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Anyone find tricks to trigger recognition?
billS
Posted: Wednesday, November 25, 2020 6:48 PM
Joined: 9/20/2020
Posts: 50


Hi all, my wife and I are in that difficult phase where she often does not recognize me. I'm either her brother, a friend, or a very bothersome person who refuses to "get out of my house". But (thankfully) there are times when she does know who I am. I'm wondering if anyone has found any tricks to trigger recognition. I have successfully left the house for a few minutes and come back in, maybe wearing a different hat or shirt, whereupon she then recognizes me.

But how about other methods, like during her lucid moments taking a photo of the two of us together, then having her write on the photo our names, that I am her husband, marriage date, etc. I'm thinking that later when she is "out of it" I could show her the photo and she would recognize her own handwriting and believe her own words. Or maybe it would just annoy her, like when I try to show her my drivers license photo or our marriage certificate, and logic and evidence just make her mad? I'll try this on the "can't hurt, might help" theory and report back.

Another thought is during her lucid times we decide on a favorite piece of music that we feel has meaning for us as a married couple. We then agree that when she's delusional I will play that music to signal that she has jumped the rails, in hopes of bringing her back. Music is very evocative of emotions, but here again maybe this could just clash with the reality in her head at the time. I'm probably indulging in wishful thinking here, but desperate times demand desperate measures as they say. All opinions welcomed, thank you. 


Rick4407
Posted: Wednesday, November 25, 2020 6:56 PM
Joined: 4/4/2018
Posts: 204


Hello Bill.  I have used pictures on the wall, "That's us in France" etc.  Or significant household items "remember when we bought that vase?"  Distraction with "remember when your brother Jim called?"  Those have worked for me.   She also is considerably more compliant and willing to give up those strange thoughts now with her Seroquel.   The other factor to help avoid those times was her being rested.   Once she's awake for 5-6 hours things go south.  Rick
abc123
Posted: Wednesday, November 25, 2020 11:03 PM
Joined: 6/12/2016
Posts: 1323


Bill, your correct. It won't hurt a thing to give it a try. I hope it works. Please let us know. 
Happy Thanksgiving to you & your wife 

billS
Posted: Thursday, November 26, 2020 9:44 AM
Joined: 9/20/2020
Posts: 50


Rick4407 wrote:
Hello Bill.  I have used pictures on the wall, "That's us in France" etc.  Or significant household items "remember when we bought that vase?"  Distraction with "remember when your brother Jim called?"  Those have worked for me.   She also is considerably more compliant and willing to give up those strange thoughts now with her Seroquel.   The other factor to help avoid those times was her being rested.   Once she's awake for 5-6 hours things go south.  Rick

Thank you Rick. I have tried showing her photos, walking around our place and pointing out projects we have done together etc. But unfortunately when she is in full blown alternate reality mode her response is, "No, that man in the photo is my husband, you're not him." Or, "No, my husband and I built that barn." Of course it doesn;'t matter what she believes as long as she is friendly to me. But when she gets hostile and wants me to "get out of my house!!" I can't find any good options. Just leaving is not an option even if I had somewhere to go.

I've asked her doctor about medications but so far the doc has not followed up. I plan to press harder on that question. Thanks again.


jfkoc
Posted: Thursday, November 26, 2020 9:55 AM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 19262


She remembers her husband from past times. You do not look like that anymore. Please be certain your asking her to remember does not cause a problem for your wife.

https://www.silverado.com/dementia-alzheimers/why-do-people-with-alzheimers-remember-old-memories/


Army_Vet60
Posted: Thursday, November 26, 2020 10:24 AM
Joined: 6/21/2019
Posts: 862


bill,

You might want to go back to your "What Would Others Do In This Situation?" thread and continue processing that conversation....

 

You're struggling with your wife's current decline, and this situation is the identical to what you posted in the previous thread.

 

You got a lot of feedback in the previous thread that can help you. You might want to print that thread out so you have instant access to it.   

Coming to acceptance of the changes in a LO is painful.  Understanding that ALZ doesn't give back what it takes, and adapting to that reality, will help your wife be comfortable around you.


