“There’s some strange lady in the bathroom!” Mother exclaimed, as she hurriedly came to me in the living room.
“In the mirror,” she explained.
We returned to the mirror and looked in the mirror. “See,” she said, pointing to her face beside mine. “There’s a strange lady here with you.”
“That’s you,” I said.
“No! No!” Mother insisted. “Tell her to go.”
Realizing that Mother didn’t recognize herself, I led her to the easy chair in the living room and said I’d ask the strange lady to leave. Mother relaxed as I made her a cup of tea.
I realized that what I’d been told was coming true. Mother was losing recognition of familiar objects and faces, even herself. Eventually, when she often didn’t recognize familiar people, she thought they were there to harm her. It was something I had to become cognisant of and work around it. I had to realize she was somewhat like a child who thinks there are monsters in the closet or under the bed.
Alzheimer’s victims also may think you’re the enemy, when they have periods of not recognizing you. Mother began to think I was another woman who was stealing my husband from me. Eventually, I realized I had to go into another room or out the door, then reappear as myself returning from somewhere. That seemed to banish the “other woman.”
Learn all you can about the paranoia of Alzheimer’s victims so you can best help them. Talk with other caregivers who’ve coped with it. Also, a sense of humor helps get us through it.