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  1. #1

    mum in denial about her memory loss - where to go for help?

    Hi, my mum is an 82yr old widow who lives on her own. she has a well kept clean and tidy bungalow and is very independant. However, over the last couple of years me and my sister have become increasingly worried about her short term memory loss. The most obvious thing we've noticed is the amount of shopping she buys. Her kitchen cupboards and fridge/freezer are full to bursting point and are full of things she doesn't need. i.e 10 tins of tomatoes, 5 jars of marmalde, 10 packs of bicuits, in other words everything in excess. She goes out shopping 2 or 3 times a week with a shopping bag on wheels and fills it up regardless of whether she needs it or not and it's always the same things she buys. We've tried telling her to make a list and check her cupboards before she goes out but she get really angry and tells us to mind our own business and that she like to see her cupboards full. Me or my sister go round every month and have a clear out, trying not to offend her. We've tried telling her she's getting a little forgetful but she just denies it and says there's nothing wrong with her and to mind our own business. We've also noticed that she tells you the same things at least 5 times in the space of ten minutes and can't always remember what day it is. We've tried to persuade her to go to the doctors on the pretence that she needs an MOT, but she won't hear of it and said she'll go herself when she's good and ready and that we've to stop interfering. As you can imagine we're getting really worried about her. My sister has phoned the doctors surgery to see if a Dr could come out and see her at home but was told by the receptionist that this wasn't possible as it wasn't an emergency. Can anyone please give us any advice what to do next - it would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    Isn't it frustrating when the person involved just doesn't want to know! In these circumstances, you often find that what leads to the Authorities (eg GP/Social Services/Consultant etc) getting involved is that there is some crisis which happens. In the absence of your mum agreeing to see the doctor and the fact that she is still deemed to have the capacity to make her own decisions, there is nothing that can be done to force her to seek medical attention.

    What you and your sister can do however is get a diary and start making a log of all the unusual things that are happening. Make a note of what time of day they occurred and how long they lasted for. Also write down any observations that might explain why things were happening - eg she was over-tired, she was out of her routine, was extremely confused that day, things like that.

    The diary can, if you feel your mum is at risk by living on her own, be sent to her GP as evidence of what is happening and should, over time, give the GP an indication of how she continues to deteriorate and why she is now vulnerable and at risk. This can often be the catalyst to get the Authorities involved.

    About the food buying, my mother did the same thing, but we discovered that she was having hallucinations about there being other people living in the house and this was why she was buying so much food. Just letting you know that there might be underlying reasons for things happening that you should look out for.

    Hope this helps,


  3. #3
    Thankyou for your advice Fiona, I think that's a really good idea to start a diary. At the moment mum has days where you wouldn't think there was anything wrong with her and then days which are a bit muddled. The TV adverts say if 'YOU' have a problem with your memory speak to your doctor but she doesn't think she has a problem it's 'US' that thinks she has the problem. We'll hopefuuly soon manage to persuade her to go see her doctor and then she will get a proper diagnosis

  4. #4

    My mum

    Hi im having the same problem with my mum aged 74, she forgets things like birthdays grandchildren's names but over buy on food, toilet roll etc, she came round last week and smelt dirty i tried to persued her to have a shower with no avail but managed to wash and dry her hair for her but it's now getting that she isn't changing her clothes when challenged she says that they are clean on when clearly they aren't you try to help her but she gets angry at you then cries telling me that there is nothing wrong with her. tried to speak to her doctor but untill she goes in herself and talk to them theres nothing they can do. but i am seeing her go down and i feel like im useless not being able to help her. if anybody has any suggestions on the best way to help her get the help she needs and deserves that would be a great help xxxxx

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    North Derbyshire
    Wow, Fiona#s advice was so insightful. Take note. My advice is pathetic by comparison.

    My husband has no sign of any (diagnosed) mental illness, but he likes shopping and is obsessed with buying things that the local T*!&o don't always have in. As a result we have 5 cartons of turkey foil, 3 packs of chestnuts (for the sprouts on Christmas day), 17 kitchen rolls, four jars of mint sauce, old uncle Tom Cobbley and all. I have had to shout long and hard about this, so he no longer buys mulitpacks of things without checking what we already have. At one point we had 27 tins of baked beans, for just that two of us.

    I don't think there's a lot you can do about it



  6. #6

    Insist on the GP calling you

    Similar but - my Dad. His GP practice a nightmare, but insist on the GP calling you and make an appointment and get the MSE 30 questions test done, and referral to a memory clinic assessment. She shold then be seen in 28 days...(we did not know this and GP said he was referring my dad and did not, he ended up in hosp renal probs and everything unfolded from there we are now in the system). These are similar signs to my dad and there could be other reasons, BP,urinary probs etc that cause memory probs - but get passed the receptionist some how lie if you have to get to GP its their job. Dad's surgery awful. I had a regular check up with myGP and explained my stresses and she was brillant in providing info - so that's another route.
    Good luck but get her in the system soon.

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2013


    I have a similar problem. My husband has many of the symptoms referred to in information leaflets - difficulty following tv programmes, remembering conversations etc. He also repeats himself, constantly telling people the same thing thing time after time. Whenever I point out any of these things he gets really angry and accuses me of trying to get him into a home. There is no way he will acknowledge that he has a problem and go to see a doctor. Our GP says there is nothing he can do unless my husband recognises the problem and goes to see him.
    Does anyone have any strategy for helping a sufferer to recognise and acknowledge the symptoms?

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Blog Entries


    My MIL was the same and the DR said the same to me that they cannot force any appointments on her, but I suggested that she may have a water infection that might be causing her problems, made several appointments for her, but she wouldn't go finally got her there and got her to take a water sample. She did actually have a water infection which they give her medication for, she wasn't as bad after but that was the opening for me to mention her memory proplem to the DR my MIL was very angry with me, but I think they know and are afraid to admit it, which is understandable, they sent her for a scan and then an appointment at the memory clinic, she does have some clouding on her brain causing this short term memory problem, but she still gets angry and wont admit any problems, her favourite saying is that she is having a senior citizen moment. She actually has an appointment today because we feel thing has got worse so that is why she is having another assessment, and to others she seems ok, she can still do a crossword and to prove that there is nothing wrong she recites the alphabet backward, but if you spend any time with her she repeats the same questions over and over, perhaps if you sit down with your mum and ask her if she is ok and ask if she is worried about anything might help, but it will take time and there is lots of help from the people on here, best of luck..x


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