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My 96 year old mother was recently diagnosed with dementia. She lives with my sister and I visit every week. Mom knows who I am when I visit but after a few hours she starts talking to me as if I am her cousin. When I try to tell her I am her daughter, she doesn't believe me and says that I am trying to confuse her. If I go along with her and let her believe I am her cousin, she talks to me about things that happened when they were young and asks me questions that I can't answer. Then she becomes agitated that I don't remember these events from her past.

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I think you're right in just going along with her when she thinks you're someone else. There's no point in forcing the issue when someone has dementia. We have to crawl into their world. Since your mom begins to think you're her cousin can you use your mom's previous stories about she and her cousin to keep your mom from getting agitated? Let's say on one visit with your mom she talks about, let's say, a dog she and her cousin played with. Maybe on your next visit with your mom you use this memory of hers. Or just go along with her. If she starts asking you questions, thinking you're her cousin, just make stuff up. For example, if your mom's begins talking about a bowling tournament she and her cousin were in can you respond, "That tournament was great fun! I can't remember who won, can you?" In other words, just go along with her. Again, there's no point in agitating someone who has dementia. They don't live in our world anymore and we have to go into theirs to be with them.
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In this case, you are not going to win anyway you try, so stop trying to convince her who you are. May I suggest when she thinks you are her cousin, ask her to tell you what event she is referring to. Let her do most of the talking and you can comment as little as possible. The fact you visit every week is great, and as time progresses she will become more and more non-verbal. So whatever she is talking about or who she thinks you are, just agree. You know who you are and how you are related, and that is what is important. This disease robs people of their own identity and that of others. Give mom a hug, and hug her every time you visit. You know you are there for her even if she doesn't.
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Sorry for your Mom's illness. Before my Mom passed away a year ago, 3/4 of the time she thought I was her Aunt she grew up with, I always went along with her, wherever she was in her reality. If I didn't know anything about whatever it was she was trying to talk to me about, I would just tell her I didn't remember and that I was sorry, and applaud her that her memory was better than mine. I pray that you can find more Joy than pain.
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during one phsyc episode my mother had i dashed to my bedroom and slapped on my bandana. then i was her son bob again. bandanas dont lie..
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That's what I ended up doing when my mom didn't recognize one of us or thought we were someone else. We just went along with it. She asked about my dad one time and I told her he had died and she went ballistic. After that I just told her he was fine and doing well, and she accepted that and seemed happy. They don't really know any better so no need to stir up contention.
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You're lucky she only thinks you're her cousin! My dad thinks I'm his old girlfriend, or my deceased mother, and flirts with me and asks me to jump into bed with him! Arrrrghhhh! He also proposes marriage all the time! He'll be 95 in Dec.
He's also called me my sister's name, and other people...It takes patience, but either calmly agree with them, or gently re-direct the conversation. It's hard sometimes I know. I'm the only caregiver for my dad, and when I'm so exhauseted and worn out, I have to admit I've yelled out once that I was his daughter, and he was my dad, and I couldn't marry him. I thought that would help, but then he says "why not?" HA!
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If in her mind this is 1933 and she is 16 having adventures with her cousin, then obviously you can't be her daughter. But she knows that you are someone important in her life. No wonder she decides you are her cousin. (Is her cousin still alive? I'll bet she would love to hear how fondly your mother remembers her. Or her children would enjoy a note with that message.)

It is great that you have a few hours every visit where Mother seems to be in the present and knows who you are. Cherish those hours and make the most of them. Reminisce about events from your childhood and younger years. Talk about what is going on in your life now. Relate the present to the past. For example, tell her about all the garden produce you canned last week and then talk about the first time you canned with her.

It is heartbreaking that your own mother doesn't know who you are. But you still know who she is, and your compassionate visits are a way of keeping the connection.
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I think the hardest part to handle about this phenomenon is that she doesn't remember YOU, her own daughter. There's something that invalidates us when our own mother doesn't know us. It's like we've died to them. At least that's the emotion it stirs up in me, and the one that I have to guard against in trying to "go along" with her. There isn't any point in arguing--she'll never accede. I just keep my mouth shut, and try not to contradict her. My mom hasn't recognized me (most of the time) for over a year.
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Sorry you are having a hard time with this! Mom and now Dad gets me and my sister confused all the time. Not so bad, but now Mom really just does not know who I am in her few more lucid moments. I will remind her one time when I arrive for a visit, but after that whatever she wants is ok with me. Most times she calls me by my aunts name , her older and favorite sister. As long as it's the "good" sister she thinks I am all is good! :) Go with the flow, as sad as it is, no need to create more confusion.
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My mother frequently talks about when we lived in a particular town, however I have never lived or been in that town. I know that she lived there with her mother and sister and she believes I am one of them, so when she gets into these conversations with me, I just say, "Oh gosh Mom I am so sorry, I don't remember, my memory isn't as good as it use to be!" She accepts it and we move on.
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