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20 great questions to ask when a loved one with dementia doesn’t recognize you anymore


grandma & baby


It seems to me we sometimes get stuck on things that don’t matter, or aren’t as important as we think they are.

We lose perspective.

I feel joyful when people who I know who have dementia know who I am. But I don’t feel sad when they don’t.

But I see and hear plenty of people who are in a lot of pain because the person they love who has dementia doesn’t recognize them anymore.

I’ve rolled that around in my mind for a long time. I’ve blogged about it before.

I found asking myself questions like these helped; I thought they might be useful for others too:


  1. Do babies recognize and call by name those who care for them?
  2. Does the fact that babies do not recognize their parents as individuals cause their parents to love them any less?
  3. What kinds of things do babies sense from those who care for them?
  4. Are those things contingent on babies recognizing who cares for them?
  5. What do I feel when the person I love who has dementia does not recognize me?
  6. What is at the core of my upset when my loved one with dementia does not recognize me?
  7. Is recognizing me going to make their life any better?
  8. Does not recognizing me make their life any worse?
  9. Do they not recognize other people, or is it just me they don’t recognize?
  10. Does it matter if they don’t recognize other people?
  11. How important is it for the people in my life who have dementia for me to “see” them?
  12. Based on the behaviour of my loved one with dementia when s/he doesn’t recognize me, does not recognizing me or others seem to cause them a great deal of lasting pain and/or suffering?
  13. How important is it at this stage in my life for her/him to “see” me?
  14. How important is it for people in general to be seen?
  15. If it is important for people to be seen, why is it important?
  16. If I don’t see and love the people who are close to me who have dementia, who will?
  17. What would happen if I let go of my need for them to recognize me?
  18. What does love mean to me?
  19. What does compassion mean to me?
  20. What is at the core of being human?


Have you asked yourself similar questions? Do you have any you would add to the list? Thoughts? Advice on this issue?


Please share this link with others if you think it might be helpful to them.

You may also download a PDF here:

20 Questions to Ask Yourself When a Loved One Doesn’t Recognize You Anymore.

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