My Mom doesn't recognize herself in the mirror, she fusses at the woman and asks why she's wearing her clothes? Any advice? - AgingCare.com

My Mom doesn't recognize herself in the mirror, she fusses at the woman and asks why she's wearing her clothes? Any advice?

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She is in a facility with a roommate and the mirror can't be covered. no matter how you explain the image she doesn't understand. it's a great terror to her and frustration for the rest of us. any and all advice welcomed.

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Is it the mirror on the medicine cabinet? I'd just hang a small towel over it and attach it with tape at the top. Her roommate can just lift the towel up when she wants to use the mirror, then put the towel back down when she's done. Very sad for all involved...
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Augie, my sister has lived in a private group home on Medicaid since she was 25. We got mom into a private ALF with SS and VA, and she only needs her own money for medical co-pays and personal items. So there really is a lot of help if you know where to find it.
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Why are there governmental provisions for elder care, but not any governmental support for those children not able to pay for private institutions?
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Thanks for all the suggestions. Will certainly consider all.
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I like pstegman's suggestion, but then I feel sorry for the roommate who will be deprived of a mirror. :) Maybe the roommate would be satisfied with a nice makeup mirror that she can keep on her side of the room.

Another possibility is to install a door or sliding panel over the bathroom mirror. If Mom is terrified of the image in the mirror perhaps she would not open it, or if she can't remember that, the panel could have a lock and the roommate have a key to open it.

Sigh. Reasonable accommodations of individual needs are harder when there are two individuals involved.

I certainly hope this can be worked out smoothly and quickly. Let us know the outcome ... we learn from each other!
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§483.15(e)(1) from CMS.gov explains:
“Reasonable accommodations of individual needs and preferences,” means the facility’s efforts to individualize the resident’s physical environment. This includes the physical environment of the resident’s bedroom and bathroom, as well as individualizing as much as feasible the facility’s common living areas. The facility’s physical environment and staff behaviors should be directed toward assisting the resident in maintaining and/or achieving independent functioning, dignity, and well-being to the extent possible in accordance with the resident’s own needs and preferences. (from CMS.gov)
While this federal regulation calls for a mirror in the bathroom, the mirror creates fear in the resident, and the accommodation is to remove it.
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Most state health laws require a mirror in nursing homes, so you would have to request a variance from the state health department. I would consider this a reasonable accommodation under ADA if the roommate's POA signs off in agreement.
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