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Absolutely. Who wouldn't feel better to see "friends" every where, instead of the thousands of strangers one encounters in modern city living!
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My mother would do this too. My explanation is that we try to find the familar when we feel lost or want to feel more at ease.

Haven't we all done that too? While visiting a city we 'think' we see someone who looks like "so-and-so" Doesn't it make us feel more at ease? Or we are in the mall and someone who looks like an old friend is really our friend's CHILD! Yep.. after attending one of my uncles funerals a few years back,I walked up to his DAUGHTER and thought it was his wife (my Aunt) the resemblance was remarkable (as it should be) but it wasn't Aunt Ronnie it was her daughter!

My mother would walk up to strangers and talk to them like they were long lost friends. Good news was that MOST people were polite and spoke back. Those that didn't I too would use the excuse that they were in a hurry and couldn't talk!

Familarity does not breed contempt in the case of dementia. It means comfort. After all if you think the people around you are your friends, you will feel more at ease and happier. Makes perfect sense to me!
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My mother who now lives in an assisted living facilty does the same thing. She thinks everyone living there are old friends of hers. One woman she calls by the wrong name and swears that when she first met her 20 yrs ago she told her that was her name. She also goes around telling everyone that she dated one of the caregivers about 5 yrs ago but they are now just friends. He's about 30 yrs old.......
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My mom does something similar but not with people. She is 83 with Alzheimer’s but what she does is she remembers things or events that never happened before and her famous byline is “Oh yeah I remember that” and it has never been said before or is brand new. We’ll see something on the news for the first time and she remembers it or a commercially about a new product but she remembers it. It is very frustrating and we all just look at each other. I have decided that because she is having memory issues she wants to feel she is keeping it altogether at least my theory.
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Additional note on the topic: Although my dad regularly "recognized" faces (in that situation I would say, Yes that looks JUST like them, Dad, but that's NOT them.")... you have to be careful about dismissing ALL input from someone with Alzheimer's. After two years of this behavior, one day my dad REALLY DID KNOW someone at the grocery store!! :) I thought that was so cool and exciting and I was SO PROUD of him that day. Funny enough, the guy he recognized was a former business supplier from back in the day! They had a great conversation, after which I asked the man discreetly out of my father's earshot if he knew that my dad had Alz, to which he said yes. :)
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My mom does this too - it is usually with people on TV. We can be watching a brand new episode of a game show or something and she makes comments about the people like she knows them. The only thing that bothers me is that the comments are generally nasty - and she's never been like that.

Usually it is about the men and it is stuff like "he is so stuck on himself" or "he's really mean" - but she says them in this horrible tone of voice that I've never heard her use. Luckily it hasn't happened in public. :-)
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GOOD MORNING FAMILY!

Haven't we all done this? I also "recognize" people I swear I have met before; then they turn out to be total strangers. Most of the time it's because they remind me of someone dear to me who either fell off the map or passed away. But once in a while I pretend I know a woman without a ring on her finger just to flirt.

Well, enough trash talk. Have to go to work.

-- ED
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I have found that the more I read about dementia and alzheimer's the calmer I get about having to care for my mom. I added the Alzheimer's Association to my facebook page so I could read something everyday about the disease. It helps me to understand the progression and what to expect. Before I began reading and learning everyday, I felt angry and upset about the things she was doing. If you could find a way to join a support group or if you have a facebook page, you can add the Alzheimer's Association to your "likes", then you could read what other people are going through with the caring of their love ones.......we are all going through similar troubles and it helps to share.
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God bless you all for your strength and dignity in facing such a horrific disease in the lives of your loved ones.
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Agree it may be dementia and just confusing new people with the images of a lifetime, my grandmother did this too. As long as it doesn't have repercussions I imagine it is ok.
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This must be common with AD sufferers. My mother knows everybody. Grocery shopping, restaurants, Dr. office and parks. I will quietly let them know that she has AD and most say that's ok and converse with her for a minute, then I say I' have a lot to do andwe have to go. The ones that don't have time, are rude, or just don't want to talk, I explain to my mom that they were very busy and we move on. My mom and dementia sufferers of all types are already confused and to try to tell them that they are wrong only confuses them more. This approach works well for my mom and is less stressful for both of us...I noticed your profile says your dad has general age decline...It might be best to see a neurogist and get a diagnosis. ..There are many ways to slow the progression of Alzheimer's type dementia...unfortunately AD is progressive and all patients decline with time, some slower than others...good luck
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I think it is the dementia causing it. I took my MIL to a doctor she has never been to before, he came in and talked to us and left then came back 10 minutes later with another doctor. She got up and hugged him and said "I don't remember your name but I know I know you.". When we explained he was the doctor she just meet she insisted he was not. He was someone she already knew.
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My father did this ALL the time!! :) I found it best to say to him, before he had approached the person to say hi, "WOW, Dad - that lady DOES look JUST like (insert name)! Good eye, Dad!"

He was a born salesman, very successful, and I would compliment his special ability to recognize faces (even though that ability was now gone). The other important thing is that, even if the person looked NOTHING like the one he really knew, I still paid him the compliment and got excited over how smart he is. That always tickled his fancy! :)
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My mother does the same thing...she sees someone in my church where she knows nobody and sees a family and says that is her neighbor's family...not thinking that the neighbors she is talking about would not have little children anymore since she is thinking of many years ago in another town. Perhaps the person looks like someone he used to know and due to the way dementia affects people, they can't put the passage of time into context. Best to smile and nod.
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