When impostor syndrome rears its ugly head in the darkness of night it terrifies me.
I became Scott at dinner time. I realized that when she asked me where Mavis was. I answered truthfully which confused her.
She has developed a story in her head about us owning a different condo unit and moving to this one recently.
She tells me that the paint job is great.
She wanted me to walk her home. We walked out the rear garage access door around the building and in the front door though the lobby past Jane’s door and in our front door.
She seemed to recognize her place. As we came in she said she wanted to visit Jane. We came into our condo and I helped her with her coat. I hung it in the closet. She wanted to visit Jane.
I helped her over to Jane’s condo and quietly told Jane that Cheryl was unsure of where she lives. Jane is a wonderful friend and recognized that Cheryl was in crisis. Cheryl stayed with her for just a few minutes – maybe twenty. She told Jane she was very tired and needed to rest.
Jane helped her back across the hall and told me that tonight and on previous occasions Cheryl remarked that she was very tired.
When she got in I asked her if she wanted her bedtime pills and she readily agreed. As we sat and watched TV for a bit while the pills took affect she asked me again where Mavis and Zachary were.
Now she is resting in bed about an hour early.
In this case Jane seized the moment and was available to help.
Sometimes friends carpe the diem.
Sadly this seems to be getting worst and I without knowing what to do seem to be doing the only things that can be done.
From the link above:
What you can do first
With any of the neuropsychiatric symptoms of dementia, such as Capgras, we always try behavioral and environmental interventions before medications. The following can help family members manage:
- Don’t argue with the belief. That just makes the person angrier and more convinced they are right.
- Go with the emotion. Acknowledge your loved one’s fear, frustration, and anger.
- Change the focus or redirect your loved one. Try to distract them with an activity, music, or a car ride.
- Agree to disagree about this belief. Remind them that no matter who you are, you love and care for them and are there for them.
- Be creative. In some cases, the caregiver accused of being an impostor may be able to leave the room to get the “real” person, then come back in and no longer be perceived as an impostor.
I have not tried the last one but I might. This is the first time I tried walking her home which seemed to sort of work (but only sort of).
Cheryl takes donepezil.
Carpe Diem (another good link)
As much as I want to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear this impostor syndrome thing is scary stuff. And it breaks my heart that God is putting her through this. The saving grace is that she does not remember these episodes.
(Update – Cheryl has reported a burning sensation when she urinates. Perhaps this prompted this particular episode.)