How do I respond to my children no longer visit their grandmother with their children because she does not recognize them?

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I feel they need to visit more often so she may remember them. Also to hold her hand and let her know they care. Even though she may not recognize them right away, she may after sitting awhile..

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First, I think that it MIGHT help (but maybe not) if everyone had a better understanding of the nature of this memory loss.

You are hoping that "she may remember them." Not likely. I suppose it depends on the exact form of dementia she has, but if large blocks of memory are gone, they are not coming back. If she has lost memory of the last 10 years, then she is simply never going to remember great-grandkids younger than 10. As memory recedes and she goes further and further back in time, even people she knew back then no longer look like she remembers them. She may remember your children as toddlers -- how can she recognize these adults who are visiting her? Maybe she will have flickers of memories, but it probably isn't realistic to hope that frequent visits will improve her memory. So, she might recognize them if they sit a while, but I don't think I'd hold that out as a goal or incentive for visiting.

But even if she can't conceptualize "this is my daughter's son's child" she can relate to "this is someone who is nice to me and always makes me smile." In my mind, that is a better goal and better reward than the hope of being recognized. Go to stroke her arm, or hold her hand, and to tell her that you care.

Go not in the hope that she will know who you are, but because you know who she is.

Do you think it would help your family to talk frankly about the sad but very real nature of the memory loss, and to focus on the nature of compassion and caring? If you visit and she happens to have a spark of memory of you while you are there, that is a bonus, but it is not goal of the visit.

This is so very, very painful for everyone. I hope you find some ways to ease the discomfort for the visitors so they may deliver -- and savor -- moments of joy for this dear old woman.
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Hi andiann, when my father in laws mother was struck with ALZ, she lived for years. When the time came that she no longer recognized my fil, he would leave the nh in tears every time. It was so difficult for him to see her like that that his visits became far and few between. It wasn't a case " oh well, she dosen't know me anyway" his sisters stayed upset with him a lot. I think some people just have different ways of coping. Have you talked with her about how it affects her emotionally? I can see where a nh can be scary for children. How old are her kids. I hope you can work this out. You need each other more than ever to get thru what's ahead. Much love, lisa
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How old are the kids? What is grama's stage of dementia? Does she remember you or other's? Do your kids visit without the grandkids? What do they say about not visiting?
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Wow that's rough. On one hand you tell yourself, why bother? But on the other hand, it IS your grandma and you love her. I guess it would depend on the person and how they will react to their grandmother not knowing who they are. Some people will still go to see her regardless, some just can't handle it. Either way, it's probably not a good idea to lay on the guilt. It should be something they WANT to do, not feel obligated to do. I guess I would go regardless, but then again I'm old. ha
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