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My aunt has a form of dementia, not formally diagnosed. She goes between her boyfriend's home and her sisters. When at her boyfriend's house, she thinks there are two Daves. She insists there are two and you can not tell her otherwise. When she is with her sister, there are times she recognizes her sister and other times she thinks she is her aide. She will sit in the same room and try and telephone her. She gets very frustrated and upset when she can't reach her by phone. Any suggestions for my aunt on how to help her sister recognize her? Or, is this hopeless?

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We had a large folding picture holder with my husband's parents in the middle and on one side pictures of him with his brother and another with his sister. On the other side was a picture of our family and another with our children and grandchildren. Well he only knows the pictures of his family and has no clue who the other family is. At first it was painful to realize his memory of "us" was gone. We realized that trying to tell him became frustrating to him. My sons and daughter visit, he believes they must be just nice folks coming to see him. I find it less painful now to visit.
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First and foremost, get her to a geriatric psychiatric post haste. Secondly you could make a "white board"-very large piece of white poster board that can be purchased at CVS for one.
#1 On it you write with a black sharpie in large print "DAVE" with his photo beside it.
#2 Second line could say 'DAVE" with no photo beside it.
#3 Third line is Sister's name and photo beside it.
#4 It's doubtful that she could recognize or adapt to this, but worth a shot.
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When my husband was in assisted living the staff kept saying "your wife just came in" it would get him so confused as he did not think he was ever married etc. I never said I was married and just used my first name. Said I had met his family so when he talked about them I could listen and understand the "year" he was living in. He is in a better facility now, much calmer and seems content. I have read many books on the subject and it has helped me with a better understanding and peace of mind. It is not easy but we have to accept the reality while we can.
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Are there any particular smells or songs that your mom associates with her sister? If your aunt always wore a particular perfume for instance. Or a song they sang as children. Smelling a recognised scent or hearing a particular song may help her to recognise her sister.
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My mom often doesn't recognize me, and there's nothing I can do to change that. I just go with the flow, even if she thinks I'm my cousin, so as to not scare, anger, or frustrate her. She still knows me most of the time, and I dread the day when she will not recognize me ever again. She will still have moments when she knows there's something wrong with her memory, and trying to get her out of whatever delusion she's in will hurt her emotionally. I've tried, in the past, to drum into her head that I'm her daughter, and all it did was get her agitated and she started hitting herself on the head repeatedly. You kind of have to imagine how you would feel if your world didn't make sense to you anymore. She's trying to make sense of it in her own way. You may have to tell her sister that this is her way of thinking presently, and not to be upset by her responses. Bringing the aide in at the same time as her sister will just add to your aunt's confusion. Its very hard when you first hear that your loved one doesn't recognize you, even if its only some of the time. It hurts. Help her sister understand what your aunt is going through, and if a cell phone works for a while, go for it. We have to adapt to the dementia, and not try to change the demented. Best of luck to you.
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Every case of dementia is different. First of all, I would suggest that you and your mom go to her doctor for a complete work-up. You say her dementia is "undiagnosed", but at this stage of her life and with your concerns, you do need to bring her doctor in. My mother crashed in a big way. I found her in her apartment, sitting in her chair and babbling. After being 9-11-ed to the ER, it was discovered she had a unrinary tract infection. Things went downhill from there. She became combative and borderline suicidal. The hospital's social worker told me she was no longer able to live on her own and suggested placement in a facility. There were signs, I realized after some reflection, that mom was having issues for a while. Of course it wasn't easy on anyone, but I knew she was safe and monitored and being seen weekly by a doctor. I'm not suggesting you place your mom in a facility, but am strongly urging you to have her seen by her doctor. This is a progressive disease. Trying to explain things are not as she sees them is frustrating and doesn't work. No two cases are alike, but there are things you can do for her to make everyone's life easier.
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Try borrowing/ adapting  a technique recommended for ADD individuals: i.e., make a poster, write in bold black magic markers with her sisters picture that ___________(sister) is in the room and that your Mother can look at her and talk to her directly / without using a phone or whatever words she would understand best. Put the poster up when her sister is visiting, in eyesight. Make it a fun thing. Be sure her sister understands what is going on as something you read about and are giving it a try.
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There is no way to convince your Aunt that her sister is sitting in the same room or that there are not 2 Dave's.
To relieve some of the anxiety and prevent your Aunt from getting upset when she tries to call her sister why don't you suggest that her sister get a cell phone and have your Aunt call the cell phone that way she can answer the phone even if she is in the same room. Sounds silly but they can sit and have a chat. At least she is still using a phone. My Husband stopped using the phone early on in his journey with Alzheimer's. I would have loved a talk with him any way possible.

With any dementia different parts of the brain are effected differently and each person will have different "quirks" and different ways that they deal with whatever perception they have in their mind as to what they are seeing, hearing, feeling. You just have to learn each new thing as it comes and how to deal with that before the next thing comes and changes what you have just figured out.
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https://psychcentral.com/lib/dementia-and-capgras-syndrome-handling-behavior-and-emotional-fallout/

So this is an article about Capgras delusion, which is not exactly what you are talking about, but the techniques described are certainly applicable to your difficult situation.

"Entering into the reality" of someone who has a delusion is really difficult, so don't beat yourself up if it takes a lot of practice and patience.
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My FIL had that double thing going on. Only his was houses. He lived in the same house in a little town for about 60 years. All of a sudden he said he had a second home in a neighboring community. He said the houses were furnished exactly the same and looked the exact same outside. When he came to my house he would say he liked it and wasn't it just like the other house I had. My husband took him out for a ride one day so he could show him where the other house was. FIL couldn't remember. My husband didn't push it.
The last time I saw him he was being evacuated due to a hurricane. His granddaughter had been asked to go to FIL house to get clothing and meds for the trip. He came to me and said "I know GD has gone to get our things. That's good. I just want to know is she going to house A or house B". I skipped a beat, not wanting to have a conversation about the two houses. So I said "house A" ( which was true). He said "good".

The only thing I can think of is if the sister is visiting and the aid could come in she might realize she has made a mistake. But I doubt it would change anything the next time even if it did that time... Which is doubtful. Best to redirect or change the subject.
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