any advice?

my little girl

Registered User
Aug 23, 2007
I am posting this on behalf of my mother in law to see if anybody can advise what to do.

My husband's grandma suffers from some form of dementia, although not sure which as she refuses to admit anything is wrong. Her symptoms are similar to those suffered by my own Grandma 10 years ago but whereas my grandma got worse following a stroke and was therefore diagnosed as having mixed dementia, to the best of the family's knowledge, Gran has not had a stroke so unsure if AD is closer.

The diagnosis of her dementia however is not the main problem. For the past couple of years she has suffered from incontinence however, again she will not admit a problem. She is a very proud woman and on a number of occasions, my father in law has found soiled and wet clothes hidden in her flat as she hides them in an attempt to ensure nobody knows. My mother in law has bought her a number of packets of a well known incontinence pad but as she does not acknowledge she has a problem she does not think she needs them.

Due to her attempts to cover her tracks, her flat has started to smell. My mother in law then bought her a number of air fresheners including those you plug in but Gran walks around the flat removing them saying she does not smell.

She lives in sheltered accommodation and was until recently struggling to get in and out of the bath so my father in law arranged with the local council for a shower to be fitted instead. She then said the shower was too complicated to use so would just have "stand up washes". To prove how easy the shower is my father in law showed my 22 month old son once and Joshua copied what he did. She now has a woman to come in from Social Services to make sure she has a shower once a week.

The major problem is she won't admit there is one and she is still aware enough to say she is not going in a home. (at least after her stroke we managed to convince my Grandma that the lovely home she was put in was a hotel and she just needed a holiday)

On Sunday she thought my son was his cousin (who is now 19 by the way) and the said cousin was my husband. Just not sure who she thought I was - possibly my sister in law.

All Gran ever says is "I don't know" the thing is the rest of the family doesn't know what to do either. Somebody please advise :confused:


Registered User
Jan 5, 2007
my little girl said:
My mother in law then bought her a number of air fresheners including those you plug in:
Please be careful with plug in air fresheners...seen this on another site.

Received from a friend who is in the property insurance business. It is well worth reading. The original message was written by a lady whose brother and his wife learned a hard lesson this past week.

Their house burned down.. ..nothing left but ashes. They have good insurance so the house will be replaced and most of the contents. That is the good news. However, they were sick when they found out the cause of the fire. The insurance investigator sifted through the ashes for several hours. He had the cause of the fire traced to the master bedroom. He asked her sister-in-law what she had plugged in the bedroom. She listed the normal things....curling iron, blow dryer. He kept saying to her, "No, this would be something that would disintegrate at high temperatures". Then her sister-in-law remembered she had a Glade Plug-In, in the bedroom.

The investigator had one of those "Aha" moments. He said that was the cause of the fire. He said he has seen more house fires started with the plug-in type room fresheners than anything else. He said the plastic they are made from is THIN plastic. He also said that in every case there was nothing left to prove that it even existed.

When the investigator looked in the wall plug, the prongs left from the plug-in were still in there. Her sister-in-law had one of the plug-ins that had a small night light built in it. She said she had noticed that the light would dim and then finally go out. She would walk in to the bedroom a few hours later, and the light would be back on again. The investigator said that the unit was getting too hot, and would dim and go out rather than just blow the light bulb. Once it cooled down it would come back on.

That is a warning sign . The investigator said he personally wouldn't have any type of plug in fragrance device anywhere in his house. He has seen too many places that have been burned down due to them.



Registered User
Apr 15, 2007
Hello my little girl,
I think that your mother & father-in-law would be best having a assessment done on Gran. Incontinence is a problem with dementia, but, also not uncommon in elderly woman without dementia, this could be discussed with Gran's GP along with the families concerns. Sounds like she would probably be unwilling, so some sort of coaxing would be needed. About the shower...this is friendly advise and I mean no malice... by your FIL pointing out a two year old could work the shower... this only highlights Gran's disability and is not a good approach. IF, Gran does have dementia she would find it hard to learn new things and have difficulty with her reasoning ability and the more she tries to fathom something out the more likelihood of confusion. I hope that you can work something out to ease your concerns. Regards. Taffy.


Registered User
Jul 2, 2006
Newport, Gwent

Just to put another slant on the shower/bath situation. My mum has developed along with her AD a complete phobia of water running on her body, she is terrified. So strip washes it is (when she is in the right mood!!)

I would also try and get a doc to see her, you never know, there maybe another underlying problem that could be cleared up with antibiotics. I would suggest calling the doc yourself, explaining the problem, and asking him/her to make a house call on a 'general checkup' pretex.

Best wishes


my little girl

Registered User
Aug 23, 2007

Gran has now been diagnosed with Dementia & has an appointment with a specialist next Tuesday.

To be totally honest her symptoms have reminded me how cruel a condition dementia is. I watched my own beloved Grandma battle the disease and am now having to watch my husband's gran do the same. Three weeks ago it was Joshua's 2nd Birthday & despite the balloons and badges she did not know why she was out. She has just turned 95 and some members of the family (who never go to see her) think she will get to 100. However, as awful as this may sound I am convinced that this will be her last Christmas. Last year she told me & my husband that she had just celebrated her last Christmas. My husband then told her that was a shame cos she'd miss his sister's visit. My sister in law was Gran's entire world and did everything for her but emigrated to New Zealand 2 years ago. Gran's reaction was amazing - once she knew her grand-daughter would be here this Christmas she announced that she would "hang on for that". Despite her dementia she has never forgotten the fact that Christine is coming over - it is too important to her. Unfortunately I do believe, although hope I am wrong in this, that when Christine returns to NZ, Gran will simply give up.


Registered User
Jul 31, 2007
If only !

Dear My Little Girl,
The fact is that your Gran realises her Grandaughter is coming over and hanging on for that visit. Due to this herrendous illness, the fact she remembers her is very touching. I read your message with sadness as it affects so many family members. Due to her age and not knowing what tom-morrow will bring with this illness, if it was me in your position (and my husband is in E.M.I. Unit last stage and he is 62) and Peter remembered Christmas with his Grandchildren, I would be happy that that was his last memory. Saying that, it is only my personel opinion.
I wish you all the best. Christine


Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
I have no idea whether what you fear will come to pass, but I do think the mind can have a very strong effect on the body. This was just my personal expereince but I am reasonably certain that my mother died when she did simply because she had decided to. Her carer said to her " Jenny will be here tomorrow" and my mother said "I don't want her to have to deal with me like this" and within a few hours she had died. Although she was gravely ill, her death at that time came as a surprise to everyone.

my little girl

Registered User
Aug 23, 2007
Why do they do this - it's just not fair

:mad:AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!:mad:Went to see Gran yesterday. Her appointment to see the specialist tomorrow has been cancelled and put back to 18 December!!!!!!!!! Why does they do this on the NHS? This is the 3rd appointment a 95 year old lady has been given to diagnose her dementia properly and give the family some guidance as to what we can do to help her. It is simply unfair that a wonderful woman who worked all her life & paid into the system is treated in this way when others who haven't paid a penny seem to get priority treatment in this country. Sorry to get political but something has got to be wrong somewhere. :mad: