• All threads and posts regarding Coronavirus COVID-19 can now be found in our new area specifically for Coronavirus COVID-19 discussion.

    You can directly access this area >here<.

Husband does not recognize me as his wife


Registered User
Dec 21, 2014
My husband has advancing dementia and thinks I am a friend not his wife. He constantly asks me to call his wife so she can pick him up and take him home. When I cannot do this, he gets very upset. He will not be distracted from this thinking no matter what I say. Has anybody had this experience and does it eventually stop? I can take the physical side of care giving but the mental strain is very difficult.


Volunteer Moderator
Jul 14, 2006
My husband was not recognising me or our home for 2 years before he went into nursing care. Luckily he accepted my explanation for his wife not being there for a while and if I could distract by getting him to help me do something or go out for coffee and cake we got through each question of where was his wife. We would usually have the question a couple of times during the day and then constantly at night.

The evening ones were a
Little easier because I would say she has missed the train and has asked me to ask you to stay here until she picks you up tomorrow. He was always happy to do so but was always surprised when I got into bed with him.
Last edited:


Registered User
Jan 14, 2010
East Kent
Hello Katlady.
I am afraid this is quite common.
My mum first forgot my Dad , they had been married over 50 yrs at the time. We tried explaining but nothing worked, it was the memory loss.
The only thing mum accepted was when I said
He is that nice man you like.

One of our members had a similar problem to you, what she used to do was phone her mobile and whilst sitting beside her husband he would talk to his wife over the phone whilst sitting right next to her.
Perhaps this would help.

What I do know is nothing works all the time and the questions always start again.
Sorry not much help at all.

I don't know if this old thread on here about Compassionate communication will be of any help

One thing I eventually discovered was, my mum believed she was much younger than her 80+ yrs so it was impossible for this middle aged lady in front of her , me, to be her daughter. Could it be the same with your husband.
I resorted to what we call love lies on here .
Last edited:


Registered User
Aug 29, 2008
I dialled the home number onmy mobile and handed it to my husband, then I picked up the phone in the bedroom and talked to him. I told him I was helping someone out and that I would come home as soon as this person was better.

It worked, he told me all about the chat he had with his wife.

We used to go looking for her every so often until he was tired and I would persuade him to come back to my house until the next day

One time he did know who I was and "confessed" tome that he had stayed with another woman once when I was not home.!!

I found all this very stressful, as I am sure you do. Sending love jeannette


Registered User
Oct 28, 2013
Dear Katlady l have the same problem so distressing, my hubby crys alot as he doesn't know where his wife is, he just wants to know if she is alright, l tell him she has gone away for a few days, and she will be back soon he sit in the front room looking for her car to come up the road my car sits on the drive but he doesn't recognised it, thix hax been going on for about a year, so l have kinda got used to it. We have been togethef 54yrs. So sad this is a wicked disease ♡♡♡

Emily M

Registered User
Jan 20, 2015
This must be so upsetting for you.

It seems to be a common problem possibly because the short term memory is poor and some long term memories are more easily recalled. My Mum has lately started asking when she is going to be taken home - she is at home and has lived there for nearly 50 years. Sometimes she thinks her husband is a different man with the same name. It seems to be intermittent. She often calls me by my daughter's name and visa versa. Unfortunately, I do expect it to get worse.

A former neighbour had the disease and did not recognise his wife. He also used to say he was going back to camp (he had been in the army). He often would go into the house next door and use the toilet!

Interesting point made by lin1 about the concept of age. My Mum can never remember her age (87). She didn't want to go to the Day Care Centre because it is full of "people older than her that must be about 50!" She also said that her mother had a baby at 80 - she was in fact in her 40s.

If it is of some consolation my Mum has calmed down a bit lately. She still thinks she is away from home, but doesn't seem so agitated about it.

Take care.


Registered User
Dec 10, 2009
Whilst caring for my late wife I learned in my own way how to deal with many of the problems as they surfaced. My approach to memory problems was: like a box of tissues, first in last out. Of course my wife did not recognise this old fellow looking after her, her husband she remembered was a much younger man!
I was very fortunate in being capable of caring 24/7 on my own, year on year at home, right up to the very end. Joining the pieces of the Alzheimer's jigsaw together I found very interesting. A lot of it made sense once I entered her world. She had no medication for Alzheimer's over the 13 years plus. To know you are wanted, loved and cherished for yourself no matter what the illness brings, I believed was the best medication.
I'm not sure if this is of any use, just 'my way', so I don't post much.


Registered User
Oct 16, 2013
This is so common with husband and wife, my dad didn't know my mum, and told me he didn't know who this woman was, strangely he always knew me, why was that ?


Registered User
Dec 21, 2014
Thanks to all of you for your responses. It helps to know I am not alone in dealing with these issues. I am so thankful for this forum.