Who am I ? I won't know myself soon!!!

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by annielou, Dec 20, 2019.

  1. annielou

    annielou Registered User

    Sep 27, 2019
    382
    I am so tired of being called that blooming womans name!!!!!
    Mum has been getting me mixed up with other people on and off for a while but for the past fortnight shes been mixing me up with a woman who was partly responsible for mum and dad splitting up.
    The woman was part of a couple mum and my dad were friends with about 40 years ago up to 29 years ago when mum thought something was going on between the friend and my dad (there was evidence) and mum and dad split up and mum and the friend haven't been friends since.
    But now for the last two weeks mum keeps calling me her name and often talks about my husband as if he is the womans husband and thinks my house is the couples house. My furniture is theirs, Even my Christmas tree which I only bought last year is their tree they have had for years and years.
    She keeps telling me (as the old friend) she is going to ring our Andrea, or our Andrea hasn't been to see her, or you've no need to come tomorrow --- because I'll be going to our Andreas. She is constantly refering to our Andrea as someone else not me.
    She gets quite annoyed and won't believe that I am her daughter Andrea when I, or hubby, or my sister when she was here last weekend, explain I am not the old friend. She keeps saying she will ring our Andrea and ask her or ring --- and ask her who I am. Then she looks in her bag for something to say who I am or reads her address book to see if it says there who I am. She will read out my address and say you cant live there 999 letsby avenue because our Andrea lives at 999 letsby avenue and you live near me or in (friends village)
    The most upsetting and annoying part is that obviously I'm not a fan of the friend and neither was mum for last 29 year so when she realises who she's talking about she isn't happy. It's awkward reminding mum why they are not friends, that her and dad split up 29 year ago and he died 4 year ago. There's no way to avoid telling her either as she gets so confused while talking about things that it has to come out who I am and she gets so het up asking questions about it that you have to answer and reveal I'm Andrea her daughter not the friend. It doesn't sink in properly though and just gets more and more confusing for everyone as she calls me both Andrea and --- in the same sentence.
    It's wearing me out, constantly answering questions on the same thing and mum not believing who I am. She just won't stop going round n round it can go on for hours.
    It happened a couple of times a day for a few minutes at a time at first, then more times and for longer each day and for the past week she thinks I'm this woman most of the time. And I have the same conversation about fifty times a day now with mum constantly not believing me, getting annoyed and aggressive and then upset.
    My sister said at the weekend she was sick of hearing about the friend and didn't know how I could stand it all the time as she couldn't believe how long mum went on for and how confusing it all got.
    I am starting to feel like I am going mad and soon won't know who I am.
    Sorry for the long ramble but I just wanted to get it out, I have been writing it during another round of --- why hasn't our Andrea been to see me. Do you stay here? Well why isn't our Andrea looking after me. I'll ring her and ask her to do it.
     
  2. Bikerbeth

    Bikerbeth Registered User

    Feb 11, 2019
    624
    Bedford
    Mum frequently thinks I am her sister but that is so easy to deal with compared to your ‘mistaken identity’.
    I hope someone on here has a suggestion that might get your Mum out of that loop
     
  3. annielou

    annielou Registered User

    Sep 27, 2019
    382
    Thanks @Bikerbeth x
    Mum often calls me mum at night and sometimes has during the day, i've also been my sister and other past friends of hers which have been easier to go along with and also not been as full on a belief as it is with this woman. She is so convinced I am her and that me (her daughter) is someone different who she talks and asks about constantly to this woman.
    It goes on most of the day and evening now with a few other confusions thrown in like mixing up where she lives and thinking her mum has just died and she needs to empty her house which happened 45 years ago.
    I wish I could switch my brain off for a bit to give it a rest and maybe reset mums too. Its exhausting for both of us.
     
  4. TNJJ

    TNJJ Registered User

    May 7, 2019
    963
    Female
    cornwall
    I can imagine what it must be like. Spending 8hours a day drive me batty with dad.But he hasn’t compared me with anyone else..yet..Has she been checked for UTI?
     
