Mirrors and Hard Times.....

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by Charlie, Mar 3, 2004.

  1. Charlie

    Charlie Registered User

    Apr 1, 2003
    161
    Hi All,

    I guess that we are just looking for some reassurance or to find out if a recent experience is to be expected.

    My dad, who has until now been in the what I'd call the mid stages of Alzheimers, has suddenly got a lot worse. He seems to have lost his perception of reality. I noticed this a while back when he commented on the more abstact things like colours, sunsets and how other people reacted to things. At the time it suprised me, almost another sense of perception.

    Unfortunately, this has progressed and he has now started to do a lot of sureal things. One particular habit is talking to the mirror, he has indepth coverstations with his brother while looking in the mirror. They do look alike, but his brother is abroad and he has not seen him for a while. It does not stress my dad, but my mother who cares for him finds it very upsetting, mainly as she sees it at a serious progression of the illness.

    He does not get agressive, but has obviously lost his perception of reality.

    Alzheimers, in my limited experience, seems to effect different people in different ways. Luckily, dad does not get agressive. But he just seems to be such a lost soul sometimes and I don't know how to help him or whether this is to be 'expected' as his condition progresses :-(

    Has anyone come across the speaking to people in the mirror situation, and does anyone know how to address this. Removing mirrors doesn't seem to be the immediate answer as he is not distressed. It is the rest of us that find this distressing I guess.

    thanks for listening
    Charlie......
     
  2. Lynn

    Lynn Registered User

    Mar 1, 2004
    8
    Talking to mirrors

    Hi
    My mom has multi infarct dementia and now that you mention it seems to get alot of comfort from looking in the mirror. For some time now when visiting my house she would stand quietly in front of the mirror in the lounge rocking from side to side and sometimes quietly mumbling. She cannot speak real words so I'm not sure who to, or what she is saying but she never seems to be distressed at that time. She is now in an EMI unit and when
     
  3. Lynn

    Lynn Registered User

    Mar 1, 2004
    8
    Talking to mirrors

    sorry I posted that b4 I had finished writing!!!!!!!! As I was saying when I visited my mom this week in the home she would continually go to her bathroom and stand looking in the mirror............this time she did get very upset tho'and that was heart breaking. Who knows what is in her mind, it's so hard on us all

    Regards
    Lynn
     
  4. Charlie

    Charlie Registered User

    Apr 1, 2003
    161
    Thanks Lynn,

    yes it is heartbreaking, it only seems like yesterday when he was giving me advice. Thanks for the response. Even after explaining to my dad that his brother was abroad, he continues with this habit, infact if anything he seems amused by the way he can communicate with his brother.....

    Kind Regards
    Charlie.....
     
  5. Lynn

    Lynn Registered User

    Mar 1, 2004
    8
    mirrors

    Love a best wishes to us all going thru this and thank goodness for this site!!!
    Lynn
     
  6. Charlie

    Charlie Registered User

    Apr 1, 2003
    161
    Hi and thanks for everyone's comments again,

    just to say that the 'talking to the mirror' seems to have increased and is getting a bit disturbing. For now we have not confronted dad on this as it seems to give him a lot of comfort, after all it is pretty harmless. A bit of me thinks he's just getting board so I make more of an effort to talk to dad on the phone. I guess that you sometime get so concerned supporting the prime carer that I for one forgot that dads life has changed and he probably gets board. A few months ago he was out for walks every day and getting to see a lot of nature every day. If only he lived around the corner.

    Does any one know if local Alzheimer's branches offer any day care for people, particularly walkers, just someone to take him out for 1/2 hour every couple of days.....in fact I answered my own question, will contact his local branch to check it out :). Thank for listening

    Charlie....
     
  7. Kerry-Jane

    Kerry-Jane Registered User

    Feb 9, 2004
    25
    Surrey
    Carers Relief

    Hi Charlie

    We are in a similar situation with my mother at the moment, and as such we are looking into all the options. One that I have found is that our local council runs a carers relief scheme. Once assessed they can supply relief carers for as little as 1 hour - and even if you aren't entitled to any benefits discount you pay like a babysitter (about £6 an hour, plus petrol mileage if necessary). They will go for walks, shopping or just sit in the home with your relative. We haven't tried this yet, but it might be worth looking into with your local council.
     
  8. Charlie

    Charlie Registered User

    Apr 1, 2003
    161
    Thanks for posting this Kerry-Jane - this is so helpful!
    My mum has registered for benefits and help with caring for my dad but this was not mentioned - I'll check whether her council runs such a scheme. Thanks again for the info!

    cheers
    Charlie...
     
  9. Lynn

    Lynn Registered User

    Mar 1, 2004
    8
    Mirrors and hard times

    Hi Charlie
    You may also want to contact Age concern and Help the aged, Crossroads, local churches and community centres. All will hopefully have volunteers in your parents area and will do anything from befriending, walks , trips to the shops, light gardenig etc. Give it a go. Do they have a named social worker? If so they can give you a whole booklet full of local organisations that may also help

    Regards Lynn
     
  10. Charlie

    Charlie Registered User

    Apr 1, 2003
    161
    Thanks again Lyn. Yes they do have a named social worker - I'll get mum to give her a call - and now I know what to ask for it going to make it a whole lot easier!

    Kind Regards
    Charlie...
     
  11. Jpr

    Jpr Registered User

    Dec 26, 2003
    28
    berkshire
    who provides what service varies enormously from council to council. Also whether or not carers will go out with people or only care in the home. Some of that is down to insurance I expect. We have Crossroads doing home sits and st Johns ambulance who will take people out. Some of our care agencies are happy to go out others seem reluctant to take responsibility for people if they get out of bed!

    As for mirrors, I remeber my mother being astonished that there was a stranger in the mirror. After all at the time in her mind she was no more than 50 but there was an 80 year old reflection. She eventually shook her head as if to say 'nothing's safe anymore'
     
  12. Charlie

    Charlie Registered User

    Apr 1, 2003
    161
    In case anyone follows this thread in the future. I found some info that may help. My dads delusions and talking to the mirror have become quite obsessive and convoluted now. We are aware that this is part of the illness but it has been difficult to decide whether to allow the delussions to continue. It often seems that he is talking to another part of his identity, in fact it often seems that he is talking to his old self. Very strange but very disturbing for a carer at the same time.

    Anyways, here are a couple of links for anyone hunting around the archives::

    http://www.alzla.org/dementia/hallucination.html

    http://www.tdh.state.tx.us/alzheimers/a_8rs.htm
    The above link may be of general interest (it lists the 8 Rs in Alzheimer's Care

    Regards
    Charlie.....
     
  13. Isabelle

    Isabelle Registered User

    Apr 29, 2005
    3
    South Australia
    mirrors

    Has anyone heard of capgras Syndrome. Ive done some reseach on it, and found that mirrors has a lot to do with syndrome. i had to cover the mirrors so he couldnt see himself and the nursing home has had to cover theirs as well. It upsets him that much. when he was home he thought the reflection was my boyfriend. Very Upsetting. Regards Isabelle :confused:
     
  14. Charlie

    Charlie Registered User

    Apr 1, 2003
    161
    Hi Isabelle,

    I have heard of capgas syndrome when researching dad's obsession with mirrors. You can find loads of information on the web if you use a search engine (e.g. google).

    Check out the following for examples;

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/03266/224822.stm
    http://www.psychnet-uk.com/dsm_iv/capgras_syndrome.htm

    As far as the connection with Alzheimer's goes, I concluded (as a layman) that both Alzheimers's and Capgras Syndrome occur due to the damage/affects in same area of the frontal lobe.

    If you start reading through some articles you start realise how complex and busy this area of the brain is - so I can only guess that there may be some sort of overlap with behaviour. Also noticed that the same area of the frontal lobe affects COD (compulsive obsessive disorders)......but as I say, a very complex subject that I would hate to belittle with my layman's knowledge.

    Cheers
    Charlie
     
  15. daughter

    daughter Registered User

    Mar 16, 2005
    824
    Hi Charlie,

    Thanks for the information re compulsions. I see obsessive compulsive syptoms in my Dad and others in his home. I notice some arrange chairs, fold tablecloths etc. My Dad folds paper towels mostly (and the occassional pillow case) very neatly, then stores them away in his pocket.
     
  16. Canadian Joanne

    Canadian Joanne Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 8, 2005
    15,990
    Toronto, Canada
    Friendly Visitors

    Here in Ontario the Alzheimer Society has what we call "Friendly Visitors". These are volunteers who have been thoroughly vetted and trained and then matched to people who have AD. They will go and visit once a week for 2 or 3 hours. My mother received visits from a lovely woman for over a year. They would go for walks and drives and so on. Jan finally had to stop because her grandchildren needed her but I still stay in touch with her.

    Does the British society have something like this in place? It is good for the carers and it is also good for the AD sufferer. My mother liked Jan very much and seemed to enjoy the visits.

    Good luck
    Joanne
     
  17. Half-pint

    Half-pint Registered User

    May 10, 2005
    5
    Placer County
    Dad and Mirrors

    Charlie, I just joined and read your info on mirrors, and followed the site links to Capgras syndrome. I printed up a lot of info for my Mom who cares for my Dad. I think she will find comfort in knowing that other people deal with similar situations. She covered up the mirrors and some of the windows because it agitated him. First, he used to just visit with the mirrors and the reflections had names, but sometimes now he gets upset that someone else is in the room. He was diagnosed with Dementia of the Alzheimer's type five years ago. Times do change daily, and we all hope for a future cure for others...for now, at least he is still happy and smiling. Take care...

     
  18. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    I missed Charlie's link to the 8 Rs the first time so thanks for drawing my attention to it. Excellent summary!
     

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.