Advice please


Registered User
Jul 18, 2005
Hello, I wonder if anyone can help me please. My mother is 77 years of age and a few months ago when my father tried to go to bed she became upset asking who he was and what he was doing there. My father (78) thought initially she had just woken up and had been dreaming but since then there have been many episodes (mainly in the evening) where she doesn't appear to know who he is. She often stands at the window looking for her 'husband' coming home and the most common problem is that she says she needs to go 'home'. Sometimes she says her mother is home alone and she can't leave her so has to go but her mother has been dead over 25 years.

She has had my father out driving her around looking for her 'home' and when they get back to the street where they currently live (and have done for over 20 years) she spots the house and is quite happy. I don't know how long my father has been covering this up but has had to call me or my sisters several times now to ask us to tell out mother who he is etc.

On one occassion she told me she nearly died when "John" came back. I asked what she meant and she said she though he had died years ago but he just came back. She was talking about my father who has never been apart from her in 58 years of marriage. She kept saying he'd been away for years.

She has stopped cooking and he does it all but apart from this she is fine. My father says she is great all day but evenings are the time she becomes this way.

We have tried everything to get her to go to the doctor to no avail. She claims we are accusing her of going "off her head" (we are not) and says there's nothing wrong with her. I have searched many websites and read the symptoms of different forms of dementia but am at a loss.

Can anyone give me an idea as to what this is? Does it sound like the symptoms of Alzheimers?

Any help would be greatfully appreciated.

Thank you.

I know


Registered User
May 20, 2004
Hello Klosblue and welcome to TP

if she won't agree to talk to her GP then I would write to him and explain the symptoms. Ask him if he can possibly make an excuse for her to go in for "a check up" or something, otherwise to be aware so that when she next does go to see him for whatever reason he has the facts in front of him. It's a route many of us have had to follow and most GP's are very understanding however there is a very crazy rule somewhere that stops professionals including Social Services taking any action unless it is agreed to so be prepared for the frustration that will follow.

Partners and nearest and dearest naturally cover up for their loved ones - we all do it to a degree sometimes but once you can accept there is something wrong and it needs to be addressed you can move forward to try and gain the support that will be much needed.

Check out any threads for "sundowning" as it is a common occurrence for these episodes to happen as the day wears on. Some relate it to tiredness others to lack of daylight but whatever the reason it can cause all manner of distress and worry and upset.



Registered User
Jul 18, 2005
Hi klosblue
I'm sorry i can't offer you any advice but maybe a friendly ear...

I am in the same situation as you as you may see from my posting about 5 minutes ago. I feel like i have already lost my aunt even though she's fit and well. She hasn't not recognised my uncle, but she can't cook or write any more and he seems to bend over backwards to do things for her, even finishing her sentences which can't be helpful. My uncle says he's going back to the doctor tomorrow for advice after her blood and urine tests have come back all clear today. It's taken since May to get this far as, like your Mum, she insists there's nothing wrong with her.
I feel like i'm the only person in the family to be tough with her and insist she goes for tests etc as everyone else seems to be happy 'not to upset her' but I feel that time is slipping away and sooner we get a diagnosis then whatever she has can hopefully be slowed down.

I hope that this helps in some small way, even if to help you see that you're not alone.
Take care


Registered User
Jul 18, 2005
Thank you

Thank you so very much for your words. I'm determined not to get into denial but what I can't understand is that most of the time my mum appears to be completely fine. Other than the details I wrote in my post there is absolutely no other problems. I have read some of the posts regarding "sundowning" and so far these seem to refer to people who have been diagnosed and are into the disease with other symptoms.

When we correct her and tell her she doesn't have another home she soon returns to 'normal'. I have read that you shouldn't 'humour' someone with this horrible condition but that you should be truthful. I hope this is correct as that is what we have been doing. I try to tell her her memory's playing tricks with her and that we all love her and are telling her the truth when we say she doesn't have another home.

I am grateful for any help whatsoever. At the moment it's me who is very confused.

Thank you again.


Registered User
Jul 18, 2005
Hi again klosblue

We have only this week got my aunt to the clinic, and boy has it been a long hard slog getting this far!

I'm not a temperamental person but it took me getting very upset and crtying at her over sunday lunch in a pub to get her to go. And i was completely honest, it tore me up inside but i told her she couldn't string a sentence together any more, i was scared of her forgetting my kids names ( she dotes upon them!), people were going to take avantage of her (she lets anyone into the house) and walked out threatening never to come back again (no way could i have carried out this threat).

This only happened lsat Sunday and i have been beating myself up about being so hard on her, but after all we've now taken that one step forward and i hope that if my uncle goes to the doctor tomorrow that will be two steps.

