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My dad thinks I am my mom (his wife of 50+ years, deceased for 8)


I am with him 24/7.


I realize it is not uncommon for dads to see the younger version of their wives in their daughters, but he frequently says things like "...the other you..." or introducing me to others as his wife. It not only is disturbing and uncomfortable to me, but I find I put myself at a distance with him, both physically and emotionally which is totally against my character. I am by nature a touchy feely person, and I find I have to pull back from my own dad. The man I long to hold hands with, rub his aching shoulders, apply lotion to, hug endlessly. He has on more than one occasion attempted intimacy with me which makes me build the wall even higher. I dont like who I am, I like who I was, who he was. My heart is not only breaking, but shattering. He is my dad, always will be, but we live in different realities and it's killing me.


Just wanted to get that off my chest.

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Maligirl! Spot on!
it isn’t just that he confuses me with my mom...he REALLY believes I’m her!
Breaks my heart because I know it’s his broken brain. I try to remember when my girl was little, her dolly was a REAL baby. Fine line between imagination and reality.
At this point, I let a lot of things slide...I don’t feed into the delusion but I don’t try to hammer reality into him as before. I keep ‘professional distance’, and make comments (often) of how “daughters and fathers” don’t do this or that, but I’m beginning to loosen up when it is apparent he is talking to my mom...not “me”. I’m ok with that now.
The killer is the look on his face when he gets a brief realization that I AM his daughter.
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Reply to Longhaul
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My situation is very much the same. I moved in with my Dad about 3 months ago. My Mom passed away 4 years ago. My Dad has mild Alzheimer's. He still gets around ok and can pass for normal much of the time. If he calls me by my Mom's name, I answer him calling him Daddy and he will often correct himself. But at night, after he has gone to bed, he will get up once or twice and tell me that he's waiting on me to come to bed. I'll explain that I'm his daughter and I'm going to sleep in my own bed. "You don't sleep with me anymore?" No, I never have slept with you. I'm your daughter and daughters and daddies don't sleep together. Of course there are variations on the questions and answers, but it's basically the same every night. Fortunately, he usually goes back to bed after that. I just have to remember that it's the disease and not get stressed about it. I would also be happy to hear any advice on this topic.
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Reply to Maligirl
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Wow... this topic scares me a little because there have been a few times that my Dad has called me by my mother's name or referred to me as his wife at his former AL and his new ADC.

I'm hoping I won't have to face him ever taking it further. I'm not sure how I would react to that.

I don't have any input. My heart goes out to you. I. HATE. DEMENTIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Reply to anonymous262233
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That happened with Mom and I she also would get jealous every time this would happen I would remind her that I was her son after a few times she finally stopped
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Reply to Wylee333
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Hi Longhaul. Your reaction is perfectly normal but please remember it is the illness and not Your Dad as Your Da's Brain is sick. This is the severness of the illness sometimes referred to as "the silent thief" which robs the Sufferer of their memory, reality, balance, speech, and towards the end organ failure. Finally Longhaul I took a peep at Your Profile and I do so admire You as You packed up Your Job and came 300 miles from out of State to Care for Dad leaving Family behind. Take a bow Girl because You are a wonderful Person.
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Reply to Johnjoe
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My father lives with my husband and me. He has had dementia for about 2 years. I am very scared that something like that will happen to me. My mom's been gone for 12 years and my husband's days are numbered. Several times my dad has called me by my mom's name or referred to past times as though I was my mom. I am so afraid to think about what will happen when it is just my dad and me in the house. I put a lock on the bedroom door. I really feel for what you must be going through. Is there any way for him to be put in a NH?
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My mil also believes that her son is "available". One minute she's hitting on him, and the next she is asking him or me if he has a girlfriend, (which bothers the crap out of me, and he just laughs) followed by "Not that it is any of my business". She says that a lot when she makes inappropriate comments or asks inappropriate questions.

