choices she was making. I think confronting Anna with a truth she doesn't remember can be cruel, confusing and damaging. Plus, we can never know what goes on in a person's mind with dementia. To me the kindest behavior is just to be with them in the reality they are perceiving. Who knows, maybe they are connected to another reality we can't understand.


Posted Feb. 29, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dorothyh

Join Date: 01/23/15

Posts: 69

Expert

RE: Eve is unsettled when Rosie lies to Anna. Rosie replies, "We can make each moment frightening for her with the truth. Or we can lie...and make each moment happy..." What would you do? What would you want someone to do if you were Anna?

Rosie did the correct thing, Anna knows what she knows and others can not alter her "reality"


Posted Feb. 29, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ScribblingScribe

Join Date: 02/29/16

Posts: 60

Expert

RE: Eve is unsettled when Rosie lies to Anna. Rosie replies, "We can make each moment frightening for her with the truth. Or we can lie...and make each moment happy..." What would you do? What would you want someone to do if you were Anna?

I also agree with Rosie's choice. The big question is whether the truth is going to help the person or hurt them in that moment. In most cases, the truth will only do harm. In those instances, it makes sense to let the patient live content in the moment of their choosing. Memory is a fluid thing. It can take us forward and back in our lives. The truth of now is not always the best option when the patient is caught in the past. It is far better to let them play out the pleasant memories that still exist as long as there is no harm in that lie. As Davinamw said, it is a balancing act that will change with each moment and each person. Choosing the right course is never easy or simple as sticking to one course of action, which is part of the heartbreaking reality of memory-related issues.


Posted Mar. 01, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
judyh

Join Date: 01/26/16

Posts: 20

RE: Eve is unsettled when Rosie lies to Anna. Rosie replies, "We can make each moment frightening for her with the truth. Or we can lie...and make each moment happy..." What would you do? What would you want someone to do if you were Anna?

I agree with davinamw on there being a tipping point. Initially there may be important issues that need to be addressed head-on, e.g., the need for the person with dementia to not drive anymore. At some point though, there is no benefit in striving to get someone with dementia to believe/remember something they can no longer believe/remember, or in getting them to repeatedly experience the news of something that angers or saddens them. It can just feel wrong to lie to your mom or dad; I guess that is just one of the dimensions of the tragedy of dementia.


Posted Mar. 01, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
pennyp

Join Date: 03/22/12

Posts: 278

Expert

RE: Eve is unsettled when Rosie lies to Anna. Rosie replies, "We can make each moment frightening for her with the truth. Or we can lie...and make each moment happy..." What would you do? What would you want someone to do if you were Anna?

I agree with most of the readers. At this point in someone's disease, how much sense does it make to insist on the "truth" or the "reality" of a situation. Unless it involved the immediate safety of th patient or that of other patients, it makes much more sense to keep the person calm and happy


Posted Mar. 02, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dorothygo

Join Date: 03/27/13

Posts: 20

RE: Eve is unsettled when Rosie lies to Anna. Rosie replies, "We can make each moment frightening for her with the truth. Or we can lie...and make each moment happy..." What would you do? What would you want someone to do if you were Anna?

As with many others who posted here, I have experienced dementia with loved ones and discovered that, when reality no longer exists for them, kindness should prevail. I would wish to be happy for as long as possible.


Posted Mar. 03, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Frances

Join Date: 08/01/15

Posts: 32

RE: Eve is unsettled when Rosie lies to Anna. Rosie replies, "We can make each moment frightening for her with the truth. Or we can lie...and make each moment happy..." What would you do? What would you want someone to do if you were Anna?

What about telling the truth and not insisting on immediate reality? I don't like lying. My very old father had 3 days of confusion as he was dying at home. He kept asking us to find his suitcase. My sister told him it was packed and at the front door. I told him he didn't need a suitcase because everything he needed was already there. I was uncomfortable about the lie that there was a suitcase sitting by the door. Can you make a moment ok by stating something truthful while not shooting down dreams? Instead of saying your mother is dead, you could say when you see your mother, what will you want to say to her. Easier if you are a believer but still possible for anyone. What if she has a lucid moment (as they do have) and remembers your lie? No need to smack someone in the face with raw facts (your mother is dead) and no need to lie. Just a simple truth such as: I'm not sure when you'll see your mother but there must be a lot you want to tell her.


