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Recently I was talking to my mom and I asked her if she knew who I really am. She had a confused look, but after a few seconds she said (like she was asking), "You're my daughter...right?" I smiled and said yes. Then she said, "That's right you are. You're mom's oldest daughter!" She was confident in that, but the thing is I'm the youngest of 2 children and the only daughter, she was referring to her mother. So she thinks I am both her daughter and her sibling.
I'm not offended because even in her confusion I still feel her love for me. She knows she raised me because she told my husband after I left the room one day, "She's my girl! I raised her!" Something he said she was proud of. Still she remembers our childhood together, which of course is a confabulation. As her memories go, her mind works hard to make sense of why she feels the way she feels about me so I'm often included in her fondest of memories even when I wasn't really there. Her mind associates me with the good things.

I know before long she'll forget who I am completely, I just hope and pray she can still feel the love I have for her and she has for me.

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My mother in law does the same thing where she thinks like she is her mother. My husband and his brother were adopted but she insisted she gave birth to them and also a daughter. She couldn't be convinced that there was no daughter. We later realized she was talking about her two brothers and herself. So strange and hard to deal with. She rarely knows who I am and thinks I am kitchen help in an assisted living that my husband owns. We've explained to her over and over that she's living with us in our house and there are no "others" that we care for. When she was hospitalized recently she wondered how we could both be in the hospital with her. Who was taking care of the others? It is what it is and we just go with the flow. The trick is not to take it personal and that's hard to do.
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Thank you all for sharing your stories with me. It means so much to me to know I'm not alone and to get the amazing insights and tips from others.
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I really miss my Mom. She used to be my sounding board - the one wise person who I could go to and would get answers about life and relationships. Now she is an entitled little toddler who no one wants to be around for very long.
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You have a wonderful perspective on the situation. My own mother still feels bad that my grandmother didn't know who she was, and kept asking why "Mary" didn't visit, and she was sitting right there. Now as Mom is losing her memories, or completely creating memories that are not the truth, I am trying to accept that the day will come when she does not know me. At 93, maybe the Lord will be kind and take her before that happens.
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My mom experienced the same things, now I'm dealing with simular things. She knows me but people she isn't around frequently she can't identify.
I expect her to go there if she lives several more years. She is 88, but her mother lived to 94, and didn't know her for a few years before she died. I sympathize with you.
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My late father often called me by his brother's name, and I was forty years younger than his brother, and a different gender.
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Your remember you in different way and love you well. She has some fore get attime. Just pray for her and you doing right things about her. You doing a good job.
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My mother started with the fact that she knew that my face was someone she loved and has progressed to that I am now her mother. She introduces me as her mother! I love that because she knows we are close even if the roles have reversed and names/relationships really don't matter.
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It is amazing how similar these stories are...My Mom thought I was her sister. It got to the point where if I corrected her she got very upset. Interesting that she identified my kids (her real grandchildren) as her niece and nephew. Then she identified my Dad (her husband) as "our" Dad, logical since I was her "sister". Anyway, I finally started calling her Honey or other pet names. We kept a good sense of humor about it and took each day as an adventure. I think it is better for the patient to go with the flow even if it seems crazy.
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When my Mom's dementia started it was obvious that she thought I was my Dad...he died 35 years ago and I don't look like him at all although we have the same name. She said things that were difficult and even hurtful for me to listen to. As time passed and she needed 24/7 care I moved her to a long term care facility her anger abated but there were times I still couldn't figure out who I was in her eyes. If my wife and I visited together she talked to me as though I was her son...if I was alone she often talked as though I was her husband. My Dad was in the Army when they married and many of our conversations had a military tone to them. But I was in the military also, so when she talked about "where are you stationed" or "when do you have to report back?" she really threw me!
In time I learned to be "wherever she was" regardless of who she thought I was. As the years passed it became easier...not easy, just easier... to deal with and I often had the sense she knew she was confused: toward the end, whenever I visited she would thank me for "all I'd done" for her. After two years, she died peacefully and content. I like to think I contributed to that by putting the focus on what she needed.
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I can so relate to that . My mom has for about nine months has introduced me to everyone as her older sister. My mom is in her own space now. So I have to accept that. At first I was so sad about it. Then I realized,that she feels safe there. So when I visit I am supposed to act like her sister which I do. I go on respite every now and again to renew myself. Just love her and you know who you are God will take care of the rest.
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My Father of 92 lives with me, and thinks I am my brother most of the time. He refers to my wife as "That Girl".
It used to bother me, and still does at times, but what is really important is that he feels loved and cared for.
A name is just a label we put on ourselves. Who we are is what we give to others!
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Thank you coolieslady for that. I knew when my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimers that the day would come when she no longer knew me. I knew it would be difficult but I was not perpared for how deeply it affected me and the pain I felt. I am the only girl in a family of four boys. My mom and I have always been very close. Best friends. I started almost everyday with a quick all to mom to start the day. If I had concerns about something we would talk about them. My cheerleader and biggest fan. She loved and still loves unconditionally.
About a month ago i called to speak to her. Hi mom it's Joan. "who" Joan. No response. I calmy and in detail tried to explain who I am. Finally an "oh". I made light of the situation so she would not be uspet, the way she looked at me I know she really she did not know I am her daughter. I came home that day and crumbled. My mom, my best friend was gone, it felt. Nothing would ever be the same. So now, she forgets my name but acts as if she recognizes the love we share and the bond. in the end that is all I need for both of us. I just want her to feel (she cannot remember) how loved she is.
Cruel disease that robs you of your loved ones while they are still living .
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Argenon my heart goes out to you. There were times that my mom was so scared of me, I felt horrible even though it wasn't my fault. When I could see she didn't know me as her daughter, or even family, then I would call her by her name. She was comfortable with that. As jeannegibbs says, treasure every minute, even if it means she only knows you as a nurse or caregiver, or housekeeper..... I want you to know that at the end she not only knew who I was..she was able to say she loved me which was amazing as she really hadn't been coherent for weeks.
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I'm so glad that you started this conversation. My Mom had been a level 4 Dementia a year ago, and just in the last few weeks, i notice she is loosing more, often. One morning i told her how lucky we are to have such a good plumber and she told me "what did you say the name of the company was...' and i told her and she told me that (my name and city) uses him too & likes him. I explained to her 'That's me'...lol
Then i took her to the bathroom a couple days later and i sat her back on the bed so she could get dressed, a few minutes later she said 'I'm ready', and she had taken her pants off again and didn't realize that i had already taken her to the bathroom, she thought she ws supposed to be getting undressed instead of dressed.

I know that i will have a lot to learn to understand, so everything that i read here helps.

I also am aware that everyone is different. Right now, i thank God that the disease is leaving my Mom the nice peaceful person that she always was, rather than an angry person. I know that this can also change. Lets just pray that we both get thru it with God's help.

I take it all one day at a time, and try not to worry about what 'might' happen, only i do like to know how others cope.

Thank You All
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Your mother will probably always know you as someone special and someone very nice, even if she forgets what is special about you. And you will always know who she is. Cherish the relationship.
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Argenon, the same happens with me. My Mom often confuses me with her sister. That has been going on for three years. She will be looking right at me and ask where I am, as well as where my two sisters are. She is looking for her little girls. She will even say who I am, then ask where I am. Those tangles in that brain of her sure get her thought processes all confused. The saddest part is the times when she knows/realizes that she cannot remember anything. The best part is how often she tells me how happy she is that I am here with her.
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