  5. annielou

    annielou Registered User

    Sep 27, 2019
    382
    Not for a few week. She gets more confused every week, I assumed that was just way it is going.
    She has been on galantamine for the last month which has had no effect on her memory or mood that I can see but she does seem a bit more motivated to do her cleaning occassionaly now and has started knitting a scarf last week. Even though she goes wrong at times she has kept going which is a positive thing as she hasnt tried for months and before when she tried to knit and went wrong she would give up and pull it out.
    I had hoped the tablets might calm down her constant questions and reduce her being anxious and angry and upset a bit but it doesn't seem to have so far.
     
  6. Pete1

    Pete1 Registered User

    Jul 16, 2019
    364
    Male
    Hi @annielou, I was thinking the same as @TNJJ perhaps the increased confusion could be due to a UTI, I certainly found the confusion ramped up a gear with a UTI - it might be worth checking that out. It must be both heart breaking and annoying not to have Mum recognise you and to apply multiple personalities to you, whilst at the same time criticising your non-attendance to these imposters, I haven't heard of it to the extreme that you describe, and it must feel awful her calling you by the name of someone you are not that fond of - although it does sound as though your Mum has forgotten the history and is seeing that person as a good friend. I remember having a nice chat to my Mum and she said 'How's your Mum today', I just said 'Oh, she's ok thanks, just a bit confused sometimes', she replied 'Join the club!'. I have to say you have the patience of a absolute saint and Mum is lucky to have such a kind and devoted daughter as you.
     
  7. annielou

    annielou Registered User

    Sep 27, 2019
    382
    Thanks for your reply @Pete1 x
    I might try get a sample in to gps on monday just to check if like you & @TNJJ suggested she has a uti. Theres no sign of it but I know people on here have posted on other threads there sometimes aren't. Not sure how will go on before christmas but they may test it before closing for break if i can get there.
    I've been the friend again today, though we did manage a few hours break from it this afternoon, but by teatime mum was back asking the 'friend' what she had to do about her mums house, did she need to tell council she was living in it, did she have to pay rent etc.
    Then she started worrying what she did about getting her pension money and what happened to it if she went in a home. Did she pay her bills, or owe any money anywhere and would 'friend' (me) and my hubby 'friends hubby' still help her sort her money out if she went in a home.
    Then said she didn't know where she lived and kept asking her address and talking about old houses she'd lived in, which carried on till we brought her home and then carried on for an hour when mum and I were at her house.
    I had all the same questions again, directed at me 'friend' about her house, bills, her mums house, where had (my) 'friends' husband gone, did he mind me staying with her?
    Then she realised I wasn't the 'friend' and was sorry she had got us mixed up and called me 'friend' because I'm not like her.
    So for half an hour I was me, but then she started asking who I was, telling me I'm not her daughter but her 'friend' again and constantly asking where I lived, who I was and how did I know her, while disagreeing with all my answers which carried on for a couple of hours before bed.
    As she was goin to bed she called me 'friend' again and told me there was a fold up bed there and quilt and pillow there and did i need any help making it up. Then told me 'friend' it's not too bad our Andie has slept on it. (I know mum because I am Andie its my bed and bedding and I've been sleeping on it for 9 weeks!)
    Her usual night time in and out of bed asking if this door is locked and that is turned off were directed to 'friend' too. Seems the 'friend' has usurped her mum tonight who I am often called at bedtime.
    I snapped a few times today and asked her a couple of times through tears to leave things alone for a bit as I couldn't cope with her questions over and over anymore. She only kept quiet for a short time and I did feel bad and guilty for snapping, I also hid in the bathroom pretending to go to loo but really having a cry a few times because I felt like my head was going to explode with it all.
    I know she can't help it and is confused and scared and me getting upset and annoyed doesn't help her to calm down and believe or trust me but I am so tired of this all the time and the upset part of my brain always seems to react before I can reason with myself and remember shes not doing it on purpose.
     
