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Advice please


New member
Aug 13, 2020
My 82 year old mum has, for the past year or more, been increasingly confused. She now spends daytime being ok-ish, but come evening / nighttime she’s thoroughly lost. Looking for her mother and granny, not knowing who y dad is (he’s also 82 and they’re married 47 years), wanting to go home, but not knowing where that is....the list goes on.
She always know who I am, who my children are and who my husband is...and is always much better “behaved”...I know it’s not behaviour as such, just don’t know how else to describe it...when we’re around. She’s never once let the younger children know any of what’s going on with her. She’ll suddenly snap back to knowing who my dad is and start telling him about the awful day she’s had with that terrible other man who was there. I sometimes feel like she knows most of us but that all the relationships and generations are getting muddled to the extent she doesn’t know which person or generation she is herself.

I tried casually checking the date for my own information (making out that it was because I was tired myself and had forgotten) but she hadn’t a clue Of day, month or year.

No formal diagnosis as yet, just the odd course of antibiotics in case it’s a uti...but my 82 year old dad rarely gets as much as 1 hour of sleep each night, as he tries to stop her wandering the streets looking for her long dead relatives..

She isn’t consistently bad enough to need residential care but I was wondering if there is any support my dad can get to allow him to have even a little sleep, never mind a break. We live on an island, with 3 young children and many animals, otherwise we would be there for him ourselves. We do get over as much as we can, they come to us at least once a week and we phone every night, either just to chat or to,provide long distance support if she’s in a bad place and he needs a break even for the length of a phone call.

Not sure if there’s any support available in their home, even for an hour or so.... right now, he can’t even go to the toilet without wondering where she is.

Thank you for any advice you can give. We’re based in Scotland, if that makes any difference


Registered User
Feb 9, 2017
Hi @Liosach it sound like your mum is suffering with sundowning. Have you tried speaking to her GP, medication may help. If your mother is over the threshold financially and you need to pay for care then you can organise whatever you feel you need. If medication does not help at night you probably need to think very seriously about residential care. I'm not sure how the process differs in Scotland, the alzheimer's society helpline may be able to advise.


Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
South coast
From what you have described I suspect that your mums dementia is much worse than you think. I think your dad is probably having a very hard time of it, but is hiding the majority of the problems from you.

Agree that your mum is probably suffering from sundowning and it also sounds like she is going into "host mode" when she sees you, so you dont realise how bad she is. This phenomenon is well known to everyone who is the main carer for someone with dementia. I think its a basic survival instinct - a remnant of the time when if you were seen as weak then you would be thrown out of the herd. Unfortunately, it takes a lot of effort, its not something that can be maintained for long and it leaves them tired and more confused afterwards.

There is medication that can calm down the worst affects of sundowning, but it might not improve her sleep. Your dad cannot survive on such little sleep and I honestly think you will soon be looking at residential care.


Registered User
May 21, 2018
Is your mum's GP aware of all these issues? It sounds as though your mum needs a proper check up and any medication which would help. You mention "no formal diagnosis as yet" so hopefully the GP is already aware. What makes you think there may not be support available in their home?

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