I'm sorry that you are experiencing this and that I cannot offer any beneficial answer to you. We are doing the best we can, just winging it, it seems to me.
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Reply to Lostinthemix
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I can relate, when I first moved in with dad after mom had died about 8 months later I woke up with him telling me in my ear what he wanted to do to me, thinking of course that I was mom! I was shocked 😳 and horrified! Lest you worry this does seem to pass with an occasional 😳! I would stand next to dad and just say, dad I know I look a lot like mom and thanks for the compliment but I am your daughter. Smile at him and give him a one arm hug, this will soothe his embarrassment for making a mistake and correct the mistake for other people. There should be some indication that he may be heading towards trying to be intimate, I would tell my dad hey I’m your daughter and fathers and daughters don’t do those things together. Also if he approaches me with a kiss I lower my head so he will kiss my forehead and I will say I love you too dad.
I also found that if I talked to a friend and told them about it I was able to let go of the uncomfortableness and laugh at it.
Just wait until you are cleaning his backside and having to shower or bathe him! It does get easier I promise
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Reply to Glendaj2
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A person with dementia mistaking a caretaker of loved one as their spouse is very normal.The lady I care for introduces her son to me every day as her husband.She calls me by her daughter's name even though her daughter is 40 years older than me .I share the same name as my patient but she doesn't know who I am .Not once has she called me buy name. Remember your dad's reality is altered by dementia.The intimacy thing would make any of us cringe but I think if you step away and change the scenery a bit his brain will switch gears and make things more comfortable for you again.We constantly have to do this..My patient goes from almost catatonic to manic in a matter of minutes.I have left the room(only when I know she is safe) and put on my glasses and came back in and she will talk to me like I'm a different person and sometimes complain about me to me.lol .
It's hard. And it will likely get harder along his journey.Just breathe.You got this and your doing a great job.You need to remember though to take care of YOU too. Try to get a friend to be there with him a few hours and take some much needed downtime.If you burn out you are no good to either of you. Hang in there!
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Reply to angelaK
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I took care of my mom for about 7 years. At one point she thought my brother, (her son) was her boyfriend. He lived at her house because otherwise he probably would have been homeless, was more trouble than help, since I had to clean up after both of them. I found it really funny and teased him a fair amount. She would want me to fix her hair etc. I know it's your dad, but try to find the funny in it or you will go crazy. I think my mom thought I was her housekeeper!
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Reply to quiltinrealtor
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My mom thinks I'm her mom. And sometimes she thinks I'm my sister. Sometimes she thinks my brother is her brother or my dad. Ah, well.....
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Reply to Teri4077
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How are the conversations you have with him ?? Is he forgetful? Is he able to walk normal, pick things up ? Does he drive?? Did your mom recently pass away or move away?? Is he sad?? Maybe It’s time you talk with his doctor about the possibility of denentia or Alzheimer’s ??? Or even depression ?? Maybe he needs a simple once a day pill to help the dopamine in his brain to get back to normal?? Until then go with your gut and either avoid him as much as possible or if you can be jk eat with him and let him know how you feel... but to me it sounds like he’s got onset dementia??

But always keep safe!!! Protect yourself... you just never know when someone you love will snap!!

be well...
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Reply to BrokenDaughter8
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As every has told me when this happens, you can’t take it personally. My favorite book is,”Loving Someone Who Has Dementia”, by Pauline Boss.
It is for the caregivers mental health. My mom with Dementia and is 94, thinks I am everyone from mommy to my siblings to her sisters. Sometimes she thinks she is the husband.
Your dad is now dad/other. The disease is the one talking. Humor and gentle correction may work at times or just ignore it and smile. Prayer works wonders as well and having a good support system for yourself. :-)
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Reply to anonymous440906
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That’s because he thinks you’re his wife...it’s common to confuse family members...my mother said I’m her granddaughter instead of her daughter today. She’s 91 w dementia. Sometimes she thinks I’m her mother (my grandma) died 20 yrs ago...hugs to you. You have home care too?
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Reply to CaregiverL
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Before my mother was transferred to a nursing home she lived with us for 6 months. She had/has dementia, and is generally confused.
After she was at my home for awhile, I was the one who administered her personal care due to being one of her only two children (both sons). Mom began to identify me as my deceased father, and my wife as some girlfriend I had living with us. This drove my wife, who is confined to a wheelchair due to MS, up a tree, and put a lot of stress on me.
Mom never said or did anything of a sexual nature with me, but the stress of dealing with her mis-identification and my wife's reaction to it created a very stressful situation. One time it became too much, and I almost lost it with Mom.
Eventually, during that time at my home, Mom adjusted, and since she has been in the nursing home the mis-identification has occurred only a very few times over a two year period.
I always greet her with "Hi Mom, it's Steve, your son", and leave her with "Goodbye Mom, I'll see you again soon."
My wife goes with me to visit her from time to time and I am happy to report Mom always remembers her name and the visits are very pleasant for all.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
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Reply to sat1209
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I read some of the other responses and I must say, if nothing else, it was therapeutic. Like a support group. Thanks to you all. My response isn’t going to help a lot, but one thing I do at the beginning of every conversation is to say “Hi Dad”. It helps to get him anchored in the moment.

