1. gentle giant

    gentle giant New member

    Apr 30, 2019
    I recently took my wife away for a week in a rented cottage the countryside' overall we had a good time and created some special memories. One evening we were sitting in the garden and she looked at me and asked who i was and what relation i was to her, now i knew this was going to happen at some point but nothing prepares you for the shock.

    Once i had recovered and explained that we were married she seemed quite shocked and asked me where i had been for the last few years. I must explain at this point that we have been together almost every day for the last 38yrs. This conversation has now taken place on a daily basis since and i feel a growing sense of despair. Is this typical behaviour and how should i react? Any advice would be gratefully received.
  2. Sarahdun

    Sarahdun Registered User

    May 18, 2014
    In my experience it is typical behaviour. My husband didn't ask me who I was - but he was always on the look out for 'Sarah' and would talk about 'her' when I was with him. As time went on it became apparent that he didn't really distinguish between people any more. He would even greet complete strangers and join in their conversations. At first I reacted like you - shocked that we had reached this, one of the better known stages of dementia. Then over time I accommodated - as you accommodate to everything - didn't correct him - went with the flow (which should be my catch phrase). I was lucky that he was never angry or grumpy - he became gentler and happier and more loving (in a childlike way) as his dementia developed. I suppose these particular aspects of his behaviours have developed over three years or so. Hard to recall. Anyway when the time finally came for a care home (last week) his loss of awareness seems to have made the move much easier. In the meantime I would suggest patience, kindness and not contradicting or correcting your wife in ways that might upset her. A different kind of love - but hopefully her mood and behaviour will mimic yours.
  3. jaymor

    jaymor Volunteer Moderator

    Jul 14, 2006
    My husband lost me as his wife 6 years before his passing, 2 years whilst still at home with me followed by 4 years in a nursing home. It started around teatime ( sundowning time) asking if I was his wife and to the answer of yes he added in a surprised tone that we must be married then.

    It certainly is a hard punch to come back from but he remained happy to be with me so he obviously trusted me and felt comfortable with me so as hard and upsetting it was I could deal with it. When he asked when I was coming to pick him up I’d give him a time and a reason for me not being there then distract with something to do or tea and cake, his favourite distraction.

    He recognised my voice on the telephone but not my face. The voice never changes unlike the face of his wife after 40 plus years of marriage
  4. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Oh dear! This is such a sad time @gentle giant.

    My husband needed to go home every night during sundowning because his wife would be worried about him.

    After then I never questioned him about my title. I was just relieved he accepted me for whoever he thought I was.

    As the dementia progressed and he began to lose his insight, he did seem to know me better, although I never asked him who I was. I was just grateful for a welcoming smile.

    There was never a time throughout his dementia when he didn`t know our son.
  5. gentle giant

    gentle giant New member

    Apr 30, 2019
    Thank you so much for your advice, i will try my best. I have a feeling i am at the beginning of a long and difficult journey. This forum and the kind people who contribute are going to be a great help.
  6. Helly68

    Helly68 Registered User

    Mar 12, 2018
    It is very hard. I try to avoid any conversations where Mummy needs to know who I am and concentrate on being there for her, which fortunately she still seems to find comforting. I think she recognises me, as someone who visits her regularly and whom she likes. She has also become very attached to many of the care home staff, which wasn't something I had thought about but probably a good thing overall.
  7. Sirena

    Sirena Registered User

    Feb 27, 2018
    @Sarahdun you put it so well - my mother no longer 'distinguishes between' people. She's in a care home. I have doubted for a while that she knows who I am, but she normally at least 'knows that she knows me'. Last week she didn't even seem to know that I had come to visit her (rather than just being another carer). She said "you look just like my mother!" but then immediately forgot about that. But you are right, it does make it easier for her to fit into the care home because as far as she's concerned she likes everyone equally.

    @gentle giant I re-read the compassionate communication article yesterday - it might help.

  8. northumbrian_k

    northumbrian_k Registered User

    Mar 2, 2017
    It is hard to do but my best advice would be to think of it as just one more bit of nonsense generated by dementia, just like forgetting how to do everyday actions. Try not to take it to heart. My wife has often addressed me by name then in the same breath asked me when K (me) will be back, if I am related to her and so on. One gets used to it over time.

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