  8. Chrissie B

    Chrissie B Registered User

    Jan 15, 2019
    97
    Female
    North Yorkshire
    Hi Annielou, This one is still very fresh in my mind, with my mum I was her mum who she had lots of issues with, it's unpleasant at best, and downright frustrating. You already know from people in the forum Alzheimer conditions can very often cause symptons, the most common one I've seen mentioned is Sundowners.
    Your mum is going through a phase of Confabulation, and while you are going through your present identity crisis, it's a good idea to remember that's what it really is. There isn't a cure for it, but it will eventually wear out, so now it's time to put your protective gear on.
    I think your mum had a very good friend from what you are saying and I am going to call her Trudy, it's easier to have a name. One day Trudy betrayed your mum and became an ex-friend, so Trudy died in effect, and was replaced by mean woman called Gertie.
    From what you are saying, if I have your story right, the positive side is that your mum is calling you Trudy, which means you are actually the friend before she died. This loss of friendship was possibly a big part of her life, and no longer makes sense to her, which is why it is stuck in a loop. You will have looked up the word Confabulation by now, and you will see that if something doesn't make sense, the brain will change it so that it does make sense, at least to your mum. Be prepared, there may well be a time you become Gertie, and that will be even more difficult, so it's best to try and take a little control while you are Trudy.
    First thing, however tempting it is, will be to tell you that outright denial and trying to pull in facts to prove that you are not Trudy is Not going to work. Sorry. I've been there, the more you pull in facts, the more twisted your mum's brain can make it, and the more obsessive she becomes about being right, and the more intricate her story will become.
    Operation Protective Gear:
    Your main headgear is a technique you know called "Distraction".
    Example: but you will have more idea in your circumstances and come up with something better.
    Your mum: "Trudy, I need to get our Annielou to come round and tidy my garden up, it's getting very messy."
    You: "That's a good idea, why don't you ring her while I make a cup of tea:"
    This is where you exit, make a drink, come back in, and shout, "Hi mum, it's me, Annielou, I've made a drink, for us both, is that ok?"
    It might not work, but it's worth a try, and might just give you break, even if it's just to escape from the situation while you breathe. If your mum is still capable of answering the phone, and you have someone who will can ring her while you are in the kitchen making a brew, that would be helpful, because that's a further distraction while you are out of the room.

    Another thing to remember is that sometimes altering where your mum is looking somehow shakes things back. I know, I didn't believe it either until I tried it a few times, it's The important thing is that she should turn her head to look the other way. It was explained to me, and to this day, I just don't know why it sometimes works. So if your mum starts on one of her rants, then see if you can do anything to get her to look in the opposite direction so she has to turn her head. Again, this should be done as close as possible at the beginning of the conversation, and if you can interrupt the line of thought while you do it, you get bonus points.
     
  9. Chrissie B

    Chrissie B Registered User

    Jan 15, 2019
    97
    Female
    North Yorkshire
    One more thing. Lots of liquid. Water would be best, but if that's not plausible, then anything will help. No idea if it works, but apparently it might, so it's worth a try.
     
  10. Delilah63

    Delilah63 Registered User

    Jan 4, 2018
    36
    That is such a good explanation @Chrissie B it has helped me undertand something I was struggling with. I have no more suggeations to add @annielou except I wanted to send you a massive dollop of empathy. It sounds intolerable and yet you carry on caring for your mum, and from experience I know it sometimes feels like a thankless horrendous loop...so I wanted to say you're doing brilliantly, youre still there, doing what you have to, and you have been heard. My only suggestion if that you might want to begin finding some respite care for your mum so you can recharge your batteries and re-set your amazing patience button. Take care of yourself x
     
  11. myss

    myss Registered User

    Jan 14, 2018
    405
    I agree with this, although with my dad, despite his advance state of dementia, there are rare occasions when he's given an answer to his question and won't ask again. However I suspect it's because the answer given fitted his own thoughts. It's a two step thing for me when he asks, I'll initially give the right answer but if he asks the same thing again or it's agitates him, I'll then give whatever answer that suits him.

    We've also used the 'protective gear' too with clothing issues. He'd be dead against wearing something even though it was clean and one of his favourites. My brother relents, puts it behind his back and seconds later brings out the same item and says 'what about this one then?'. And Dad sighs out of relief that he's going to wear something he likes. ;)
     
