Misplaced identity and "skeletons in the closet."

Follow
Share

I mentioned this issue a while back on another discussion but thought I'd elaborate and see if anyone has any suggestions for me.

Mom is in assisted living now for about a month. She adjusted moderately well with a few bumps. Mom gets my identity mostly incorrect when I visit her although there a few times where she did get my name and relationship correct. Lately, I've become her husband (my dad, who passed on 7 years ago) although I've been her brother and both of her sons at various times.

The visit usually begins well, we chat, visit the birds, walk to the patio and sit. As time passes and I tell her it's time for me to go to work (I work the night shift) she gets angry and tells me I'm leaving to see other women! The pleasant visit usually ends with her being angry at me and me feeling like hell.. Now for the "skeletons"...my mom and dad had some marital issues back in the late 1960's. I can remember the arguments as a kid. I assume that she is returning to this time. I suppose I now resemble my dad. I wish she would recognize me as her son..maybe this won't happen. I visit everyday in the evening (perhaps sundowning) for 2 hours or so. Maybe I should visit earlier in the day or shorten the visit? Anyone had a similar situation and how did you work through it? I appreciate your responses and thank you in advance!

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
Find Care & Housing
17

Comments

Show:
All these comments sound familiar. My MIL thinks that her son (my husband) is married to her and that I am his "girl friend". At various times she calls him by her husband's or brother's name, and denies that he is her son. It is very helpful to know that this is not unusual in dementia patients.
(1)
Report

Solution: Go earlier in the day before 2-3 pm.
(1)
Report

My mom has dementia and knows my name and introduces me as her daughter. But sometimes she says I never knew you were my daughter and I never knew I had you. That really freaked me out. Of course you remember me mom, see the pictures of me and you together I say. What a sad sad disease this is, losing your mind is horrible.
(3)
Report

Dirk has the right attitude. With whatever form the dementia takes, it does no good to constantly try to correct your loved one. They are in a different world and will only get upset and more confused. Don't take it personally when they confuse you with someone else or don't remember you. Just go along and hope for the fog to lift now and then and be recognized as who you are. If they loved you before---they still do. They just don't remember.
(2)
Report

God Bless to all of you. I never had parents and my poor/lucky children will have to put up with me and my husband of 40 yrs. if that day comes. Got to be hard on everyone involved. I think as a caregiver and family member you know how much they loved you hopefullu and you just have to remember the best you can of them. No one asks for this crazy disease. Thats why we all have to eat good things for ourselves if were able to and stay healthy and maybe by God's grace we won't have to be a burden to anyone.
Your all in my prayers.
(2)
Report

Rsanford Once again the good folks here came up with good suggestions-I hope you keep us posted because we all learn from each other. My husband was in and out of NH's many times for rehab after numerous hospitalazions and one of his roomates had sundowners and every day about sundown he became a different person and his wife could not understand what was happening even though I tried to explain it to her-it was very interesting for me to see this change in person.
(2)
Report

Sometimes my mom called me MOM. I just say, "you're MY MOM..then she say's, no you're MY MOM..and we laugh and laugh. But usually, she knows me by name and can spot me walking towards her WAYYYYY down the hall. Of course, I'm the only of of 3 siblings who ever visits her or takes her places.
(2)
Report

My mom almost never knows who I am. I live with her~ I do think most people with dementia do better earlier in the day... Perhaps if you came at the end of your shift, instead of before your shift? That would change the "time" issue for "cheating" as well as maybe miss some of the sundowners. ??? Worth a try. I worked nights, so I know what you are working with. Makes it hard to have normal visiting hours.... Hope this helps. It is hard. I have so many identities!! I am mom (to my mom), sister (She NEVER even had a sister???) I am all of my sisters, friends I have never even heard of, some I have... ?? Hard to know what is going through her mind. I am a stranger a lot of the time... sometimes she has no clue, but doesn't like me, sometimes no clue but loves me... It is such a complex disease.
(4)
Report

Oops! I hit the wrong button. There is a book I'd like to recommend that everyone read that has a loved one going through this situation. It's an easy read, and easily found on Amazon and most retail outlets; it's "The 36 Day" by Nancy Mace. It explains and gives suggestions of how to deal with each stage. It has certainly helped me with my father and others. Best of luck to you and everyone else during these trying times.
(2)
Report

Dementia/Alzheimer's disease is a constant downward spiral. Having seen it many times with various different people in my life and the various different stages; not even one has been easy as our loved ones slip further and further away.
(2)
Report

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
Related
Questions