Just can't get over the mirror and window reflections

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Martin099, Sep 14, 2013.

  1. Martin099

    Martin099 Registered User

    Nov 13, 2012
    53
    Dorset
    Hello all
    Mum is 69 and was diagosed at the start of this year with vascular dementia, and some element of alzheimers as well.
    In the last 4 months mum has been relatively stable at home. Carers come in for an average of 2.5 hours a day, 6 days a week. I go in 5 days a week as well. Previous to that we had a difficult period of care home respite, followed by a nightmare 9 days of live-in care!
    I will do everything in my power to keep mum in her own home for as long as is feasibly possible....she is independent, insular and feels comfortable in her home. She has gotten to know the two main visiting carers, trusts them and enjoys their company.
    The problem is that she doesn't recognise herself in the mirror or in window reflections etc. To her there is another person constantly in the mirror / windows / microwave door reflection....anything that has a reflection actually! I have tried endlessly to explain and prove that she's looking at her own reflection but I fear her brain is now beyond the capability to truly grasp this. I stand in front of the mirror with her, put my hand on her shoulder so that she can see its obviously her that she is seeing. But it just doesn't work. She can not digest this logic.
    I am so worried that this issue alone will bring about the need for a care home placement sooner rather than later.
    I have removed some mirrors but mum thinks this will 'upset the person' and make things worse.
    Has anyone got any ideas?...I can of course remove all mirrors, but this will not solve the glass issue.
    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I'm not willing to give this up. Every day, week and month of mum living in her own home is a massive bonus for the whole family.
    I took my 1 year old daughter to see mum today and she had a great day - great to see her smile so much!
    Thanks for taking the time to read
    Martin
     
  2. Izzy

    Izzy Volunteer Moderator

    Aug 31, 2003
    59,439
    Female
    Dundee
    Hi Martin and welcome to TP. I'm sorry I have no experience of this. I seem to recall others on TP covering up the mirrors but it sounds as if this isn't going to work for your mum. I'm sure someone with more experience will be along soon. Take care.
     
  3. hiedicat

    hiedicat Registered User

    Mar 14, 2012
    47
    Female
    Doncaster
    My mum is the same with mirrors she just thinks it is a different person and not her we try not to let her dwell on it and distract her or move her away from Windows and mirrors she then seems less confused
     
  4. Sunbell

    Sunbell Registered User

    Jul 29, 2010
    712
    Yorkshire, England
    #4 Sunbell, Sep 14, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2013
    We had this problem with mum. Mirrors, windows, anything reflective and even the t.v. Didn't matter what we tried to do and say to mum she just could not comprehend that it was her in the reflection. She became very distressed with it all.

    We covered any mirrors that could not be removed, only thing we could do with the t.v. was turn it off because mum thought everyone on the set was real. Really frightening for mum and very distressing seeing it.

    Unfortunately it is another phase in this horrendous disease and the only thing I can say to you is that eventually it will pass and you just have to bear with it sadly. Usually when one phase ends another creeps in, dreadful illness it surely is.

    Do hope this phase in the progression of this horrendous illness soon passes and your mum settles down a bit.

    Sunbell:)
     
  5. Varandas

    Varandas Registered User

    Sep 2, 2013
    227
    Hampshire England
    Unfortunately it is another phase in this horrendous disease and the only thing I can say to you is that eventually it will pass and you just have to bear with it sadly. Usually when one phase ends another creeps in, dreadful illness it surely is.

    Sunbell:)[/QUOTE]

    We had the same situation, and each and every time we showed photos (old and recent ones) of herself. It is not easy to show/compare the beautiful person she once was and what she's now. There was the TV and even the noises on the street it was as those people were here in the house.
    Sure it was a phase and now it is another one...
    Wish you well Martin 099 and i hope you'll be able to keep your Mom at home for many more day/week/months.
    All the best
     
  6. BeckyJan

    BeckyJan Registered User

    Nov 28, 2005
    18,972
    Derbyshire
    This is one problem I did not have to face but frankly do not know how I would have managed it.

    There is a factsheet here which explains a lot about Sight, Perceptions and Hallucinations. The practical tips at the bottom just say with mirrors 'remove or replace' so not sure that is helpful or not. My own thoughts are perhaps to cover the main problem mirror with a picture or poster (say a war time one for long term recognition) and see if that helps.

    Let us know how you get along as I am sure this is a problem many folk encounter.
    Best wishes
     
  7. CraigC

    CraigC Registered User

    Mar 21, 2003
    6,630
    London
    Hi Martin

    You may find the following thread/discussion useful.
    We had the same experience with dad and to be honest it was more upsetting for the people around him. He actually found it quite comforting. He even invited the people in the mirror around for dinner. It was very early stages as well.

    http://forum.alzheimers.org.uk/showthread.php?26076-Laughing-in-the-Mirror

    If the halluciations had been upsetting for him, I think we would have looked at it differently.

    I know how upsetting this can be as a carer.
    So hope the above helps
    Craig
     
  8. Ephraim

    Ephraim Registered User

    Feb 4, 2012
    24
    Belfast
    Hi Martin,
    My Dad has had this problem for about two years so I thought I may be able to contribute to your thread.
    I think it's ok for people to chat and talk to mirrors and reflections providing that the people they see are nice. If they see them as intruders or unwelcome watchers then it's a different thing. They never seem to recognise themselves no matter how much you try to point out that it's them they see.
    I had to get my Dad some medication as the person/people he saw were not welcome - they were 'watching him' and 'trying to steal'. This was an anti psychotic drug as he was becoming angry and started to arm himself. I entered the house once and 'became one of them' and got attacked with a knife.
    I'm not trying to alarm you, just to let you know to watch out for any negative signs.
    Now Dad is on the tablets, he will happily stand and chat to his reflection. The person he sees is now friendly and this is so much better than before.
    Hallucinations can be a big part of the disease and they need managed. If it is just chatting to mirrors and reflections then that is ok I think. Dad has been doing it for about two years and has a split picture dementia like your Mum's so hopefully she will be at home for a good while. My Dad is still at home.
    best wishes,
    Ephraim
     
  9. CraigC

    CraigC Registered User

    Mar 21, 2003
    6,630
    London
    Thanks for reminding me Ephraim. I should have said Martin, dad was at home at this stage and it didn't affect his care. As Ephraim said, it was actually a comfort for dad. Dad was on aricept at the time, no other medication. My daughter was a similar age to yours at the time and she really bonded well with dad - right through his illness. She always treated him with respect and loved him to bits. Kids have a lovely way of taking people as they are; they can teach many adults a thing or two.

    take care
    Craig
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.