Posted Mar. 04, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Peggy H

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 188

Expert

RE: Eve is unsettled when Rosie lies to Anna. Rosie replies, "We can make each moment frightening for her with the truth. Or we can lie...and make each moment happy..." What would you do? What would you want someone to do if you were Anna?

I felt that was an ok action in most cases, especially as Anna could get really upset. Have we not told "white lies" to children and was Anna not like a child?


Pegh
Posted Mar. 05, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
scottishrose

Join Date: 07/24/11

Posts: 45

RE: Eve is unsettled when Rosie lies to Anna. Rosie replies, "We can make each moment frightening for her with the truth. Or we can lie...and make each moment happy..." What would you do? What would you want someone to do if you were Anna?

I am ok with what Rosie did. Yes, she told a lie. But it helped to calm Anna down when she was restless at night. Apparently Anna didn't remember it in the morning and it kept her safe. Otherwise, she might have physically hurt herself trying to get out of Rosalind House.


Posted Mar. 06, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
darylb

Join Date: 06/23/13

Posts: 90

Expert

RE: Eve is unsettled when Rosie lies to Anna. Rosie replies, "We can make each moment frightening for her with the truth. Or we can lie...and make each moment happy..." What would you do? What would you want someone to do if you were Anna?

I think Rosie was right to lie. It comforted Anna and by the next morning all was forgotten. I guess I would want to be pacified with lies in that situation.


Posted Mar. 07, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
GinH

Join Date: 06/17/13

Posts: 25

RE: Eve is unsettled when Rosie lies to Anna. Rosie replies, "We can make each moment frightening for her with the truth. Or we can lie...and make each moment happy..." What would you do? What would you want someone to do if you were Anna?

I think Rosie's heart was in the right place and she was coming from place of compassion. It's not like there's a cure for Alzheimer's yet and Anna will suddenly discover she's been lied to. Why not do everything possible to make her as happy and content as possible?


Posted Mar. 09, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Retired Reader, NE

Join Date: 09/16/11

Posts: 165

Expert

RE: Eve is unsettled when Rosie lies to Anna. Rosie replies, "We can make each moment frightening for her with the truth. Or we can lie...and make each moment happy..." What would you do? What would you want someone to do if you were Anna?

I say keep Anna happy and at peace.


Posted Mar. 09, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rhondam

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 3

RE: Eve is unsettled when Rosie lies to Anna. Rosie replies, "We can make each moment frightening for her with the truth. Or we can lie...and make each moment happy..." What would you do? What would you want someone to do if you were Anna?

I definitely would make her happy. At the stage she was in she wouldn't or couldn't understand the truth and it might only confuse her. Alzheimer's is so scary I assume to the person it is happening to I would want a little happiness given to people like Anna


Posted Mar. 12, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
amandap

Join Date: 03/12/16

Posts: 12

RE: Eve is unsettled when Rosie lies to Anna. Rosie replies, "We can make each moment frightening for her with the truth. Or we can lie...and make each moment happy..." What would you do? What would you want someone to do if you were Anna?

I so would have done the same as Rosie. Who wouldn't want to help make someone happy if you could. Actually it isn't that the response gives her happiness but just peace. I can't imagine that fear and frustration that comes with losing the inability to remember how to do things, but why I do those things, why I did them like that, do I even like this at all. Alzheimers doesn't just rob you of memories but the ability to make choices.


Posted Mar. 21, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
susank

Join Date: 06/28/11

Posts: 13

RE: Eve is unsettled when Rosie lies to Anna. Rosie replies, "We can make each moment frightening for her with the truth. Or we can lie...and make each moment happy..." What would you do? What would you want someone to do if you were Anna?

I understand how Eve could be upset about lying to Anna, but Rosie makes a good point. So much of an Alzheimer's sufferer's days are fraught with confusion and despair - why not give them comforting words when you can, since they won't remember them for long anyway - but just maybe - they'll remember the feeling they got when they heard those words of comfort. We may never know.


Reply

Please login to post a response.