Both parents have alzheimer's


Registered User
Mar 10, 2008
My parents are both diagnosed in the early stages of Alzheimer's.

They have unrealistic expectations of their ability to live without any support at all and are asking us to move them back into a bungalow with a garden in a town two and a half hours' drive away from both my sister and I (rather than the 5 minutes from my sister, where they now live).

My sister and I know that this would not be feasible at all and are finding it extremely hard to explain, and get them to understand why we could not support such a move.

Last year they asked us to move them closer to the family, which we did. They are now suggesting that we did this without their consent.

We know that this is due to the condition, and that is is very unfortunate to have both parents affected.

Can anyone help with strategies that my sister and I can use?


Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Hello Arlette,

First my absolute sympathy that you have the worry of both parents with Alzheimers.

I know how distressing this is going to be for you. We moved 5 years ago and my husband has wanted to return ever since. He too says I moved him without his consent, although all our friends and family know full well how much he wanted to be here.

This was also a relocation to be nearer our son, and at the time we were unaware he was developing Alzheinmers.

I have tried everything under the sun to distract him, but as he remembers nothing, it is a constant nightmare.

What I have tried with my husband ................

Told him I couldn`t possibly go through the upheaval of packing and unpacking, looking for property, getting workmen in etc.

Told him how much our son, DIL and grandchildren would be hurt that he wasn`t happy living near them.

Told him it would cost too much to move.

Told him if he wanted to move I would agree, but he would have to make all the arrangements.

Asked what would happen if we became ill? Who could we call on?

Actually I did agree, a few years ago, and we sold our house twice. Each time he got cold feet at the last minute and we upset out potential buyers. It was awful.

I know he wouldn`t have coped with the disruption and I doubt your parents would be able to either.

You will just have to try to fob them off for as long as possible.

Good luck, but don`t give in. They will need to be near you and your sister more than ever. All my old friends tell me how glad they are I made the decision to stay.

Take care xx

Kate P

Registered User
Jul 6, 2007
Hi Arlete and welcome to TP

I'm speachless in my sympathy to you to have both parents affected with dementia.

As mean as it might sound could you try an hit them with emotional argument - you'll miss them, the grandchildren will miss them, you need them to help you with "projects" etc?

Could a compromise be reached - could they move to a bungalow still in the area they are now?


Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
SW Scotland
Hi Arlette, and welcome to TP.

You have all my sympathy. It's hard enough coping with one parent with AD, let alone two.

Sylvia and kate are right, you should resist the move at all costs. Your parents must be upset and worried about their failing abilities, however much they deny it. They're almost certainly blaming their anxieties on the place, and are trying to rum away from their problems. Sylvia has lived with this for a long time, and no-one knows better than she how hard it is.

You know it won't work, and you know they are going to need more and more support as the illness progresses. You've got some suggestions on how to cope. All I can add is that you have to do your best, for all your sakes.

But you know that anyway. Good luck,



Registered User
Mar 10, 2008
Dear Kate, Grannie G and Skye

It was so good to see your helpful replies and warm wishes this afternoon and to have your thoughts - especially from people who are so experienced and familiar with the issues. I will talk them over with my sister tonight and hopefully we'll come up with a united strategy.

It's so hard, especially when both parents make the demands together - it's a very powerful force and places us, the children, in a very difficult position - and of course one we never expected to be in.

Thank you all so much -



Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
Hi Arlette

When you say "back to a bungalow" is it that they want to return to a previous home or area? Because if that's the case as everyone else has said: don't do it! This desire to "go home" is a fairly consistent desire on the part of dementia sufferers and seems to represent 1) a desire to be somewhere they felt safe, and 2) a recognition that where they are currently is strange and unfamiliar.

I've not said anything that hasn't already been said by previous posters, but you really are going to have to be firm about this AND accept that your unwillingness to participate in this fantasy (and fantasy it is) will cause you to be blamed. However, if you did help them move, rest assured that you would still be blamed, be out a substantial amount of money, and be trying to manage their condition at a considerable distance - not a happy outcome either.


Registered User
Mar 10, 2008
Thanks Jennifer. I absolutely agree that it's about returning to somewhere that they felt safe - and of course that's understandable.

And, yes it's about the fact that they don't know the area they're in (actually they're not complete strangers as they used to stay with my sister over the years and went all over in their car, when Dad was still driving).

