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dementia patient doesn't understand reflections.

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by mommabearmik, Feb 5, 2015.

  1. mommabearmik

    mommabearmik Registered User

    Jan 10, 2015
    My patient will look at her reflection and ask who it is. We tell her it is her and she freaks out and says "that's not me" and "someone is watching me" is this a common occurrence?
  2. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    Common, maybe not, but not uncommon either. A fair number of people with dementia simply do not recognise themselves in mirrors (quite possibly because because the image in the mirror doesn't look as they remember themselves). Personally, I would simply remove all non-essential mirrors or cover them.
  3. LYN T

    LYN T Registered User

    Aug 30, 2012
    Brixham Devon
    My OH would glimpse himself in the mirror and be really frightened about the 'other man in the house'.I did as Jennifer pa suggested. All mirrors removed I'm afraid. I think however often you tell a Dementia sufferer it is their reflection, they will never believe you. One other point -my OH was so distressed by the 'other man' in the mirror, he tried to break it-luckily it just cracked-but it could have been very dangerous.

    Take care

    Lyn T XX
  4. Amber 3

    Amber 3 Registered User

    Feb 4, 2015
    South Devon
    My husband is convinced the person in the mirror is someone trying to take his keys,
    wallet etc. This leads to shouting and screaming episodes. Very hard to calm him down afterwards, usually try distraction such as a cup of tea !
  5. jaymor

    jaymor Volunteer Moderator

    Jul 14, 2006
    My husband saw himself in a full length mirror when he was in an assessment unit and turned to me and said there was a man over there with a shirt on the same as his.

    He then statewide to wave at the man who of course waved back and he chatted to him but then thought he had gone deaf because he could not hear him. I cried and laughed at the same time. He showed no distress which was a relief.
  6. sunny beach hut

    sunny beach hut Registered User

    Jul 1, 2014
    I went to a very informative talk about dementia and it was explained that as a dementia progresses the person affected won't recognise themselves in the mirror. This is because in their minds, they are usually in their middle age. Therefore the 'old person' in the mirror can't possibly be them. Hope this helps.
    Take care
  7. MeganCat

    MeganCat Registered User

    Jan 29, 2013
    South Wales
    My mum went through a phase where the reflection upset her and (she was in hospital at the time) the mirror was covered.
    By the time she moved to her care home she was not so concerned. The lift has a mirror in the back and when we used to go into the lift on a trip out she'd see the lady in the mirror and say hello - once she told me that the woman in the mirror looked like her sister! She wasn't wrong! :D I cried and laughed too Jaymor
  8. ClaireUK

    ClaireUK Registered User

    Apr 17, 2014
    I have noticed Mum doing this in photographs. We got married in August, and showed her the photographs a few weeks after the wedding. We showed her a photo of herself, and she said who's that? She doesn't recognise herself in photo's.

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