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Reasons Your Elderly Loved One Might Not Recognize You

Are you concerned that your elderly loved one doesn’t recognize you? This happens often with dementia and other neurological diseases. It can be a sad day when you realize that your elderly loved one doesn’t know your name or remember things that you have done together. The most important thing is to better understand why they don’t recognize you. Remember, it is the disease and not your elderly loved one doing this. They have no control over it.

Delusions and Paranoia

Two of the reasons why your elderly loved one might not recognize you are because of delusion and paranoia. With dementia, there are many changes happening with the brain. There are psychological issues happening, as well. This is why so many people who have dementia get delusions and become paranoid. The irrational feelings and thoughts take over, so they may not recognize who you or others in their life are. The delusions and paranoia might have them convinced that you are intruding on their space.

Memory Loss

Memory loss is one of the biggest reasons why your elderly loved one might not know who you are. When someone has dementia, the changes to the brain can be very significant. Depending on the part of your loved one’s brain that is damaged, they might forget names, events, or entire relationships. This can be very tough on the people who they forget. However, it is also important to remember that it is tough on your elderly loved one to. They are probably very confused on what is going on and why people “they don’t know” are in their house.


Delirium is another reason why your elderly loved one might not recognize you. This can be caused by many things. However, one of the most common causes of delirium in those who have dementia is an infection. If your elderly loved one seems to be delirious, you should have them see their doctor as soon as possible. If the infection can be treated, your elderly loved one might remember you again.


These are some of the many reasons why your elderly loved one might not recognize you. While knowing these things may not make it any easier for you to cope with them forgetting you, it can help you to better understand what is going on. If necessary, be sure that you have elderly care providers take over for a bit of time and you get the support that you need.


If you or an aging loved one is considering elderly care in San Ramon, CA, please contact the caring staff at Golden Heart Senior Care of Walnut Creek. (925) 203-3039.