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mum no longer recognises dad


Registered User
Nov 14, 2015
Hi I'm fairly new to this forum and I wondered if anyone has had experience of this? Mum is 93 and diagnosed with dementia. It's got a lot worse recently and she now doesn't recognise dad (aged 95) or even me some days. They share a room in a care home and I visit most days.

She now asks me why she has to share a room with this man and she doesn't understand why he has a bed in 'her' room. Some days she remembers and calls him by his name and seems perfectly fine. The staff take him away in the afternoons to sit with the other residents, which he enjoys. Mum won't be moved out of the room if she can help it and dislikes being with the other people in the home. It's a good job Dad is very deaf as he doesn't realise what is going on. If he heard what she was saying he'd be really upset.

On bad days, she insists she doesn't know him, despite being married for 63 years, and if I try to explain she says 'oh well lets change the subject I don't want to talk about him'. Other days she will have a conversation with him and is surprised when she finds out he's from the same town as she is.

Finances won't allow to pay for two rooms. I'm unsure really what to say to her, whether to keep explaining who he is, or just to gloss over it as much as I can and try to distract her. Dad enjoys being with her, and is still trying to look out for her even though he is ill himself.

Has anyone had any similar experiences? Grateful for your thoughts.


Registered User
Sep 17, 2010
Yes, Mum didn't always recognise Dad or realise he was her husband. At times, very sweetly Mum thought she was being somewhat "fast" going to bed with Dad (even though he was "very nice"!).

Sometimes not reacting to what Mum said - and if necessary distracting her - worked; Mum's awareness was variable and there was always a hope she'd regain her sense of who people were before the forgetfulness was likely to cause problems.

Sometimes reassurance on whatever point was worrying her worked.

Sometimes nothing worked.


Registered User
Jul 20, 2011
I watched a very similar situation play out in a care home a few months ago and like your parents one was cross with the other who simply didn't notice or perhaps didn't hear. The care home staff said it had been happening for months but the couple were not unduly distressed by the situation overall but some days were easier than others - just as you have described.

Others will have more direct experience but it seems to me it is part of the dementia - things said and quickly forgotten, very patchy with some days great and others awful. It must be so hard when you think a 'strange' man is sharing your personal space but from what you have said your mum is managing well generally and the care staff have a great understanding of both your parents' needs which perhaps is the key. If your Dad is not being affected by this and your Mum is forgetting it almost as soon as she says it and your Dad is getting his chance to be with others which he enjoys then I wouldn't worry about it, just keep an eye on it. At least in the care home there are distractions and other people they can both relate to, it would be so much worse if they were in their own home and isolated from others :(

I think it is lovely that he is still protecting her and at some level he probably knows that this is the dementia talking and not his lovely wife xxxx waffling on a bit sorry but at least this will bump up your post and give others with more experience the opportunity to chime in. Thinking of you xx


Registered User
Nov 14, 2015
thank you alsoconfused and fizzie, it's helpful to read your comments and know other people are going through this too. I think you're right to just wait and see how it plays out. They're not too distressed at the moment, hopefully they'll settle down a bit. I think it upsets me more than it upsets them at the moment!

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