ASK DR. MINDY™
MINDY KIM-MILLER, MD, PhD
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My mother has Alzheimer’s. I am one of 5 kids. She thinks I am a friend from when she was 6years old. I have twins that are ten years old she does not believe that I am her daughter or they are her grand kids. She remembers the other kids. She does not want me to come over. My father just passed away 2 months ago. This all started a week after he died. My question is do I correct her, or do I let it go? It is very hard on all of us. She will tell me point I have my own parents. And she is not my kids Grandma. Are we doing her harm my telling her the truth or do we just let it go. It is very hard I feel like I am two people when I am with her.
Delusions such as the one that your mother has about you are very common in Alzheimer’s disease. As in your case, the death of a spouse can often increase confusion and hasten loss of functioning. So it is not surprising that her confusion about you started shortly after your father’s death.
Because delusions are such firmly held beliefs that seem real to the person having them, it is usually futile to try to correct or argue about them. In fact, trying to correct the person can lead to frustration and distress, which can lead to agitation. So if you gently remind your mother about who you are, and she persists with her delusion, it is usually best to move on unless the delusion is harmful to her or others. You can either play along with her delusion or ask about her childhood friend if it is comforting to her. Perhaps she misses her and wants to talk about her. Or you can try to redirect her attention onto other, more pleasant topics.
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