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Advice needed


Registered User
Nov 5, 2015
Thanks for taking time to read this!
My mother in law is 68 and has Alzheimer and Parkinson disease. She was diagnosed about 2 years ago after much messing about and misdiagnosis from her GP. Since then as a family we haven't really moved forward in terms of discussing her diagnosis fully or even addressing the ever increasing pressures and challenges her condition throws at us.
To cut a very long story short the main problems are:
They live 2 hours drive away from us on outskirts of Harrogate in a very small village with little amenities.
Due to distance my father in law is her main carers - we and my siblings in law take it in turns most weekends to visit to help out but we all work and all have small children of our own to think about.
My father in law is a very proud and stubborn man and will not accept help from anyone - example: mother in laws mobility is declining and I simply suggested we get her a full hard pair of slippers to replace her soft slip-on pair, but I was shot down for suggesting it. It was only when the physio came for an assessment and told him to replace the slippers did he take any notice.

Hope I'm not waffling too much - I guess what I'm needing advice for is that I am worried about both my mother and father in law in terms of both their health and mental well being.
Father in law shouts at my mother in law and frequently get angry for the slightest thing - caught him screaming at her at the weekend because she forgot to take her tablets when it is actually his responsibility to give them to her because she forgets to take them!!!
He is refusing to move closer to family - which I completely understand but he refuses help.
My husband and his other children are reluctant to sit down and have it out so to say for fear of upsetting him.
He wouldn't take kindly to myself or his other daughter and son in law speaking to him.
How do I get him to accept help and possible anger management/relief for himself?

Again many thanks for taking time to read my waffle - hope have made sense!
I am assuming we are all on this site for similar reasons therefore wishing you all the best for the future!


Registered User
Jul 23, 2015
Does your dad listen to health professionals?

Hi Reklaw80 and Welcome to TP,

It sounds as if whatever you or any other family member may say to your father in-law he doesn't accept it and clearly gets agitated by even mentioning the situation. So, If your father in-law listened to the physio, would he listen to his / mother in-law's GP?
I would contact the GP and make them aware of the situation; ensure your father in-law is registered as your mother in-law's carer as well. He may accept that he needs support if a Dr recommends it to him. Otherwise District Nurses (referral through GP) can visit to give medication if required. Again your father in-law may accept help from them as they are also health professionals.

There are also concerns about how your father in-law is treating your mother in-law which could be construed as potentially abusive / safeguarding issues for a vulnerable adult. You could speak to you local social services for more advice.

A very tricky situation but clearly not sustainable as it is.

Good luck and have courage!

Amy in the US

Registered User
Feb 28, 2015
I don't know that I have a great deal of advice for you but couldn't read and run. Welcome to TP and although I hope you will find a great deal of advice, support, and expertise here, I am sorry you had to find us, if you know what I mean.

No worries, you made perfect sense in your post.

It does sound a very difficult situation with your parents-in-law, the distance and the disease being obvious challenges. It sounds as though, if you don't mind me saying so, that the family is not comfortable/willing/able/whatever (no judgement meant!) to really sit down and communicate about your MIL and her needs and how to best care for her.

It doesn't sound an ideal situation in terms of your FIL being the main carer with, I am assuming, no services. As I'm in the States I don't understand the UK system very well, but someone will be along to ask about a carer's assessment and all that sort of thing. I realise your FIL will likely be very resistant, but it sounds as though he needs some help, whether that's domestic, caregiving, or some combination.

I don't say this to be upsetting, but if he is stubborn, and refuses to change, and everybody in the family is afraid to talk to him, and nobody ever talks about anything, then nothing will change until there is a crisis. That is one possibility. Many of us here have had to wait for the crisis to occur, before change could happen.

However, it sounds as though some change would be beneficial for everyone, whether that is carers coming in, a cleaner, day care (if available), whatever. How to achieve that change, as you say, can be very tricky.

In one of my caregiver education workshops we were told that in addition to considering carefully the message to be delivered (Dad, you need some help with Mum), one must also consider who delivers the message. The nurse said that adult children are almost never the right person, to be the messenger. She suggested an adult sibling, a grandchild, niece or nephew, friend or neighbour, or an "official" person such as a physician, nurse, therapist, chemist, police or fire fighter, clergy person if relevant, et cetera, as all being better candidates as messengers. So that is an idea to consider. Is there a grandchild or nephew old enough to say, Granddad/Uncle, I'm so worried about you and we want to help? Can you enlist the GP or other medical person to help? (While they may not feel they can legally/ethically talk to you, you can talk to them!) That sort of thing.

You might find some help for yourself, if not your FIL and MIL, from the Alzheimer's UK people, the Samaritans, and perhaps from a Parkinson's group?

This is not a perfect solution by any means but you are making a start, and good for you. I am sure this is very stressful for you and the entire family. I hope you will find some support and advice here; for what it's worth, you are not alone. Lots of people on here will have been in a similar situation to yours. If you are so inclined, you might have a read through some older threads, or a search, to see if you turn up any helpful ideas.

This is all so difficult and I wish you and your family all the best.


Registered User
Nov 5, 2015
Thank you for taking time to read my message and for your advice!
Since my message we have had a few developments - My mother in law has had two falls at home and whilst not serious and she was unhurt, I think it has frightened my father in law. As a result my husband has been able to have a calm and fairly constructive conversation with his dad and he has agreed to go to a dementia café and see what its like. He has also been to see his GP who has recommended carer support groups and advised him on registering himself as a carer.
Whilst it is early days it is definitely a step in the right direction!!

Many thanks again for your advice - you gave me lots to think about and its much appreciated!
All the best


Registered User
Jul 20, 2011
That is good news. Is there any possibility of her accessing some day care a couple of times a week or a lunch club - it might give him a break. Actually they might both enjoy a singing for the brain session - he would meet more people and she would have a new activity which would be stress free.

The more someone with dementia gets stressed by outside forces, the more incapacitated they become and so it is really important that he communicates with her calmly. Alzheimer's society produces a fantastic sheet on compassionate communication which might help him

great that your husband has made such a good start
keep posting x