I feel so helpless as i'm 100 miles away but they are coming here on Wednesday to childmind while my husband has a heart operation in Cambridge. I'm also feeling guilty about this as i feel like i'm overloading my uncle but i have no one here who i know well enough to look after my kids overnight.


Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
Hi Klosblue

sorry to hear of your problems.

Just a few comments - just my own views.

Firstly, the medical profession tend not to make a diagnosis of dementia early on. It is normal to try and rule everything else out, because there are a number of things that can cause confusion and other dementia-like symptoms. When everything else has been cleared, then dementia is in the frame.

I'd recommend your following their lead.

But it would be worth your noting, after the event, any behaviours that may not be normal. Make sure they are dated and timed. Always worth having such records as they can show repeated occurrences of this or that unusual behaviour, and may help the doctor by building up an image of how she is.

I have read that you shouldn't 'humour' someone with this horrible condition but that you should be truthful

good grief, where did that one come from?

In my experience that advice is absolutely the opposite of what one should do. If you tell the truth and it doesn't agree with what they believe to be the truth then they will become anxious, angry, more confused, depressed, etc. If it is dementia then their truth will be way different from yours. Why upset them by trying to put them right? It won't work anyway! Follow their lead. If she thinks you are the Angel Gabriel, then say you've come to bless her!

However, if your experience is that telling her that her memory is playing tricks works for you all, then just carry on. What works for one person doesn't always work for another.

Symptoms of dementia don't follow an identical pattern for everyone. Different things happen at different times and in different combinations - or singly. Sundowning CAN happen in isolation.

The main rule about dementia is that there are no rules.

Dementia symptoms do come and go in the early stages.

Much of what you described in your first post could point at dementia, as you have realised. But do check all the other options as well as holding in mind that it may be Alzheimer's.


Registered User
Oct 9, 2003
Birmingham Hades
Hi klosblu,
I don't think I can give you much more advice.
The first port of call is always your GP,he/she is the start of obtaining all help.
As Bruce says you will only get a diagnoses after all possible tests have been made.
Could you get the GP too drop in under the pretext of 75 + check up?
We have to use whatever to help and white lies are one way.
It certainly sounds like a classical case of sundowning when Mother wants to go home,I still get this most evenings with my wife,sometimes changing the subject helps.
Post when you feel the need
Best wishes


Registered User
Mar 16, 2005
Hi klosblue,

I have read that you shouldn't 'humour' someone with this horrible condition but that you should be truthful
Brucie said:
good grief, where did that one come from?
Bruce beat me to it!
I agree that mostly it is kinder to go along with what's being said - followed by a swift distraction - it avoids conflict and is easier on everyone's blood pressure.
Best wishes and welcome to TP,


Registered User
Dec 11, 2003
Tully, Qld, Australia
Dear Klosblue,

Welcome to TP from me too.

It really does sound as though you need to get the GP up to date with symptoms as soon as you can. Do also have a look at the very useful Fact Sheets on this web which will provide a wealth of information.

Best wishes,



Registered User
Jul 15, 2005
Your situation sounds so close to my own. We knew my Mom was having memory problems but couldn't get them to get her to the doctor for a diagnosis. One day a year and half ago she called me wanting me to get the strange man out of the house ( her husband ). That was the beginning of this sad journey. Since then she has had two MRI's and all dimentia's except Alzheimer's was eliminated. She has seen a neurologist who has confirmed that she has Alz and explained that they can only do a clinical diagnosis to determine Alz and she has all the symptoms. She was put on Aricept and Nameda and we saw an improvement within 30 days. It has helped to slow the progress and given her some quality days that I don't think we would have otherwise. I can't stress the value of an early diagnosis enough!
I just wish we could have gotten her in for testing sooner so she would not have progressed so far before we could help her.
Let me add that the psychologist told us that it is very common for them to forget their spouse. I don't understand how they can forget the one closest to them but I guess that is the nature of the disease.
Bless your heart, I know what a difficult time your having !


Registered User
Oct 17, 2003

A familiar situation I'm afraid. My lovely Mum died in February at age 81 but her 'memory troubles' started in 2000 when for 3 days she was convinced I was her sister and that she was stating with me in Tamworth. A year earlier she had been (wrongly) diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease after going to the Doctor with dizziness and shuffly gait. She actually had Lewy Body Dementia. In the early days the memory problems were a rare occurence but over time became monthly, then weekly and then daily. I would urge you to try and get a some sort of diagnosis or set things in motion. I'm sure my 'ostrich' like approach in the early days lead to my lack of support when I really needed it later on. I of course pretended to myself that things would get better or return to normal but of course they never did.

All the best



Registered User
Oct 23, 2003
West Sussex
Hi Klosblue, yes, I agree with the others, have a chat with the GP. Hope things soon get sorted out more for you. Love She. XX

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