Who Are You: When Alzheimer’s Keeps Your Parents from Recognizing You

Elderly Couple Holding Hands

It’s a tragic scene that’s all too familiar with children who have parents suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. They visit their family home, only to be asked to leave because their parents don’t recognize them. Heartbreaking as it is, grownup children endure the pain to show their aging parents that they love them and to give them the care they need in their fragile state.

Why This Happens

Alzheimer’s disease is a debilitating condition which hits a person’s thinking process. It worsens through time and causes memory loss eventually. Because the disease progressively damages different parts of the brain, it can make recognizing faces difficult, as a 2016 study suggested. In other words, people with Alzheimer’s are unable to recover memories of you and create a visual picture of a face in their mind.

What You Can Do

While it is a struggle to cope with this problem, it’s important to take steps forward and not be paralyzed by the situation so you can give your parents better Alzheimer’s care in senior home healthcare facilities such as Senior Helpers.

Part of moving forward is to acknowledge that this is part of your parents’ reality now. Embracing this problem wholeheartedly – even if it hurts – is the first, crucial step in getting motivated to find a way to alleviate your parents’ condition.

It’s also important to properly condition your mind when communicating with loved ones who have Alzheimer’s as there’s always that tendency to be indifferent or, sometimes, angry with them. The right frame of mind is: the disease afflicts your parents. It’s not their choice to have this health problem; their condition is why they treat you as a stranger and want you out of their house. It’s not them.

Another way you can cope is to show your loved ones old pictures of family and friends. It can put them at ease, reduce their anxieties or suspicions about you and, in some cases, may trigger remembrance on their part.

Witnessing aging parents succumbing to the effects of Alzheimer’s is heartbreaking. It’s best to talk to physicians and expert therapists to know how you can best provide the care your loved one needs.