advice needed

Jodie Lucas

Registered User
Dec 3, 2005

This is the first time I have ever started a thread. My grandmother is 78 and has been experiencing memory problems over the past year. Her GP has prescribed citilopram to help her anxiety and has said he'll refer her to the local memory clinic if there is no improvement in a month. My mum and I sorted her medication out into a weekly pill box to help her remember to take them, but she took them all out at the weekend so we have spent the morning sorting it out again. My gran is getting more and more confused and distressed by these symptoms and fears that what happened to her mother is happening to her (her mother died with alzheimers disease nearly 30 years ago). Other things happening as well, forgetting how to use microwave etc. She lives alone in a bungalow, in a small village but still drives and we live fairly near

The main worry to me is my own mother who came out from hospital 4 weeks ago after a major op. She also does a fair amount of stuff for my other grandparents as well and she has been crying over lunch not knowing if she'll be able to cope if what happened to her gran happens to her mum. I am trying to support my mum as much as I can, but although I have worked with people with dementia I feel at a loss to know where to begin.

Sorry for going on...I know all of you have far bigger problem than us, but would really appreciate any information about the role of memory clinics and how they can help patients and their families.

Thank you for listening.


Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Dear Jodie, Sorry to hear about your Gran. It reminded me of my own mother, who also mixed her tablets up, when I got her a weekly pill box. I don`t know how it is with your Gran, but my mother was getting mixed up with the days of the week, so the pill box was no help.
Obviously, as your mother is recovering from surgery, she must be at a low par, just now and is understandably daunted at the thought of your gran becoming dependent.
I don`t hold out much hope that the Memory Clinic will help improve your gran`s memory, more likely, it will monitor it.
Can I suggest you ask your mum if you can contact your gran`s GP and then Social Services. She needs someone to give her her medication, properly, and possibly a bit of home care too. Once she is taking regular medication, her confusion may improve considerably.
Your mother is not well enough to take on the responsibility of two sets of grandparents.
I am also concerned that your gran is still driving. If a microwave causes her confusion, I don`t feel she should be at the controls of a car.
Sorry if I`ve caused you more distress, but an objective view can see the dangers.
Never apologise for cantacting TP, that`s what it`s for.
Hope you manage to help improve the situation. Sylvia


Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
SW Scotland
Jodie Lucas said:

Sorry for going on...I know all of you have far bigger problem than us, but would really appreciate any information about the role of memory clinics and how they can help patients and their families.

Thank you for listening.


Jodie, Jodie, Jodie, we none of us have bigger problems than you. You need advice and support, and so do we all. So never apologise. We're all here to support each other.

It's good that you're so concerned about your mum, she too needs support at this time. It's a scary business, realising that you are responsible for the care of someone with dementia, and especially as your mum is feeling low at the moment. But if the two of you can talk about it, and support each other, you'll get through it.

I can only echo Sylvia's advice about seeing your gran's GP, and contacting Social Services. There is a lot of help out there, but you have to ask for it. You also need to be prepared to spell out the grim realities of your gran's condition.

Sadly, I also agree with Sylvia's comments about driving. It's not just herself your gran is putting at risk, she could be a danger to other road users. In fact it's legally imperative to let DVLA know if there is a problem affecting a person's competence to drive - and a huge fine if found out!

Please go and ask for help as soon as possible, and let us know how you get on.


Registered User
May 24, 2006
Jodie in March my 90 yr old Mother was still driving despite increasing memory problems
Thankfully the DVLA finally stopped he in July and after a fall in October she succumbed to pneumonia and 5 weeks of hospital and infections finally overcame her and she passed away end of Nov

Its vital your Grandmother is stopped from driving the DVLA PDQ

Your Mother as said by others should not be shouldering this burden when she needs time to recover from her own op

Contact Doctors and Social Services and let them deal with matters


Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
Yes I also go with what evryone alse said
Contact Doctors and Social Services
I would phone Socail Services 1st as it seem you’ve been to the doctor who referred you to the Memories clinic, who just do a memory test and hopefully send your grandmother for a CT scan .

Socail services Can get someone to come in every day to give you grandmother her medication , tidy up house , meal on wheels , can someone visit your grandmother every day in the time being , while SS sort carer to come in , you could leave just one day medication out for her to take , hide the rest or take them with you .

You got to stress to social services how ill your mother is and your grandmother is very venerable on her own, needs lots of support with medication and her care. Say you want to speak to the elderly duty social worker, as it is an emergency


Registered User
Feb 26, 2006
Hi Jodie

I am astounded that your grandmother has been prescribed citalopram for anxiety! I am prescribed citalopram for depression which has nothing to do with anxiety. Ask him/her to refer to the Monthly Index of Medical Specialities (MIMS) and it is clear that it is only prescribed for the initial stages of depression and as a maintenance against recurrence. I am no medical expert but I can read! My wife suffers from severe anxiety and is on medication which is certainly not citalopram.

I sympathise with your situation and others have given you good advice and needs no addition from me.



Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
Actually, I have to say, I'm on citalopram for anxiety (plus welbutrin for depression). There has been a fair amount of research done in the states that indicates that citalopram is an effective anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) medication, and my own psychiatrist has found that to be true in his own practice, although he doesn't consider it a particularly effective anti-depressant. So, the GP may be using it "off-label" as it were, but there is research to back him up.

Also, my mother's on citalopram for depression, and it made quite a remarkable difference to her memory, much to my surprise.


Jodie Lucas

Registered User
Dec 3, 2005
re- advice needed

Hi everyone,

Thanks for all the advice, its been really helpful. My mums sister is coming down today so we're probably going to discuss it more with her (my gran is going up to her in bucks for christmas, though she's getting a taxi up there). Mum is 4 weeks post op but has recovered well and other grandparents have been ok. Mum is going to a christmas lunch with work colleagues and gran is coming over tonight for her birthday.

We do not have a definate diagnosis of dementia and although initially we thought it was memory problems she has lost a lot of the spark that she had in the last year and my grandmother has always appeared younger than she is that people are surprised when she tells them how old she is. It's the first time i've really seen my gran as old and there has been a definate deterioation in the last few months. My gran also thinks that people she knows from her social life know that she's 'going doolally' (her words) and this upsets her. My gran is ok about giving up driving due to saving money but is worried about getting out and about without it.

Thanks again to everyone who posted replies we're just going to get through christmas and see how she gets on at the memory clinic. Her GP knows of her memory problems and my mum and I went with her to the doctors last week.



Registered User
Feb 22, 2006
sort of north east ish
DickG said:
I am astounded that your grandmother has been prescribed citalopram for anxiety! I am prescribed citalopram for depression which has nothing to do with anxiety.
hi dick. several of the medications that are more normally thought of as anti-depressants are also used for anxiety. how effective any of them are as anti-depressants or anxiolytics seems to be variable and arguable. the problem is that the groups of drugs that used to be thought of as most useful for anxiety - minor traquillizers (valium, librium, ativan etc) are all quite seriously addictive, and few GPs are happy to prescribe them for more than very limited periods.