It is embarrassing to hear the love life stories as though we are equals, but at least my situation doesn’t involve physical advances. VK
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Reply to VKroud
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There was a period when my father was confused by our relationship--at one point thinking I was my mother, and at others thinking that I was his sister (he doesn't have a sister). I would gently correct him and he would say "Oh, that's right." That period seems to have passed, and he now recognizes me as his daughter and introduces me as such to the care partners and other residents at his AL.
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Reply to Weary418
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I still haven't recovered from when my father climbed into my bed demanding a particular sex act. For over a year I couldn't get within arms reach without him trying to grab me and I still don't trust him. The overt physical advances have stopped but the dirty talk continues. I feel guilty for not spending more time with him because I know his days are numbered but this is not the father I knew. He says horrible racist things and all his delusions are about rape and murder. It's very disturbing to me and comments about how it's the disease and not my father are not really helpful because this is the father I have now. I feel your pain. Longhaul. My mother wonders why I don't visit more often. I have told her about his physical advances but she says "that didn't happen," and I am delusional "just like my father."
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Reply to ThisIsntFun
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bigsun Sep 8, 2018
Your mom is really not be helping you. She's wrong
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This isn't advice, it's just something funny that happened along the same lines. My husband's mother who had Alzheimer's, often thought that he was her (late) husband, and that he was cheating on her, with me! Once, we were visiting her in her Assisted Living facility, and she said to him, "Get that heifer out of here." I was livid; with middle age comes a middle age spread, and she had no right to insult me like that. He said, "No, to her, a heifer isn't a pudgy woman, it's the other woman." I said, "Oh, gee, thanks." Isn't that sad, that I was more insulted about being called pudgy, rather than being accused of being a home-wrecker. That's what society does to us, to me, anyway. I wrote a book about our experiences taking car of my mother who also had Alzheimer's called, "My Mother Has Alzheimer's and My Dog has Tapeworms: A Caregiver's Tale." Dementia is as hard on the family as it is on the person who has it, I think, because we're more aware of their decline than they are. My mom once thought I was her mom. I just tried to take everything in stride, and that's the best advice I can give.
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MARRAM Sep 8, 2018
MyI mil occasionally thinks I am the other woman as well. She has called her son by her husband's name but she is still able to catch herself sometimes. But the logic of relationships eludes her.
She talks of being the last of her "line," despite the fact that she has 2 sons, 6 grandchildren, and one great.
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Me too, but my late dad used to call me as his sister a couple of times and I was shocked. My late mom used to see my dad as her father. She kept asking me if my dad was her father and I straightened her out. It happens, but I thought it was strange how the brain works and gets mess up with the reality during the dementia/Alzheimer’s stage.
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Reply to Madtoe
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similar experiences here. So heartbreaking on one hand, yet on the other it is a testimony as to how much my parents loved each other for over 64 years.
I had to reduce my visits too. But it really helped when my adult daughter would go with. He always knew who she was. Daughter would strongly address me as Mom and him as Grandpa.
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Reply to cat78832
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I too would back off if it was my Dad. I also would understand its the Dementia but it would make me very uncomfortable.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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This might be a reach, but..... Do you look a lot like your mom? I was thinking maybe a new hairstyle or changing the color of your hair might help? I know this is simplistic, but since no one really knows what triggers the delusions a different look might help.....
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Longhaul Sep 6, 2018
Yes, I have thought about that. There is a resemblance from when she was in her 50s as I am now.
I also think I will start addressing him by name, since my mom used to call him “daddy” (after 10 kids... who wouldn’t? Lol).
In the back of my mind though, is the reality he is seeing things that aren’t there. Hearing things that aren’t there, smelling things that aren’t there. He and my mom had a sweet, loving relationship. He is reliving that in his mind, and thankfully (at this point anyway) he is not letcherous or “grabby” with me. He sees me as his wife/my mom, and in a way it is kind of...well...sweet. It by no means is less disturbing to me, but in a way, it verifies how much he loved her. I am very lucky to peek into that area of his mind, but reality is I am NOT my mom and it crushes me to see the look on his face each time I remind him he is not being appropriate with his daughter.
Horrible, horrible disease.
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This must be so upsetting for you. Unfortunately, you HAVE to distance yourself. No lotion, no massages and no hand-holding. No “touchy-feely”. He will misinterpret it. I’m not sure that reminding him you are his daughter will work. He won’t understand. My mom, in her delusions, was a famous New York stage actress and I was her co-star. We once had a half-hour conversation about how she didn’t understand why “they” hadn’t called her for acting roles in a long time. But, you can’t do that.

