When I had to be an imposter

January 12, 2021 / Dementia, Elder Care / By Martha Patterson

Indeed, I pretended to be my mom for several years.

My mom’s best friend suffered from dementia and was in an assisted living that was near where I worked. My mom said she was lonely and asked if I would visit. All my mom’s friends were my friends as it had been just us since my brother and dad died.

When I walked into the room she called me by my mom’s name and asked “How’s Martha?”.

I knew it was important for me to play along, so I talked about myself in the third person and asked about her family. We had a great visit. I told my mom what happened. My mom called her friend the next day and her friend thanked her for visiting. Her friend had not recognized my mom when she visited.

For many years I pretended to be my mom and brought much joy to both my mom and her friend.

As the years have gone by I have focused my practice on planning for what if you or a loved one ends up with dementia.

I have learned that one of the first things the support groups tell you when you get a diagnosis is to make sure your legal documents are up to date, and that the attorney knows what your documents need to say now that you or your loved one are facing this dreaded journey, the second thing they teach you is to play along and live in their reality.

I am glad that I just did what seemed right those many years ago.

Planning for all the “What ifs”.



About the Author Martha Patterson

Martha Patterson is a California Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law, and Certified Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation. She focuses on Elder Law, Asset Protection and Estate Planning. She is a Member of NAELA; Past President of Southern California NAELA. Featured on CNN, Good Morning America, NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox News, and radio stations KABC, KNX, and KKLA. She overcame incredible objections and enabled Kerri and Julie Kasem to visit their dad radio host Casey Kasem. She is a frequent lecturer for NBI, and is a at MCLE events, and public forums.

Martha Patterson, Attorney