Help now please . OH doesnt know who I am.

Discussion in 'I have a partner with dementia' started by 1mindy, Nov 28, 2015.

  1. 1mindy

    1mindy Registered User

    Jul 21, 2015
    #1 1mindy, Nov 28, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 28, 2015
    I have for the last two hours been talking to my OH who doesn't recognise me as his wife.

    He can really talk, about his wife coming home soon, what he has done in his life, his family . He talks fondly of me which is good. I have gone along with it . Until he said I looked familiar.

    I put my arms round him and told him I was his wife . He was having none of it . Didn't like me fibbing and playing games.

    So now I am back to this other person in his house whoever he thinks I am and his wife will be back soon. Still talking 10 to the dozen . Now asking where I live, what my husband does , do I have children . I am just randomly making things up.

    How do I stop it ?
  2. Crag

    Crag Registered User

    Jan 3, 2015
    #2 Crag, Nov 28, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2015
    Sorry to read this. I watched similar yesterday with my dad waiting for my mum to pick him up to go home, yet he was at home and mum was in the same room.
    Sorry I can't be of help as I and many others are searching for the answer to the problem. It's that 'trying to teach someone black is white' again.
    It was very upsetting for mum, so I can imagine what your feeling.

    It will pass, but I can't guarantee it'll be back again tomorrow.
    Mums taken dad out for the day, so I'm dreading to see what situation we're In when they get in

    Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point
  3. jaymor

    jaymor Volunteer Moderator

    Jul 14, 2006
    Try some distraction. Something along the lines of while you are waiting for his wife would he help you prepare tea, wash up, fold some towels etc anything to take his mind off his present thoughts. I would sometimes go out of the room, bang the front door and call to my husband 'hello I'm home'.

    My husband lost me two years before he went into care and though he could not recognise me if I Spoke to him on the phone he recognised my voice so I Used this too. He would tell me to take my time and drive carefully, he would be waiting for me. I then went back into the room and many times he recognised me and said I was quick.

    When asked who was I, he said the nice lady who looked after him while he waited for his wife. 5 years on I live with it well, sad but he trusts me and his comfortable with me so that's fine. It is extremely upsetting when it happens.
  4. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    Hi so sorry to hear you are in this situation. Is it possible to go along with it for a bit as though you are his sitter and drop into the conversation that you are picking up his wife shortly. Go out and come back in 5 minutes wearing a different coat as though you have just been out for the afternoon? Just a thought but going along with it will be less stressful for both of you than trying to explain
  5. 1mindy

    1mindy Registered User

    Jul 21, 2015
    Thankyou. One big concern is if it goes on until bed time . I think I will sleep in another room . How strange will it be for someone whos not his wife getting in to bed with him.
  6. 1mindy

    1mindy Registered User

    Jul 21, 2015

    So I said goodbye and he was disappointed his wife was not home to see me. I went out in the car came back 15 mins later the door was locked. Knocked on the window to be let in . I am now his wife again. Now I am listening to the tale of the strange girl sho has been and ignored him.

    Anyone know if this is likely to happen again ?
  7. CeliaThePoet

    CeliaThePoet Registered User

    Dec 7, 2013
    Buffalo, NY, USA
    I recall one carer saying that if he introduced himself by voice first, calling hello without being seen by his wife, she was more able to recognize him that she could by sight.
  8. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011

    Anything is possible - but yes probably. The brain is such a strange organ! Next time you have a huge advantage because you won't be thrown by it, just go with the flow , pop out and when you come back you will be you again. The magical world of dementia :)

    We have had a number of occasions where I have been Mum, the next door neighbour, the lady down the road and even once the children's teacher. I used to get into the part for a while and then all was well :). Often it happened after a doze when life for all of us gets a bit fuzzy sometimes I suppose - the world of half sleep. I hope you have a good nights sleep tonight
  9. Shedrech

    Shedrech Volunteer Moderator

    Dec 15, 2012
    I use that helpful piece of advice too, CeliathePoet. I say something such as 'Hi dad, it's me, (name) .... ' or 'Back again, dad, (name) ...' each time I enter the room he's in, and before he can see me, just to give him a chance to orientate himself as to who I am and our relationship (and I'm ready to immediately drop all that if he doesn't get it). It felt a bit odd to start with, doing it each time, but it's natural now. I think our voices might change less than our physical appearance, so are more memorable?
    At times I've entered the dining room of his care home, when he's there with others, and smiled in his direction, but he hasn't 'seen' me, so I've gone around behind him and spoken (not to make him jump) then moved so he can see me, and he's realised who I am.
    I guess if someone's slipped into another time and/or place they won't be expecting us to look as we are now, but as we were then, and since we have changed, they don't recognise us; maybe we just look a bit familiar so we're not a scary stranger, so our presence doesn't provoke fear and we're accepted; maybe we look like another family member, so eg a son is mistaken for a brother.
    I look so like my mum, I am half expecting him to think I'm her - hasn't happened yet, but I'm semi-prepared for it as I don't want to react badly and upset him.
    Sorry - waffling :)
  10. stanleypj

    stanleypj Registered User

    Dec 8, 2011
    North West
    Having read so many posts on TP now and cared for the love of my life as well as I can since 2000, I've come to the conclusion that, horrific as the situation you are describing is, there worse scenarios. Lifelong partners and once loving parents sometimes end up physically and verbally abusing their partners and children. I'm not sure whether the abuser knowing your identity is better or worse in that scenario.