  12. annielou

    annielou Registered User

    Sep 27, 2019
    382
    #12 annielou, Dec 22, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2019
    Thanks @Chrissie B and @Delilah63 & @myss xx
    Thats sounds like it yes,
    I do sometimes go along with it, let mum call me Trudy, I was Trudy and my hubby was Mr Trudy all way round the supermarket yesterday until we were putting shopping away later and Mum said
    Andrea me and Trudy aren't friends anymore are we? So I said no and she said but I thought I'd been with her and Mr Trudy but was that you two? Hubby said yes and so then mum was asking us so you're my daughter and you're her husband and where do you live? until I needed the loo and hubby needed put something in garage and we made lunch. That Distraction worked thankfully, it often doesn't with Mum.
    Later on in the day though it was quite hard to be either Trudy or me as Mum was calling me both and asking lots of questions and not believing answers, whatever I tried, and distraction didn't really work, if it did it only worked for a few minutes.
    I don't think me getting upset and snappy and annoyed helped the situation but I do struggle to keep my patience. Mum wants attention all the time and is mixed up most of it so its hard work and much as I love her I am finding it harder and harder.
    This morning I can barely bring myself to speak, mum thinks I'm quiet because she woke me up and we got up at 8 on a Sunday which is early for me but normal,in fact quite late for staying at mums. Its more a build up of days worth of constant mixed upness and a night with less sleep than usual which is not much at mums anyway. Last night she was muttering to herself till after 1, up to the loo at 1/2 past more muttering for a while. Then woke me bumping about and talking at 3 as she got up and searched her bag and purse for money etc, then after I settled her down back in bed she was still muttering a bit, then back up to loo at 6 more muttering for few minutes. Light on movig about after 7, then loo put bathroom light on with bedroom and bathroom light shining in living room where i sleep and mum standing staring at me for minute before bumping about in bathroom for few minutes, back to bedroom opening and shutting door to look out, then noisily getting book and glasses off bedside and sighing and muttering till I gave in and got up.
    Did I wake you up love? Oh I'm sorry. I didn't think about waking you up. What day is it? Sunday. Oh sorry.
    Reading your posts and thinking about it has just made me think that for a long time mum often talks about not having a friend anymore. Sometimes when she is talking about her memory loss and me looking after her or talking about being bored she will say if I had a friend to do things with I wouldn't have to put it all on you, or if I had some friends and had done more this wouldn't have happened its because I was lonely. Maybe that is why she is thinking of me as her friend, before this woman I was another old friend who was married to my uncle about 50 years ago. That only lasted a week but then her and that friend were only friends for a few years where as the one she thinks I am now was a friend for quite a few. Maybe mum is latching on to friends from the past because she wants one now.
    I'll try to up my patience and think more before I react, don't know if I can do it bit I'll keep trying.
    I'll try the head turning too and mum definately should drink more too I do try, I always have a drink of water nearby as I have a dry mouth and feel thirsty a lot and I often get one for mum too but she rarely drinks it. She mainly drinks tea but doesn't have enough liquid really so I keep trying to push drinks too.
     
  13. annielou

    annielou Registered User

    Sep 27, 2019
    382
    Managed to get a sample to gps yesterday to check if mum had UTI.
    Not sure if mum has one or not but she has been given some antibiotics which I started her on this morning.
    Hubby and I noticed mum had been to loo a bit more than usual on Sunday so on form to hand over with sample I ticked increased frequency box and put increased confusion as symptoms.
    I rang surgery in afternoon for result and receptionist said the nurse had dipped it and sent to lab and passed it on to dr who might ring to talk to us in next half hour but if didnt then ring back. When I rang back she said a prescription had been sent to local pharmacy. So not sure if sample showed she has UTI or they playing it safe.
    She was still really confused yesterday, but not as het up with it. Although the trip to the drs and then over to my house was epic with slow traffic, a queue at drs, 2 out of the 4 buses missing so had extra wait, and 1 bus smelling of wee :(:mad: and mum constantly moaned and asked questions through it.
    She wasn't as grumpy the rest of the day though, there were the usual repeated questions and calling me the friends name again and saying I'm not her daughter but she wasn't as aggressive about it yesterday which helped me cope with it better.
    First thing she said this morning was are you 'friend?' And then asked if friend had been staying with her and has been mixing us up since.
    Mum also keeps asking about Christmas and where shes going? We are hoping to stay at my house for a few nights but I'm really worried if it will work or not.
    Hubby really wants me to stay at home for christmas and is hoping mum will be ok with it.
    He built a stair gate on Sunday out of plywood to put across top of stairs for if mum gets up in night and comes looking for us. I'm still nervous but it is quite sturdy and higher than a kids stair gate, it comes up past elbow height.
    We also bought a pressure pad to go on her bed so if she gets up in night I'll know and can listen to see if she goes straight to loo or is confused. Its quite loud so I'm hoping to be able to put my ear plugs in for hubbys snoring and take them out to listen for mum when alarm goes off but I'm really nervous I'll miss something.
    I'm wondering where best place to place pad in bed is so doesnt go off everytime she turns over or sits up but also worried wont go off if i put it in wrong place. I think mum will be able to feel it under sheet and ask what it is. Also the alarm sounds like our doorbell so hubby and I will probably keep thinking its someone at the door and jump up with door keys, mum will probably ask what it is and it might also wake the neighbour.:confused:
    Besides those worries I'm also worried being somewhere else will confuse mum even more. She comes to our house with me a few times a week but often starts getting confused when shes sundowning about whose house it is and where hers is, although she gets confused about same thing at her house, but when she is at mine she will ask to go home to look at her house to see if she remembers it.
    So I can't see this Christmas being restful or relaxing and mum and I may well end up coming back to her house in a grump. :(
     
