My mother thinks my father is someone else. How can I help her? - AgingCare.com

My mother thinks my father is someone else. How can I help her?

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Recently my mother has been having episodes where she thinks my father is someone else but the other people she thinks he is have the same name as him to her. This is the only weird symptom I have seen from her. She remembers everyone else and is also bringing up things from the past. Even stuff from 50 years back. Just wondering if anyone else have experienced this. We can't get her into a neurologist until the end of July. Just want to know how I can help her.

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A elder's long-term memory will be fantastic. Short-term-not so much.
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One thing to remember with Alzheimers' is that memory is lost in reverse order--the earliest stay the longest. So when my cousin's husband called me my mother's name, I just played along and it was OK. With some dementias, they will have temporary periods where they are "with it", but in general, roll with it.
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Music favorites, especially songs that are meaningful to your mother and father as a couple, along with corresponding photos in an album or videos might help. I was hospitalized for five days with a woman who had Alzheimer's and went off every night but I could reach her by recalling the stories her husband had told me about how they met at a square dance and that he had been with a friend, Etc. Sorry as it must be painful for your father and all of you. Wish you the best
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My husband and I were walking down the hall when he pointed to a cute young thing and said "Look. There's you." I was flattered of course. Maybe 50 years ago!!!
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I have that problem with my wife. I can be 4 different people in 20 minutes. When she's getting ready in the morning and I go see how she's getting along; when we are in the car she will tell me, in glad your taking me. Three other guys came to ask if I wad ready yet. I just tell her that in glad she's with me. Even after shopping she will show me what what's his name got for her. Just goats know its you and no one else. :))
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I second the posters above--educate yourself on dementia. The web is full of good information like www.Alz.com.

My 94 1/2 yr. old mom only has one kid-me. She knows the name of her daughter, "Susan" (me), but thinks she stole her medication and moved to South America (?) (We're from San Francisco).
When I come to visit at the memory care facility, she'll say, "Don't I know you? Isn't your name Susan? Aren't you my daughter?" I reply "yes". In 2 minutes she'll say, "Do you know my daughter? She hates me and I don't like her either. She's so mean and nasty to me. But you're so nice and you look lovely today."

She can't separate reality from fiction. This is very confusing but I just play along with it. I like being the 'nice' one (for a change!). I'll take the compliments, it's the first time in my life she's said anything complimentary to me!

They are in their own little world, one that makes no sense to us. Unfortunately, you can't reason with dementia. You could explain it a million times and it will NOT get through or register. There is no correcting this problem and fighting it will only agitate both of you.

I agree with the other posters, a trip to the doctor, to rule out a bladder infection, would be a good place to start. A UTI can bring on a good bit of confusion and is easily cured with antibiotics.
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My Dad had the exact same thing! He started saying there were "three Maries", then it was a Big Marie, a Little Marie, then an Old Marie and a New Marie. He was in and out of that thought process for a while, then it became never-ending. At the same time, he was more focused on the past and also asking where his mother was. Sadly it came to the point where he decided Marie was more or less an intruder, a squatter in his home, and started threatening to have her removed by the police - every day (all day). He also started expressing the desire to leave their home on his own and move somewhere else to get away from her.

We had to have him moved to a memory care unit because it became non-managable. I think it may have gone better if my mom had not gotten so argumentative with him, which I think just confused and angered him more. But I understand there is only so much a person can take. My dad had been on Aricept and Namenda for several years but I think we had reached the point where the symptoms were outpacing the drugs.

Keep a watch over your dad. This thought pattern will take a toll on him. My mother will never be the same. It got ugly in their household for about a year (or more). I was truly concerned for their safety (both of them). A once loving couple, married for over 50 years, devolved to bickering and nastiness like I never imagined. I let it go for months hoping for the best and trying to be there for them but it eventually reached a crisis point for both, and I had to intervene and move my dad to a memory care facility earlier this year. He is doing better there, kinda blossoming. My mom now sits at home alone with regret and guilt for the way their relationship devolved. Luckily I don't think he remembers much of the recent past.
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There is really nothing you can do. My 94 year old mother told me the other day that she was going to move in with mom. She can take her shopping, help her out around the house etc. Then she asked my opinion. I just replied, "oh, I don't know". I never met her mother, she died before I was born. Sometimes I am her sister and sometimes I am her daughter. Five minutes earlier - she showed me a picture of my dad - and said "look there is your father and I".

It's all part of the dementia journey. The best thing to do is go with the flow. I agree with 97 year old mom - don't argue or correct and learn as much as you can about the disease.
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Watch the Teepa Snow videos on utube and you will better understand your mother. Don't correct or argue with her. It's best just to accept what she says and go along. There is a tendency on the family's part to try to correct when she says something wrong. She may not know that she has the name wrong but she'll know she doesn't want to hear her daughter correcting her. Learn as much as you can about her condition and try to help your dad to understand. Also something else you can do now is to get her a UTI test. Sometimes this infection can make symptoms much worse.
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