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Thinks her carer is an impostor

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by sebinthecity, Jan 7, 2016.

  1. sebinthecity

    sebinthecity Registered User

    Jan 7, 2016
    Hi all

    My mother was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Recently, she has started having episodes after waking up from naps, where she doesn't recognise my dad, who lives with her and is her primary carer. She either thinks he is a stranger or an extended family member who is pretending to be her husband. During these episodes she will frantically call me or neighbours to try and ascertain where "dad" is, and to get him to come home. She is mildly worried during these episodes but doesn't perceive an immediate threat - if it's at night, she will invite Dad/stranger/cousin to sleep in a spare room.

    I'm wondering if anyone has any ideas about how to respond in this situation, either for my dad (who is there with her when it happens) or for me (whom she phones when it happens). It doesn't seem realistic to try to persuade her that it is Dad, or at least we haven't had much luck with that approach.


  2. nitram

    nitram Registered User

    Apr 6, 2011
    North Manchester
    I used to use a ploy that sometimes worked.

    He (me really) would say to my wife, 'I'll see if I can find him'.

    I would then go out of the room change into different coloured clothing, return and say, 'He says you were looking for me'
  3. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    SW London
    This sort of thing has cropped up here before. What some people have done is to tell the person that dad, or whoever it is, is going to be late home, or will be home soon, etc. , but has asked this very nice friend/person to look after him/her until he gets back. This has worked for some people.

    I think one person in this position added the ploy of going into another room and using their mobile to phone a landline that the person could answer, and telling them that everything was fine, X would look after them for now, and they'd see them very soon.

    I expect others will be along with more/other suggestions.
  4. Spamar

    Spamar Registered User

    Oct 5, 2013
    When OH didn't know who I was, I would say that his wife had to go out, but she asked me to look after him. This worked, though I had to reassure him that she ( me) would be back at her bedtime. He accepted this, but it did feel surreal!
  5. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    My mum also had funny thoughts after a nap - sometimes triggered by a programme she had been watching earlier or perhaps by a light dream in sleep. She used to think I was her Mum and I would do the same as others, play along for a bit and then go and press the front door bell, say oh she's back now I'll see you tomorrow and then I would usually take off a cardigan or put on a coat and all would be well. I agree it does seem odd but it works with no distress or aggravation so it must be good lol
  6. Bessieb

    Bessieb Registered User

    Jun 2, 2014
    Hi sebinthecity

    I posted about something similar the other day...post is called 'Has anyone any experience of Capgras Syndrome?'. My Mum has the same thing and they thing this is what it is. Belief that a care-giver or loved one has been replaced by an identically looking imposter.

    The CH my parents are at are using the strategy of removing my Dad from the situation for about half an hour and then re-introducing him with lots of friendly chat and 'oh good you're back' type comments. This usually flips her back into recognising him again. Very tricky though...

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