  14. TNJJ

    TNJJ Registered User

    May 7, 2019
    963
    Female
    cornwall
    Will it go near the bedroom door?
     
  15. AMH55

    AMH55 Registered User

    Dec 21, 2019
    20
    Hello this sounds really tough. UTIs do make elderly people more confused. Just wanted to give you a few tips which helped with my Mum: tea is a diuretic so it makes you need the loo more but also does not hydrate you like water does so try giving her tea & water alternately. Drinking tea in the late afternoon and evening will make your Mum need the loo more in the night so you could try switching her to decaf tea then. Also sometimes it's ok to tell a white lie to a confused person if they are fixating and becoming distressed. Distraction worked with my Mum & focussing on the things she could still do rather than the things she couldn't. Partly for my own sanity; she really enjoyed watching the birds on the bird feeder for example and looking at magazines, especially the clothes and shoes but take care to avoid magazines with upsetting articles. Before she got too confused we also did crosswords together. Music, especially old songs & familiar TV especially comedies helped. Living in the moment as much as possible. The tip about taking a breather to make tea was good. Take care of yourself & keep venting!
    A
     
  16. Pete1

    Pete1 Registered User

    Jul 16, 2019
    364
    Male
    Hi @annielou I would imagine your Mum does have a UTI as the Dr would have to prescribe an antibiotic to manage the infection identified from the test. I do hope that will help with some of the confusion. I hope it goes ok with Mum coming over to yours, sounds as though you have put measures in place. All the best.
     
  17. annielou

    annielou Registered User

    Sep 27, 2019
    382
    #17 annielou, Dec 24, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2019
    I don't know if this one can as it just says bed pressure mat on it, it may be ok to put on floor but if mum saw it I'm pretty sure she would avoid stepping on it and also want to know what it was.
    I'm really not sure about it at all. Its smaller than I thought and I'm not sure if I got it in right place on the bed, it slid a bout at first so I've tied it to bed frame at the sides. It also crackles when you lay on it so mum will probably ask what it is on the bed. Also if she sits up to read or moves off it slightly it will go off so we could be getting up for nothing.
    So I'm very nervous about tonight.
    X
     
  18. annielou

    annielou Registered User

    Sep 27, 2019
    382
    I really hope so as shes been very upset today as she was sure hubby and I were the friend and her husband and when we got to our house she kept saying wheres our Andrea and hubby? This is their house, did they know I was coming? Where are they? You aren't her? Which went on for quite a long time and she was really scared she couldn't work things out. She been calmer for last couple of hours but still mixed up.
    I'm really hoping the antibiotics work soon and the confusion decreases. X
     
  19. annielou

    annielou Registered User

    Sep 27, 2019
    382
    Thanks for
     
  20. annielou

    annielou Registered User

    Sep 27, 2019
    382
    Been out and bought some decaf teabags, I didn't think about those making a difference thanks.
    Mum is not good at drinking and mainly does drink tea though I try encourage her to drink more water but she rarely drinks it apart from to take her many tablets. But I'll keep trying. x
     

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