Mum thinks all her daughters have doubles

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by JJ 65, Jun 15, 2019.

  1. JJ 65

    JJ 65 New member

    Jun 12, 2019
    My mum has 5 daughters and thinks there are 2 of each of us. IShe isnt distressed about it -just convinced and matter of fact we all have a double.She says things like "do you know Jacqueline?"" do you ever see her?"+ "she does the pillows like that too "and "she looks a bit like you" so difficult as i am her! I don't try and correct her but just go with the flow and answer her questions -if i try and distract her i find she just goes back to same questions so try not to do this anymore.Have others had this issue and how do you deal with it?.It does cause me to smile to myself -thats my way of coping.
    Many thanks
  2. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Hello @JJ65. Welcome to Talking Point.

    It sounds as if you are all in your mum`s long term memory but she just doesn`t seem able to recognise you in the present. It could be because she pictures you in her mind as young people but not as mature adults.

    At least your mum still knows who you were and accepts you now as people who care and who she trusts, perhaps because of the similarity of your behaviours.

    It`s good it causes you to smile.

    My husband had phases of this with me but then there were times when he knew me in the now.
  3. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Hello @JJ 65 and welcome to DTP

    What your mum has got is called Capgras syndrome. This duplication of people/places is quite common.
    If she is not upset by it then you are handling it in exactly the right way
  4. JJ 65

    JJ 65 New member

    Jun 12, 2019
    Thankyou-i didnt know it was an actual syndrome -many thanks for all kind replies.X
  5. Jaded'n'faded

    Jaded'n'faded Registered User

    Jan 23, 2019
    High Peak
    Yes - my mum struggles with this and the whole concept of me being her daughter. She says she does have a daughter who lives a long way off but rarely sees her and she is younger than me. I guess as others have said, when she thinks of her daughter it is someone much younger so it doesn't make sense to her when old JnF comes visiting. :eek:

    I tried to explain a few times, with the help of the photo album, but it didn't work. She said, 'I know you're my daughter but I'm not your mother!'
    When looking at a photo of my (late) dad she just laughed and said, 'He's not your father!' which was a little disconcerting - perhaps there were family secrets I didn't know? But then she would descend into complete rubbish telling me that 'things were different back then - they didn't tell you who the father was or when you were having them - you just took what babies you were given.'

    Hmmmm. OK, I give up. :rolleyes:

    But it's hard. She's now invented 2 brothers who live in America but visit frequently... and she likes them far more than me....sigh.
  6. Jaded'n'faded

    Jaded'n'faded Registered User

    Jan 23, 2019
    High Peak
    I should add she does it with places too. She variously refers to her care home as 'this place/the other place/the place I usually stay/the other place I go to.' (She hasn't been out for more than a year.)

    Funnily enough, at the 'other place', which is 'just up the road' is much nicer! She also has a room and they've moved all her clothes to the wardrobe there. And some of 'the girls' (care staff) from here are getting part time jobs there....

    Hmmmmm. I believe with places it's called reduplicative paramnesia.
  7. hillyjay

    hillyjay Registered User

    Jun 14, 2019
    My FIL had dementia and was convinced that his wife, L, had been replaced with another one, also named L. This L was very kind but not as nice as the first one. We just used to go along with it and remark how much this L did for him and wasn’t it kind of her!
  8. AliceA

    AliceA Registered User

    May 27, 2016
    It is all a bit bitter sweet. In their way perhaps they are right, the first L is not like the second L.
    As a wife I know that I am not the same wife as when I had a dependable husband. We have both changed, this is the nature of this illness.
    Last night I fell asleep to be woken with a light in my face. Later he said you seemed cross but it was so you could see if you woke in the night. So logical in a way. Even though I do not have a light on at night.
    Also I think anxiety may be creeping in, we are planning a break.

    Long term memory will bring pictures younger children too.
    I have always had dreams but I do wonder whether that abilility to differentiate between a dream and this reality fades more.
  9. MaNaAk

    MaNaAk Registered User

    Jun 19, 2016
    Dad did this with me but never with my brothers and I realise it's because I represent the past and the present. I used to say that's me and put a reassuring arm around him. Later he would become concerned that I was locking the other lady out so I would bring out photos and this would distract him.

  10. MrsV

    MrsV Registered User

    Apr 16, 2018

    Hi JnF,
    We have this to with our Mum (with Alzheimers), most of the time she doesn't know we are her daughters, but nice kind neighbours. When we tell her she looks puzzled. When we visit and ask to use the bathroom she says I'll show you were it is. When I say its ok I used to live here, she looks totally surprised, and gets cross. She also thinks someone is coming in when she's out and going through her things and moving stuff around. She hides things in odd places too.

    She has invented a woman who looked after the house for her for years while she was 'away' and says all the furniture is the 'womans', but she wont take it away. She only remembers the grandkids as small children, not as fully grown adults. Photo albums and pictures don't help either. She also makes up her own history, and thinks we all worked together at the same place as her.
  11. hillyjay

    hillyjay Registered User

    Jun 14, 2019
    I knew it was bad with FIL when, during a visit to them, he nudged me and asked, ‘who’s that man over there, lass?’ I told him that was XX, that was his son. His reply? ‘Is it really? Well bless my soul! I thought I recognised him but thought he must be someone I’d worked with’.

    He too, used to ask if we’d seen the garden or would we like to go and have a look round the village which was very nice you know. He’d take us later.... My OH was born in that house and brought up in that village. Sad really but FIL was in full host mode by then!

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