    When during our most traumatic spell four years ago my wife decided on Christmas Eve (which was also our wedding anniversary), whilst I was helping her on the loo and trying to calm her down, to get hold of my arm and bite it, it probably made it harder to cope with that she knew who I was. And her reaction, when she had some sudden realisation of what she had done was even harder to bear, if that were possible.

    Shedrech, far from waffling, offers some useful tactics that are worth trying. It does seem to be the case that, for many people, the recognition comes and goes.
  11. Spamar

    Spamar Registered User

    Oct 5, 2013
    I became the carer. His wife had gone out and left me in charge. He was happy with that. I would put him to bed and he would say, will my wife be back? Yes, she'll be back at her bedtime! And he was happy. When I did go to bed, it was me, his wife. But the whole thing happened several times.
  12. 1mindy

    1mindy Registered User

    Jul 21, 2015
    Thankyou everyone for your very helpful advice when I most needed it. It has been surreal. See what tomorrow brings.
  13. pamann

    pamann Registered User

    Oct 28, 2013
    Hello Mindy1 my hubby didn't know who l was, he talked to me about his wife, and how wonderful she was, but he didn't recognise me, he would get very upset because he wondered where l was, l could not convince him that l was his wife.
    Now my hubby is in a CH he knows who l am, how strange is that, always says l am so pleased to see you, it is hard when l go home as he wants to come with me. Alzheimers is such an awful disease, it robs us of our loved ones
  14. theoh

    theoh Registered User

    Nov 11, 2015
    Sending big hugs, it is so distressing when this happens. I felt so hurt and alone the first time and just keep reminding myself that it is this horrible illness and not him.

    Caring for someone you love is just so hard and the inner strength we need to find on some days is beyond comprehension to many.
  15. Jinx

    Jinx Registered User

    Mar 13, 2014
    1mindy, my husband went through phases of saying I wasn't his wife, we weren't married, and often I was a man! All that has stopped and apart from occasionally thinking I am his sister, he usually knows me and introduces me as his wife. I wondered then whether he remembered the wife he married who was 23 with brown hair, not the 60+ year old with white hair standing there telling him she was his wife!! Who knows but the first times it happened it was upsetting and I do feel for you. xxxxx

    Sent from my iPad using Talking Point
  16. optocarol

    optocarol Registered User

    Nov 23, 2011
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Bit of a diversion here, but just occurred to me. Since OH didn't know me till 15 years ago, he wouldn't have any mental picture of when I was younger, so can't see how he could think I'm not his wife, for that reason. However as we know, with dementia, who knows?! He did call me his sister's name when he first got up this morning!
  17. Scarlett123

    Scarlett123 Registered User

    Apr 30, 2013
    It's so upsetting when our loved ones don't recognise us, or act out of character, and the first few times it's a real shock. But I (eventually) found that if I just went along with whoever John thought I was, it worked (ish).

    But it's like a huge punch in the solar plexus when it first happens. :(
  18. usedup

    usedup Registered User

    Aug 5, 2014
    West Berkshire
    Similar problem

    Can't answer "How do I stop it?" Not even sure that you ought to try, because you might create tension and get an unfortunate reaction. My wife does generally recognise me but there are times when she addresses me in a way that suggests I am somebody else. Most often this happens when in the car. She tells me which turnings to take on the road to our home and asks me where I am going to sleep the night and whether I have any children. Who am I? For you (and me) the critical question is whether the situation upsets him/her. It seems to be our fate to get this from him/her and have to take it in our stride. I get ear-bashed from many sources about the need to focus on the feelings of the sufferer. I am not too good on forgetting my own. Tomorrow is our 53rd anniversary.
  19. Goldsmith

    Goldsmith Registered User

    Oct 21, 2015
    Maldon, Essex
    Since being diagnosed with vascular dementia my FIL has no recollection of ever meeting me at all. He remembers my dad, my brother and my brothers wife but every time he sees me its like the first time. Sometimes my husband is his son and at other times he is his brother. Someone recently told me that dementia sufferers cant think with his brain they think with their hearts so they can recognise people who are kind to them. Im happy that everytime FILsees me he smiles, that will do for now.
  20. 1mindy

    1mindy Registered User

    Jul 21, 2015
    It is interesting that there are so many common themes in the way that people think. My OH now directs me in the car and questions if I know where I am going. Sometimes I just go with his directions other times I say I just need to go somewhere else which alters his route. So yes the car is one where maybe I am not me. I've now done the saying goodbye and leaving. To go back in a few minutes shouting hello before I go in so this so far has worked ,so thanks for that. Tonight he told me ( the other me) he had no family and he couldn't understand why I stayed because he hasn't got any money and is not ready for a relationship. !

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