Self Recognition with dementia and Mom’s Mirror Image Collide
I hadn’t even realized that Mom was losing her own self recognition with dementia. My Mom often remarked that she was frightened by the “Old Woman” who constantly followed her but I had no idea who that woman might be.
For a long time, I thought it was an hallucination. But one day, as I stood beside Mom in front of the mirror, she pointed to her own reflection and said, “There she is. That’s the Old Woman! She’s scarey and she follows me every where.”
I was so taken aback that I didn’t know what to say. My Mom no longer recognized her own reflection. I put my arms around her in the only comfort I knew to offer, and told her that I would be sure the old woman never hurt her.
“She was only trying to make friends with you,” I explained. Those words soothed Mom for the moment and that became my constant response to Mom’s fear of the old woman who followed her. It worked!
No matter how silly it may seem, if it works–do it! Sometimes we only need to accept their fears, and find a resolution. We may never know how they’re really feeling.
I must add. Now that I’m in early Alzheimer’s myself, I watch my daughter repeating the things I told Mom. I’m so happy she was watching those years ago.
By late stage Alzheimer’s, my Mom’s eyes seemed fearful and worried most of the time, as though suddenly unsure of herself and the world around her.
As holidays near, it reminds me of her great discomfort in crowds or large groups. Please keep your loved ones feelings in-mind if planning parties or reunions or large get-togethers.
By middle stage Alzheimer’s, the patient is totally guarded and uneasy in large crowds with lots of chatter around them. It seems that the words come quicker than they are able to decipher and it leaves their mind in a twirl of confusion.
Keep your loved one in-mind as you plan the holiday festivities!