I wonder if seeing a therapist would help you deal with this. Please consider it. Talking it over with a professional may give you the tools you need.
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When his delusions with me/my mom began (close to 4 months now) Every chance I got, I tried to “shake him back to reality” that’s when he began the “ the other you” routine... like he was “giving me what I wanted to hear” but in his broken brain, I was still my mom. Once I emersed myself in The 36 Hour Day and some Teepa Snow, only then did I realize what I thought was going to be effective (reality orientation) was not. I still attempt to rattle his cage and see if he will join me in this reality, but for the most part I realize it will only add to my frustration and pain.
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Ahmijoy Sep 6, 2018
Reality orientation very seldom works with dementia. Whoever says it does has never been a caregiver for someone with dementia. In the early years of my mom’s disease, I was determined to haul her back into the real world. Didn’t work. She too was still cognizant enough to tell me what I wanted to here, but I caught on after a while.

My mom, a lifelong prude, became obsessed with sex when she had dementia. She called her NH a “brothel” and she couldn’t be convinced otherwise. When she got too out of hand, I’d say “Mom, be a lady. Ladies don’t talk like that!” It actually worked. Maybe tell Dad to be a gentleman?
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I am so sorry you're going through this. I had a similar situation with my Dad. He is a good, decent man and a loving father. Before coming to my home to live, he had caregivers through an agency (very good one at that). Although he still has his mind (for the most part), he would occasionally become attracted to one of the girls and say inappropriate things. At first I was shocked and didn't know how to react, but the owner of the agency assured me that this is quite common and they just changed his caregivers.

I hope you can help him to understand that you are his daughter and that his "advances" make you uncomfortable. There should be resources on the net or through local agencies, to help with this. God bless you - I'm an affectionate person too and my heart goes out to you coping with this. Try to find a way to nip-this-in-the-bud before it gets any worse.
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Reply to dlpandjep
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Longhaul,
I am so very sorry that this is happening. You seem to understand it is the disease talking but that does not make it any easier.

I know dementia victims are without reasoning and understanding, however, I think I would explain who you are when the subject comes up. "Hey Dad, I'm _____." Maybe that might jog him back to reality.

I also agree that you must step back if he makes advances. It IS heartbreaking.

My mother (in late stage 5 Alzheimer's) accused me of wanting to do incestual acts while I would be helping her take a shower. Nothing was further from the truth. It made me nauseated and I ran from her apartment crying.

Darn disease, it turns our loved ones into creatures from another dimension.

May God relieve your stress and change your situation for the better, as you care for your Dad. 🙏🏼
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