They want to move into a smaller bungalow than the one they had near to where they lived (and in fact I know they have been in touch with a neighbour to see if there are any on the market).

The problem is that they just don't have the same skill level and thought processes as before but in their minds they are able to manage the move, manage a smaller property and all the upkeep that goes with it (as they have done for the past 50 years)and go visiting all the places that they used to go (they were great ones for going somewhere different every day) - their pace of life never slowed down at all until dad got poorly last winter and they are in their 80s, so the idea of sitting around indoors or simply going to the shop is not what they are used to.

No amount of pointing out all the pitfalls seems be hitting the mark and it is definitely the case that the relationship has been damaged between me and them over this last week-end after a series of extremely upsetting phone calls (upsetting for them too I am sure).

I've had to be very direct in pointing out that I think it would place them at great risk, that they would not be able to cope on a day to day basis and that there would be no-one who could pop in when needed.

I just hope that if they get the same message from us both, it will eventually be received. However, I'm thinking that there is every chance that it won't, and that we will just have to get used to dealing with this on a regular basis - which of course makes support so much more stressful and difficult. I know that sounds selfish, but as you know sometimes the emotional resources are hard to find!

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Registered User
Nov 16, 2007
East Midlands
Hello Arlette,

I can't really add to what the others have said..what a double blow for you and your family. Would like to add...

You do need to concentrate on the practicalities..however hard..there's a lot of "role reversal" going on here ..and between you and your sister decide what is best for your parents..they are not going to manage any move on their own and would need your help.

Your parents are in their 80's..moving home at that stage in life is so hard even for a "healthy" 80 year old..

I moved my mum to be nearer to us over 2 years ago..when she was 78..after my dad died..and with her consent..and she is a "normal and healthy" now 80 year's not been easy. She still misses the family home..the garden..the shops..the neighbours..and although she knows she is safer here..she misses the life that was.

If your parents are safe in their current house I'd be inclined to do anything to keep them there..especially as they both have AD..moving will add to their confusion.

Also are you or your sister looking at Power of Attorney? It may be necessary at some point in the future to help your parents to manage their finances.

Hope I haven't sounded too pessimistic..and do wish you well..

Love Gigi xx

I've had to be very direct in pointing out that I think it would place them at great risk, that they would not be able to cope on a day to day basis
I really don't think that will work..I have no answers..this is such a difficult time for you..just bear in mind that their security and safety is the most important aspect..and try to see it from that point of view


Registered User
Oct 22, 2004
Is there anyone else who's opinion your parents respect who they might listen to? Family friend, vicar? Maybe someone more of their generation (they're probably not used to being told what to do by their "children"!), or someone who could suggest it from a "professional" point of view - GP, social worker. I know my Mum(sometimes!) would accept suggestions from her social worker that she wouldn't from me!

Apart from AD at your parents' age it is likely that they could be hit by all sorts of health problems. Maybe talk about how they would cope if one of them was seriously ill, had a fall and couldn't walk etc. All sorts of doom and gloom possible! (Sorry I don't mean to get flippant).

I agree, get an LPA sorted out asap. You never know when it might be needed. My parents both had dementia, though were at different stages and in hindsight we should have sorted an EPA long before we did.

Try not to get bogged down in worrying about future problems - none of us know what is round the corner (I'm often not good at taking this advice!). My Dad who had severe dementia was suddenly diagnosed with terminal cancer and died in the space of four months. You just never know what will happen, so don't try to plan to far into the future.

Sorry, I'm all doom and gloom today. I used to think that in some ways (very few!!) it helped that both my parents had dementia in that they didn't seem to notice anything wrong with each other.

Anyway, well done on finding this site. you should be able to get LOADS of help. Good luck.


Registered User
Feb 17, 2008
couldn't you tell them that you are looking for a bunglow but there is none for sale at the moment but you will keep looking for them, just to keep them happy


Registered User
Nov 7, 2004
Hi Arlette

You do have my sympathy with your dilemma.

I am sure you are right in that any move would be wrong.

The tactics you use must depend on how good your parents’ memory is, how far they are down the AD pathway and how old they are. Also you do need the help of their old neighbour.

