My aged mother insists that there are in effect "two of me." I have a "doppelganger." Any advice? - AgingCare.com

My aged mother insists that there are in effect "two of me." I have a "doppelganger." Any advice?

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She came up with the notion that two identical babies were born at the same time at the hospital; that two kids graduated at the same time at my high school; and so on. She often speaks to me about "my son Douglas" in the third person when talking to me and demands that I tell her where he is. I am now 68 years old (she's 88) and my hair is going gray, and my neck is starting to show signs of age. We live in the same place; we depend on each other. She can get very angry if I deny this notion, or if I insist that she show proof for her assertion--I could show her medical records and such, or even point out that the FBI has my fingerprints (I used to work for the post office). And this comes and goes--she will introduce me as her son Douglas to people we meet in public. I have given serious consideration to arranging conservatorship although I do not have the financial wherewithal for it.

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Dougiemonty1 - I was told the same thing after my mom had a MRI - that her brain had shrunk. What the doctor didn’t say was that this is dementia. This was at a point when I knew so little about dementia- in fact it wasn’t even on my radar. I just thought mom was going through typical old age decline. My whole knowledge base of dementia was practically non-existent.

Not long after that my mom started having other bizarre symptoms and I found my way here looking for answers.

I wish I had known then what I know now.

Start educating yourself on dementia. Capgras Syndrome is frequently present with Lewy Bodies Dementia- you might start there. Lewy Bodies is second to Alzheimer’s in occurance.

However- putting a specific name to your mothers dementia isn’t as important as getting educated on the basics of dementia in general.

I will give you a tip. It’s what I’ve deemed The Golden Rule of Dementia:
There is no reasoning with dementia. Period.

So stop frustrating yourself by trying to get your mother to look at reasonable facts and then come to a reasonable conclusion. As others have said - it ain’t gonna happen. This tip is one that more than any other piece of information - I wish I had earlier in my joy ride through dementia with my mother. I would have purchased a helmet to use prior to banging my head against the wall.

But seriously- knowledge is your best friend right now. Do spend some time reading through this site - hey, your already ahead in the game just by finding this site this early in your own joy ride through dementia.

I wish you the very best. And buckle your seat belt!
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Reply to Rainmom
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Just say you are the other Douglas - or you can say, he's out doing the grocery shopping.

Sometimes it's worse to argue with them. My DH swears he has 3 wives and we're all named Linda. I asked him, then why aren't the other 2 helping?

You'll make yourself crazy over this - not worth it - just show her some "birthmark" to explain you're the other Douglas. It doesn't need to be anything special - a freckle or a mole will do.

The flip-side is you can blame all the bad things on "other Douglas" and sympathize with her as you being the better Douglas who is caring for her.

Good Luck Douglas, I know it gets difficult.
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Reply to RayLinStephens
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Douglas, look up capgras syndrome on the internet. The phenomenon is common enough to have a name! There are many sound articles on medical sites.

What to do with capgras? The first thing is to get a medical evaluation for Mom. That may start with her PCP and may progress to a behavioral neurologist. As far as Mom is concerned this is just a routine check-up required by her insurance. Give the doctor a short write-up of your concerns. She is not likely to tell him she thinks she has duplicate sons.

While you await a medical opinion, I can tell you this for sure: You will NOT succeed in reasoning, persuading, or convincing her that you do not have a twin. Something in Mom's brain is broken, and words, logic, and reasoning is not going to fix it.

Where is my son Douglas?
He is out of town for a week.

I want to talk to my son Douglas right now!
He is on a hiking tour. I just tried to call him, but he must be in a zone with no phone reception. I'll try again later. Is there something I can help you with in the meantime?

Stop asking for proof or showing proof or using reason to try to fix this. Ain't gonna happen.

Conservatorship? What other symptoms of impaired reasoning has she shown? I think I'd wait for a medical assessment. Do you have Power of Attorney for her (both financial and medical)? That would be a good starting place.
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Reply to jeannegibbs
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Dougie,
Your mom probably has some form of dementia. You need to educate yourself on what dementia is, the symptoms and how it will progress.

She will become more and more confused. She needs an evaluation from her doctor now, then an evaluation from a geriatric neurologist.
You will need to be more and more observant of her behavior. The stove is just one example. She may begin wandering during the night and doing other dangerous and strange behaviors.

Now would be a good time to become her Power of Attorney (POA) for health and financial, if you aren't already. Tell her, in case she can't speak for herself, she needs to give you the power to speak for her. You should also get her to put you on her bank accounts as co-owner. You will need to do her banking in the future.

This is a long hard road. You need all the information you can get. Then you need to get things set up to make it easier to care for your mom.
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Reply to SueC1957
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Lots of good suggestions here. We are going through this, too. My father keeps wondering why the person in the picture frame never visits him and he doesn't believe it's me even though he knows we both have the same name, so I have hidden the picture away and replaced it with a picture of my sister. That's easier to explain. They try so hard to understand but the connections just aren't there to make sense of things. Keep it simple and reassuring and take all the necessary precautions to keep her from hurting herself (disable stove, take over money mgmt, don't let her wander or drive, etc.) Try to keep a sense of humor between you. Learn as much as you can.
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Reply to Invisible
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How completely frustrating! Douglas, I think it is the poor dementia brain, trying its best but just not able to make sense of things anymore, like rational suggestions. You sound like such a kind son. She is lucky to have you!
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Reply to SnoopyLove
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Would it help you to know, my DH of 33 years thinks he has 3 wives and we're all named Linda?

If I ever get my hands on the other 2 wives named Linda, I will throttle them soundly - the lazy bums don't lift a finger to help out, hahahahahahah.

The rest of the time I am "somebody" as in, "can somebody help me?" We live alone here and have always lived alone for the full 30 years we owned this home.

I know it's difficult for you - try not to take it personally. I refused to go on Zoloft or Prozac - but recently I discovered an herb called Ashwagandha and it is really helping me to stay calm and to get a restful night's sleep, even though DH gets me up every 2 hours to help him void.

I'm praying for your sanity - I pray for mine all the time.

Huggers,
Linda
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Reply to RayLinStephens
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Dougiemonty1, my husband was well into dementia when he signed my POA. The lawyer went over it with him then asked him what it meant. "It means that if I can't make decisions, Jeanne can make them for me." Whew! He was having bouts of paranoia at the time and I wasn't sure if he'd trust me. The lawyer said if he was "having a bad day" she'd come back and try again. But it only took one try. To sign a POA all your mother has to do is demonstrate that she understands what she is signing. It doesn't matter that she thinks you are a twin or that she has crying jags.

Have you scheduled follow-up testing?

After you've looked up cabgras, I suggest you visit the Lewy Body Dementia Association website (LBDA.org) as that type of dementia includes cabgras more frequently than most. On the other hand, I don't think that LBD involves shrinkage of the brain.

This is subject matter for the experts.
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Reply to jeannegibbs
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I would take the knobs off the stove ("Oh gosh, where did those go?") at night or whenever you're out and put them in your bedroom (or hide them elsewhere) until you are around. You don't want her burning your mobile home to the ground!!
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Reply to blannie
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Oh Dougie, all of what you describe is typical dementia behavior. Safety and security are your new words of the day. How to keep mom from blowing us up or burning us down, how to keep her from hiding money where it can be thrown out or giving it away to Douglas.

If she is cold, maybe finding a nice little space heater that shuts off when tipped or covered when on. This could keep her in her bed at night all snuggly and warm.

I had sleep issues for years, turned out that a 400mg Magnesium citrate (never oxide, this is hard for our bodies to absorb) nightly and I sleep like a baby, except I don't wet.😁

Money, maybe it's time to take debit cards, CC, checks or anything else that allows her to get a hold of the money away from her, I have to have a monthly meeting about money with my dad and it is really hard to be accused of taking his money, ugh, part of the disease.

Good luck on finding the solutions that work best for you and mom. It gets worse as it progresses so start now getting a team lined up to help you and mom, it is NOT a one man job, no matter how tough we are. It can be lonely, frustrating, heartbreaking and exhausting (to name a few). Locate and start using local resources, as it progresses change gets harder for your LO. (loved one)
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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