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Aunt in Denial


Registered User
Feb 7, 2015
My aunt has recently been diagnosed with vascular dementia. It seems a little bit like the initial diagnoses didn't get followed up on and my Uncle (her brother) lives locally and has been popping in to see her and has now got her back to the doctors as he has noticed things getting worse.
After going to visit (I live about an hour away) I had a stark awakening of just how bad she has got and I cant leave it all to my Uncle, I went to an assessment meeting with her last week - where she did the cognitive tests (the third time she has done one) and need to start getting some support for her.
She is still able to function (although the amount of weight she has lost suggests she isn't eating 3 meals a day anymore) but doesn't want to acknowledge that there is a problem - we speak to her and she seems to agree with what we say but there isn't a problem - the things she isn't doing anymore are because she is bored of them, she has always had a bad memory and she doesn't need any help.

What can I do - I don't want to force things on her but she does need some support - just like a whiteboard to write notes on, a calendar clock so she knows what day it is but she just wont accept it.

Any ideas greatly appreciated.


Registered User
Jan 28, 2015
Hi Gem101, your situation is almost identical to mine, so I sympathise.

Does she live alone? Does she have any regular visitors or neighbours who keep an eye on her and you can call to check she is OK if you can't get there?

Will she agree to letting people into her house to discuss her situation (such as social services to carry out an assessment of her needs)?

My aunt won't let anyone in (even with me she only lets me go as far as the hall because I think she is ashamed of the state of her house) so I haven't got any further than one visit to the GP and memory clinic.

My aunt forgets what day it is so I got her a day clock which she gratefully accepted saying "that's useful, it's easy to lose a day here and there, isn't it?"

There are ways of assisting and safeguarding without it seeming as though you are forcing things on her, but it's a fine line.

In the end, you may have to accept that there's a limit to what you can do if it has been decided that she still has mental capacity. Just see what you can do to monitor the situation as closely as possible so that if she does suddenly take a turn for the worse you can at least react quickly and get her the help she needs.

My aunt has two very good neighbours who are always keeping an eye out for her and I have put a GPS tracker in the coat she always wears when she goes out so if she starts wandering or get lost while out shopping, I can at least direct help to where she might be.

I'm sure you'll get lots of other useful suggestions from others here as well. Please keep us updated.


Registered User
Jan 14, 2010
East Kent
Hello Gem. Welcome to TP .
I am sorry to say it may be your Aunt could be using the excuse that she is bored with doing those things, when in reality she may no longer know how to any more.

Was wondering if your Aunt is having problems cooking meals , so not eating much.
If this is the case maybe try meals on wheels thats if they still deliver hot meals in your area rather than meals u have to heat up yourself like they do in some areas.
or arrange perhaps via Social services to have a carer come in to heat up a ready prepared meal.


Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
South coast
I dont think its exactly denial - if she is anything like my mum she just isnt aware of what is wrong. Although she knew there was something wrong she didnt know exactly what it was.
Im afraid that she too refused all help. Fortunately she has a good friend who checked up on her, but even that was difficult as she accused her friend of stealing from her and said she didnt want her in her home.