Follow
Share

My mother has Alzheimer's. She has severe memory loss. When she took the test that the Neurologist does for memory she recieved a zero. She is also on memantine, which is one of three drugs offered, mainly for severe patients. She hasn't been through the normal stages. She started off getting a little confused and my father thought it was just menopause. She never gets angry. Then one day her speach wasn't as great. She couldn't hold a conversation as well and mostly listen (but she is and always will be an introvert. My father was the one who always leads conversations and she listened to everyone.) She would leave in the car and get lost. Then she would walk once we took the car away. Finally the fleeing stopped and she didn't open a door by herself anymore. Then she forgot how to bring herself to the bathroom. This was over about 10 years.


She is still very fit and loves to go for walks. She prefers to speak with the mirror then any other activity. If she knows she's alone she speaks at a normal conversation level but if someone is in the room her voice gets softer and lowers sometimes to a whisper. She comforts the "person in the mirror" and asks "her" to follow her when she goes into other rooms. She now refers to herself as "we" not to exclude her "mirror friend." In most cases that I've read about the patient is bothered or angered by the mirror but my mother loves the mirror. I'm just trying to understand this situation better. I even bought her more mirrors. I'm wondering if she has made friends with this person because everyone was gone? I had move to SC and my dad still works to this day. I moved back to take care of her full time. Maybe she felt lonely and created a friend? Is this possible for someone with such severe memory loss? She baffles me some days. I was just wondering if anyone has experienced the same thing?

I think it’s beautiful that she has a friend in the mirror that she can enjoy and spend time with. She’s confused, but not alone. Sounds like a sweet blessing to me.
Helpful Answer (16)
Reply to ConnieMH71
Report

mmendall, you asked how long Mom had Alz before she started talking to things she couldn't see.

Looking back I think Mom started Alz 15 years ago. I see things she would of never of done before that, the disease is gradual. All I can say is she started talking to things about 4 years ago with me. Her story is a long one. With Mom it took something to happen to get her to finally live with someone...the police were called. I used to joke with Mom that none of her 3 kids were ever in the backseat of a police car but she had that experience, haha! I tried to make it sound glamorous.

You see, the person in the mirror is, truly, another person as Alz people don't realize that is them. . .they aren't that old. What I did was print out an old photo of her, put it in a frame with no glass and she used to talk to that and sometimes she thought it was a mirror and she was looking at herself.  I also have 38-8x10 photos of her, at various stages of her life, on the wall that she looks at often. She still know those are her.


Mom is now in the final stage of Alz, 82 pounds and not eating much. She has hospice, she has been on hospice for a year and a half now, everyone, even the nurses are amazed she is still with us.

Mom traveled a lot, so, all evening I ask her is she is enjoying her flight and the movie. Most times she smiles and says yes but if she is getting tired she will say no. And, I say "Thank you for flying United." I tell her to keep her seat in the upright position, etc. I found a person needs to be creative and put things that maybe she can relate to in her face. She can't remember her kids but she remembers flying.

May I suggest you get books about Alzheimer's, there are some good videos on youtube with Alzheimer's info. There is one lady Teepa Snow (I think that's her name) who can show you a lot about how to handle the different stages. Just keep in mind that she has never actually taken care of Alzheimer's people she has just studied them. 

That's probably more than you wanted to read. Thank you for flying United and enjoy the movie.
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to momdoesntknowme
Report

My wife talked to the girl in the mirror for a long time. My wife is the most delightful person you’d ever meet. She was/is beautiful. She was extremely popular. Very! As an RN she was compassion personified. And the girl in the mirror?  The same.  I know because I was introduced to her. My wife would talk to her often. Sometime they’d laugh, sometimes she’d be venting - just getting things off her chest. Well my wife could not talk well anymore and everything came out a guttural croaking not understandable. Couldn’t really talk to anybody, even me. Ah so. But the “girl” understood. And so I decided the girl in the mirror was a perfect social outlet for my SW.  

She was very concerned about the girl when we left the house and her having enough to eat or a place to sleep. I had to work around that. I set an extra place at the table. I put a mirror on the table at meal times. SW made a place for her to sleep. 

I read where one woman pulled down the visor mirror in her car so her mother could talk to her friend while they drove. One man’s father got extremely upset because the man in the mirror mimicked his gestures so the son had to turn the mirror around - the old man just got too upset. 

I believe the relationship to the person in the mirror reflects the basic personality of the demented observer. It can be productive (my SW) or not (the old man). If it is a productive relationship leave it be and go along with it. If not make the mirror disappear. It can be a perfect but harmless social outlet for the demented person trapped within their demented mind.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to qmnpxl
Report
Mmendall May 5, 2019
If you don't mind me asking, do you know what form of Dementia your wife has?
(1)
Report
See 4 more replies
As long as it's a positive thing for her, making her laugh and interact I would simply marvel at the way her mind is taking care of her even though the disease is taking it away. Watch and learn the wonders of the human spirit and enjoy watching her be happy and at peace. What a sweet wonderful thing her friend in the mirror is.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to Lymie61
Report
jjmummert May 5, 2019
Oh, I agree. I was fascinated reading of this situation.
(4)
Report
I remember being a Geriatric nurse long, long ago. We had staff regularly "orient" a patient to person, day, time, etc. : "What is the name of the President of the United States?"

As far as I was concerned, we should have given this unit, full of sad, lonely people, isolated by "caretakers" and locked unit doors, Christmas every day. Take your choice of holiday. Birthdays can be celebrated any day in the year, over and over. When the patient is that "disoriented" then why not let them live in a happy reality?

A dear, ancient little lady lay surrounded by a crowded room in what used to be called a hospital "ward". It was especially set aside for people that didn't have enough money to afford privacy - and so much more. The "women's lavatory" was a long room like you'd see at a trailer camp. No doors on the stalls. If you got up to go use it you'd have to step over wires from medical equipment and IV's. - A nightmare.

But back to this 100 year old angel. She had a sort of four-poster metal bed and saw kittens; millions of kittens all over the bed, lounging on the metal bars and plopping down onto her coverlet. My fellow co-workers, each in their turn, spent shift time straining to make her understand that she was seeing things and that there were no kittens. I finally got my time with her and I'll never forget the joy she experienced before her happy, peaceful death. "Look! See that fluffy white one!" the memory of her delighted laughter will always remain with me.

Forget trying to analyze or diagnose this behavior. Go to the Dollar Tree and buy gazillions of mirrors and plaster them everyplace. What price happiness? Substitute your mother's declining state of reality with the joy she's been blessed enough to supplant it with.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to puffbucket
Report
TekkieChikk May 6, 2019
One of the most touching things I've ever read here. God blessed you with abundant kindness that you didn't hesitate to share with that little "100 year old angel."
(3)
Report
Chances are she doesn’t recognize herself anymore. It is easier for Alzheimer / dementia sufferers to communicate with someone or something that doesn’t require a lot of thought. Mom was that way. She was drawn to little children that couldn’t really talk yet because it didn’t have to rely on her memory or thought process. They live in a confusing world of a broken mind so path of least resistance is comfortable to them. 🥰. Whatever brings them joy is always a good thing. 💕
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to Schorzman123
Report
Mmendall May 5, 2019
Thats so true! My mom has a friend that had a stroke and she hasn't been able to talk correctly since, but the two off them go off talking together ( their own special conversation). Her friend still speaks it's just slurred and gargled. My mom is such a saint. She even had me give her friend one of her fidget toys and my mom showed her how to use it. I think it's good for the two of them!!
(2)
Report
My mom has vascular dementia. I've never seen her actively have a conversation with someone, but she does have imaginary people that visit. She will suddenly say, "Where did everyone go?" or "Where is that little girl that was just here?" Sometimes she sees dogs. We have three little dogs and she will say there is a fourth one sitting on the rug. I found out that some of her imaginary people weren't being too nice to her, so I told her that they were not allowed to come to my house anymore. Apparently she told them because they haven't been back that I've heard.
From what I've read this seems to be pretty common in dementia patients. Some do have conversations with these people. I've learned to just play along. If she asks me where everyone went I tell her they have their own homes and responsibilities and so they must have gone home. Sometimes I tell her they said they will be back later in the week. Sometimes she actually gets miffed at them because they didn't say goodbye to her before they left! Once she told me that one of them said that one of my dogs was hers. I said she'd better back off from my dog or she isn't welcome in my house! Mom said she wasn't going to get in the middle of that. Haha!
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to 12LittlePaws
Report

I would say that she is very blessed to have found a way to self comfort and entertain with this wretched disease.

As odd as it seems it really is nothing to worry about. My granny talked to her baby doll and it was a tremendous comfort to her.

With this disease the only understandable thing is that there is no understanding.

Hugs!
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to Isthisrealyreal
Report

My sister was diagnosed with Alzheimers at age 55. She used to run her own nursery school and at quite an early stage she would look in the dining room mirror and talk to the children and laugh. She would also see people on the ceiling and it was then that I realised I had to go into her world and would tell them to leave in front of her. That was a fairly easy stage. What came afterwards was just awful. They will never come back to your world but if you try to go into theirs it will make them feel more secure. Good Luck.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to NannaJ
Report

When I was 12, my grandmother moved in with us. In the span of about 6 months, she went from being fully lucid to talking to her friend in the bathroom mirror. She was always disappointed when the friend wouldn't come out to play with her. The mirror was a source of social interaction and joy for her. I would encourage you to not be too disturbed by it, if it makes her happy. It disturbed me when I was a girl, but now I look back on it and am happy my grandmother was pleased to see her friend.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to amalm1
Report

See All Answers

Ask a Question

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter