Mother's talking to herself in the mirror

TomBradbury

Registered User
Apr 11, 2009
2
0
My mother was formally diagnosed with dementia just over 5 years ago by her local Mental Health hospital. She was 61 when she was diagnosed. She lives alone, but gets support from my sister-in-law and by Social Services who go in first thing in the morning to give her breakfast and provide an evening meal. During the day, she attends a local day centre run by the Alzheimers Society so she is fairly active. Over the 4 years mums ability to string a comprehendable sentance together has been lost, and although she continues to talk as if she knows what she is talking about, but it can often sound like gibberish. I live over 200 miles away from my mum. To make sure she is OK and so I can check she is OK, I've rigged up a camera in her living room of her flat. Most times when she is around she can be found sitting on the sofa in front of the TV. However, more recently, in the last 3/4 months or so, I've noticed my mum standing in front of a big mirror on the wall and talking to herself. These aren't one off comments or sentances, but seemingly a whole conversation as if the person she is talking to (ie, herself) is talking back to her. I've also seen her beckon to her reflection as if to say or ask, 'come with me' or 'come on'. When she does this, she often either walks out of the living room to her bedroom or she heads in to the kitchen. When she realises that the person in the mirror hasn't followed her she comes back and restarts the conversation. Unfortunately, because the mic on the camera isn't that good I don't really pick up what she is saying, but I know she is talking to herself because her lips of moving and I know by her actions that she is having conversations with herself.

Since I spotted my mother doing this talking to herself, I've been looking up everywhere details of it and I can't seem to find any connection with dementia and talking to yourself. Most places, all I find is references to depression and schizophrenia [SIC]. Now, I know that depression can often create issues of poor memory that can mirror dementia symptons and I am now wondering if my mother has been mis-diagnosed and they've badged her with the wrong condition. One thing that supports this is that on occasion when I or my partner speak to her she sounds perfectly coherent - she remembers things she's done in the day or events that she's done two or three days earlier (ie, going shopping with my sister-in-law).

When my mother was first diagnosed she was living in another place which she has since moved from. In her old house she experienced episodes of paranoia - thinking that there was a man living in her loft who would come down whilst she was asleep and move or take things and then put them back later on. She also described to me one day how she was being chased around her house or be shouted at by this man from the top of the stairs. She was absolutely terrified when she moved thinking this 'man' would follow her and find her again. Although there were a few incidents of thinking that things were being moved around her new flat when she first moved in, she hasn't made any reference of it for a long time.

I've often thought several times since my mum's initial diagnosis whether it was right or whether she has another mental health condition that is creating similar issues. Another thing that strikes me is now how relatively fit and healthy she continues to be other than having dementia. I have met several other people whose parent or parents have had the condition, and they all say that following diagnosis, their parent(s) went from being a fairly active forgetful person to somebody who lost the ability to speak, then interact or communicate completely and then passed away with 3/5 years of initial diagnosis. 5 years in to my mum's diagnoses and it seems that she still has a long way to go.

I would be grateful for any advice anybody can provide. Since my mum's intial diganosis, she's never been back to the hospital for a reassessment or an update on the progress of her disease, so wondering if I should request this and then talk my concerns over with the doctor or consultant. She did have a brain scan at the time, so I could ask them to do that again and see if there is any change since then.

Thanks for listening and hope I haven't waffled on too much.
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
82,638
0
Kent
Hello Tom

I would certainly make an appointment with the doctor for your mother. She should not just be left to deteriorate without regular reviews of her condition.

Not all with dementia lose all thier language. My husband was diagnosed in 2005 and still talks for England. Some of it makes no sense but he can make his needs known.

AS for talking to her reflection......she might be delusional, she might just be lonely. Many people talk yo themselves when by themselves, even without dementia.

When your mother had hallucinations and feelings of paranoia, was she being trialed with medication? I just wondered if it was the same side effect of Reminyl and Aricept my husband experienced.

I`m sorry TOm. I`m no medic and have no knowledge of your mother or her condition. I can only go from my own experiences. I would make a doctor`s appointment as soon as possible.

Please post an update.
 

Margarita

Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
10,824
0
london
Welcome to Talking point TomBradbury


My mother was formally diagnosed with dementia

Did they tell you what type of Demetria ?


One thing that supports this is that on occasion when I or my partner speak to her she sounds perfectly coherent - she remembers things she's done in the day or events that she's done two or three days earlier (ie, going shopping with my sister-in-law).

when I or my partner speak to her she sounds perfectly coherent - she remembers things she's done in the day or events that she's done two or three days earlier (ie, going shopping with my sister-in-law).

My mother use to be able to do that also for a very long time.

My mother was told she has AZ from a brain scan in 02 then in 07 . AZ day centre pick up that my mother could retain a lot of information for a week, where with someone with AZ disease could not do that . So I had my mother assessed for another memory test .

Where we was told my mother has Vascular Demetria .

Now its all decline more my mother can only retain flickers of memory from yesterday.

Over the 4 years mums ability to string a comprehendable sentance together has been lost, and although she continues to talk as if she knows what she is talking about, but it can often sound like gibberish

My mother like that also .


I read somewhere that talking into a mirror is a symptom of Demetria. because they can not recognize themselves in the mirror. so if on a bad day your mother can not recognize herself in the morrow of course she think someone else is in the morrow , talking back to her .

I always ask my mother when she looking at herself in the morrow .

Who is that person in the morrow ?

She look at me blankly, tell me her mother surname , on a good day she tell me her own first name .
 
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TomBradbury

Registered User
Apr 11, 2009
2
0
Thanks for the message - no, the doctor didn't indicate what type of dementia it was at the time of the diagnosis, although more recently, because of my recent questioning about her condition and doing my own research of the symptoms, which I think started right back in her 50s, I think it might be Pick's Disease, but then, what do I know?

I know I'm probably likes thousands of people who go thru' this - constantly questioning the diagnosis especially when there are times when mum seems so very lucid. Although I don't get up to see her as much as I'd like to, when we do get together we always have a really good laugh in things as simple and mundane as making mum's bed when I pull the sheet out of her hand whilst she is trying to tuck it under. After the 4th or 5th time of doing it, she is in hysterics. I also take her out and about and she enjoys going places - even if it is only going to ASDA! I have to watch her though going thru' the till because after I put the stuff on the belt to be scanned, whilst I'm not looking, she is putting it back in the trolley *before* we pay for it.
 

Margarita

Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
10,824
0
london
I know I'm probably likes thousands of people who go thru' this - constantly questioning the diagnosis especially when there are times when mum seems so very lucid.

I am like that also .

I was so very tempted to get mum another brain scan done on my mother when they told me it was not AZ , but Vascular Demetria. I just did not have the heart to put my mother through another brain scan as I saw how scared mum was of the machine that done th Brain scan in 03 . Every part of her body was shaking badly when she stood up after having the scan.

I think it might be Pick's Disease, but then, what do I know?

Was they not a brain scan done ?

You said in your first post your mother go to the AZ day centre, my mother was there for 2 years before they pick up on it that mum not having symptoms of AZ but vascular Demetria.

Why not talk over your concerns of the symptoms to the manger of the AZ day centre that your mother gos to.

They are normally very experience mangers, working with people with people with AZ for many years to know the differences of AZ to many other type of dementia symptoms .

we always have a really good laugh in things as simple and mundane as making mum's bed when I pull the sheet out of her hand whilst she is trying to tuck it under. After the 4th or 5th time of doing it, she is in hysterics.

Seem life best moment in time is when we can make each other laugh, smile when we are with our family, it just somehow balances out all the sadness .

My mother would put the shopping in her bag, if I never keep an eye on her . Then sit wait for me at the till point chairs . me wondering why is that Security man standing, walking around my mother:D
 
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Roma

Registered User
Jan 15, 2008
122
0
UK
Hi Tom

My mother does exactly the same thing. She is now in a care home as she deteriorated last year and needed 24 hour care.

My mother doesn't recognise herself in the mirror anymore and from what I can gather from her garbled language is that the person she sees is her mother who I suppose is who she now looks like. The only mirror in her room is the one in her toilet and whenever she goes in there she has a complete conversation with herself. I also get the impression she thinks that her mother is trapped in there, and that's why she only sees her in there.

It's very sad but she doesn't seem particularly distressed by it. I don't tell her that her mother died almost 30 years ago as she wouldn't understand anyway.

I find that I can't communicate with her now although I try to pick up on the odd word and say yes and no in hopefully the right places.

She was diagnosed with Alzheimer's 5 years ago at the age of 69, although I detected slight problems when she was 65. It's only the past 2 years where she has become delusional and also hallucinates. I imagine she has other forms of dementia apart from Alzheimers. The reason I think she was okay for a while was because she was on Aricept, but recently that has stopped working and I suppose that's why she has deteriorated.

Everyone is different in how long each stage lasts. Some manage to potter along fine for a while which my mother did, but then they can have a rapid decline, or they have a steady decline. You just have to be prepared as much as you can for each stage. Knowing as much as you can about the illness does help to prepare you.

TP is a great source of information and comfort so keep posting.

Take care

Roma x