Ed1937
Posted: Thursday, November 26, 2020 11:42 AM
Joined: 4/2/2018
Posts: 3657


Here's a link to the other thread. https://www.alzconnected.org/discussion.aspx?g=posts&t=2147554667
billS
Posted: Thursday, November 26, 2020 1:16 PM
Joined: 9/20/2020
Posts: 50


As always thank you everyone for your suggestions. I know that logic and explanations are largely useless in the face of delusions. And that is why I am looking to try other means of getting through to her, either visuals or music. Just wondered if anyone else had tried anything like that. I have no problem accepting her delusions when they are of no consequence, but when they present a safety issue for her - yelling at me to leave her alone in the house -  I can't just say OK no problem and walk out. In those instances I've tried white lies like, "I will leave a little later" or "someone is coming over to see me in a few minutes" but she become more enraged. 

Last night a neighbor inadvertently saved the day for me. I was relegated to sleeping in my workshop and noticed the light on the phone extension was active. My wife was calling a neighbor to report "this strange guy in the shop." The savvy neighbor asked her to go out on the porch and "holler for Bill." I was out there eavesdropping and when she saw me she said "oh great, you're here! There is this strange guy in the shop." Totally frazzled at that point I said none too patiently that was me, you kicked me out of the house! She was mortified and embarrassed at her behavior. I soothed her as best I could and we ended up having a decent sleep. That's the third time the neighbor has successfully intervened and ended the crisis, but this time he did not have to drive over to do it!

I am also scheduled to talk to a behavioral medicine doc tomorrow, and will be pressing her doctor again on seeing a neurologist and possible medications like Seroquel.


Army_Vet60
Posted: Thursday, November 26, 2020 1:54 PM
Joined: 6/21/2019
Posts: 862


Bill,

     Visuals and music are fine as long as you use them properly.

     If you show her the family album and tell her "This is you. This is me, your husband," IMO you are putting her on the defensive, making her uncomfortable, and risking losing her trust.   

    Her brain is damaged and it progresses a little every day, changing her world a little each day.

     I suggest if you show her the family album, don't provide a history that doesn't exist any more for her. Let her comment on the photos and just listen to her.

     The same goes for music and movies. Play them for her. But just let her listen or watch. Let her comment and go with that. If she likes a song, you still have a keeper for her. If she doesn't like it, try to avoid insisting she likes it. Same with watching a movie.

     I went through all of this with  my wife from 2016 - 2019. The low point for me was the night she thought I was someone who sexually assaulted her in the mid 1960s.  I took her to the neurologist. questioned her and confirmed I didn't exist as her husband. She did see me has a good person who took care of her. That was the day I accepted being her Caregiver and never tried to make her remember our past. It didn't exist for her and I had to keep her trust.


billS
Posted: Thursday, November 26, 2020 3:09 PM
Joined: 9/20/2020
Posts: 50


Army_Vet60 wrote:

Bill,

     Visuals and music are fine as long as you use them properly.

     If you show her the family album and tell her "This is you. This is me, your husband," IMO you are putting her on the defensive, making her uncomfortable, and risking losing her trust.   

    Her brain is damaged and it progresses a little every day, changing her world a little each day.

     I suggest if you show her the family album, don't provide a history that doesn't exist any more for her. Let her comment on the photos and just listen to her.

     The same goes for music and movies. Play them for her. But just let her listen or watch. Let her comment and go with that. If she likes a song, you still have a keeper for her. If she doesn't like it, try to avoid insisting she likes it. Same with watching a movie.

     I went through all of this with  my wife from 2016 - 2019. The low point for me was the night she thought I was someone who sexually assaulted her in the mid 1960s.  I took her to the neurologist. questioned her and confirmed I didn't exist as her husband. She did see me has a good person who took care of her. That was the day I accepted being her Caregiver and never tried to make her remember our past. It didn't exist for her and I had to keep her trust.


Thank you very much Army vet, that is excellent advice.


Ed1937
Posted: Thursday, November 26, 2020 3:17 PM
Joined: 4/2/2018
Posts: 3657


Bill, I think Army_Vet is right on. When my brother was in late stage 6 or maybe 7, I visited him and his wife. I took an Ipad with me that had a ton of old family pictures on it, thinking we might all enjoy looking at them. We came to one picture when my brother told his wife "That's me". I corrected him, telling him that was our Uncle Ernie. He said nothing. Now I realize that I couldn't make him understand who it was, but it only confused him more. Army_Vet has a ton of good information in his posts, and this one is no different.
Army_Vet60
Posted: Thursday, November 26, 2020 3:35 PM
Joined: 6/21/2019
Posts: 862


Ed1937 wrote:
Bill, I think Army_Vet is right on. When my brother was in late stage 6 or maybe 7, I visited him and his wife. I took an Ipad with me that had a ton of old family pictures on it, thinking we might all enjoy looking at them. We came to one picture when my brother told his wife "That's me". I corrected him, telling him that was our Uncle Ernie. He said nothing. Now I realize that I couldn't make him understand who it was, but it only confused him more. Army_Vet has a ton of good information in his posts, and this one is no different.
Thank you, Ed.  One thing that really pains me are the posts by Caregivers who have discovered their LO no longer knows him/her as their spouse.
That is the moment where keeping the LO's trust is paramount.  We've all seen the posts from women who's husband turned increasingly violent once the marriage didn't exist in his mind any longer.

 


M1
Posted: Thursday, November 26, 2020 4:30 PM
Joined: 8/22/2020
Posts: 615


Good luck with the discussion tomorrow Bill. You'll have to give us an update. Glad your neighbor was so understanding too.
Jo C.
Posted: Friday, November 27, 2020 8:24 AM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 11415


Hello Bill; this is a challenging situtation; it is one in which we ourselves must learn and gain knowledge; I am providing a link to a marvelous writing by Jennifer-Ghent Fuller, "Understanding the Dementia Experience."  It is really the best ever writing to describe and explain the dynamics of dementia nnd WHY things are as they are as dementia progresses. I think you will find it both interesting and very enlightening. I certainly did and it was quite helpful for me.

In this writing, the author describes the losses in long term memory; the most recent memories are the first to be gone and she also discusses emotion which is helpful.  What is happening with your wife is of course due to her long term memoriees being erased and how we react to that will make a difference.

Here is the link, so hope it helps:

http://www.dementiacarestrategies.com/12_pt_Understanding_the_Dementia_Experience.pdf


billS
Posted: Friday, November 27, 2020 5:32 PM
Joined: 9/20/2020
Posts: 50


Jo C. wrote:

Hello Bill; this is a challenging situtation; it is one in which we ourselves must learn and gain knowledge; I am providing a link to a marvelous writing by Jennifer-Ghent Fuller, "Understanding the Dementia Experience."  It is really the best ever writing to describe and explain the dynamics of dementia nnd WHY things are as they are as dementia progresses. I think you will find it both interesting and very enlightening. I certainly did and it was quite helpful for me.

In this writing, the author describes the losses in long term memory; the most recent memories are the first to be gone and she also discusses emotion which is helpful.  What is happening with your wife is of course due to her long term memoriees being erased and how we react to that will make a difference.

Here is the link, so hope it helps:

http://www.dementiacarestrategies.com/12_pt_Understanding_the_Dementia_Experience.pdf


Thank you JoC. That is a very informative article. I had read it before but it was well worth a review. 


billS
Posted: Friday, November 27, 2020 6:30 PM
Joined: 9/20/2020
Posts: 50


Today my wife twice thought I was an unwelcome visitor but thanks to a good neighbor and her brother she bounced back to reality. First time was this morning when she angrily ordered me to leave "her" house. I secretly texted her brother in another state asking if he could call her. He did and they had a nice conversation. I joined in at one point on an extension phone and the three of us had a pleasant exchange. I signed off so wife and her brother could finish up. After wards she knew me as her husband, success! we did some projects together and had lunch, but unfortunately she again turned hostile. I went outside for a bit and came back in, but that trick didn't work. So since I would not agree to leave she walked down the road to a neighbor's place. I called and gave the neighbor a heads-up. A few minutes later the neighbor pulled in with my wife, and she recognized me again. Sadly since she is still able to recognize her mental problems she is in anguish and embarrassed at her behavior. It almost feels like it might be easier for both of us if she never recognized me. At least I would know what to expect from one minute to the next, and she would not suffer the guilt and embarrassment.