In my experience there is absolutely no point in trying to reason, and even less sense in arguing. Forget for a moment that they have AD. Would you like your parents to tell you what you should be doing? Remember how you were when you were teenagers and your parents were looking after you. Remember how you reacted to dad telling you about that short skirt… or whatever. So why expect your parents to be any different now you are looking after them..

With mum I always followed the path of least resistance. Allow them to discuss with you the nice bungalow they intend to move into. Don’t fight them, play for time. “We must get some leaflets from the estate agents”.

But always have a topic to move onto. “Right we must get to TESCO before they close otherwise you (and my family) will starve”. “It’s too nice to stay in today; lets go and see the ducks, steam engines, bingo etc.”

You also identify correctly the fact that your parents want to get out and do something. Is it possible to help them find something to do with their time?

I do wish you all the best with the challenge.


Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
Toronto, Canada
Hi Arlette,
I agree that trying to make your parents understand the impossibility of their moving is in itself impossible. I like the approach of "Yes, we'll look into that tomorrow but would you like a cup of tea right now?" Distract, distract, distract. That will be harder now at this stage than at later stages but eventually things will settle down. But be prepared for a long time for things to settle.

I think you should agree with them but always fob them off. You'll never make them understand so there's really no point. It will only upset everyone.

Good luck.


Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
Arlette - I just want to clarify/reiterate what everyone is saying: you're going to have to lie about this and that can be difficult. I think this is one of the most difficult things about dementia: you spend your life attempting to be honest, and your parents are the people who taught you that, and suddenly, you actually have to tell fibs (or even whoppers) to them. However, since they will never understand or remember lying really is your only option if distraction fails: you'll look tomorrow, or next week, or when the weather is better - whatever it takes to fob them off.


Registered User
Nov 7, 2004
Jennifer… I never ever lied to my mum !! I just transformed from son to apprentice politician.

And if you cannot imagine yourself as a politician; then you just have to practice being a Spin Doctor.



Registered User
Jul 10, 2006
south lanarkshire
Hi Arlette

Just caught up with this thread. I have been at Crufts over the weekend. Our first break in a year! I am so sorry about your Mum and Dad. It is hard

Like you both my parents have dementia, although they are furthered advanced than yours, I have been where you are now.

Even in the home they had lived in for 20+ years, in the early stages, Mum insisted they were moving.

I would ask her, where? She didn't know. but as suggested in previous posts, I went along with it and said "Lets go to the estate agents, to see what's on the market"

When it really came down to it, Mum got cold feet, said she didn't feel well and would go herself tomorrow.

I think it is all about them thinking they still have control, can still make decisions and are looking for somewhere things will not be so confused.

If I had to make up stories, then I did (still do) It is much easier in the long run and saves a lot of stress.
If you have tried to explain the situation to your parents once and it didn't work, then new tactics are needed. Sorry

Getting power of attorney is very important and the sooner the better.



Registered User
Jan 29, 2008
Ashford, Kent

It must be so hard having both parents with AZ. It's hard enough with one with Dementia when you can't get them to see reason.

My Mum & Dad moved in with me 5 years ago when Dad had only the odd moment of not being able to remember something.

He knows they moved in back then because Mum was diagnosed with kidney failure (she died 8 weeks ago:( )

Over the past 5 years he has become convinced that they moved without his consent. He believes he came home from work one day to find a 'sold' sign up and a lorry packed with their furniture (he'd been retired about 15 years before that!).

My Dad is what they term 'moderate'. He has very poor short term memory (virtually non-existent although he does surprise us recalling some things), he has no concept of date/year etc... BUT he is still very very aware and concerned about the welfare of others and I quite often have to sell the benefits to others convince him to agree to do something. For example, I got him a GPS tracker for when he goes for a walk, and he says he doesn't need it because he isnt crazy, and I say I know you are not Dad, but it makes me so happy to know you are safe. He agrees to wearing the tracker because he knows it gives me peace of mind. He is convinced it's uneccessary but does it to spare my worry.

Knowing how Dad is made me think, couldn't you talk both your parents, but separately? Explain to them that moving would be bad for the other one as you wouldn't be nearby to help out. I know Dad can be stubborn as anything, but he would do anything he thought would benefit my Mum.

It's just a thought.

If that doesn't work, then I would say yes, play along and tell them you are looking for suitable properties.

Best of luck.

Beverley x


Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
After my father died , my mother wanted to move near me I could not understand why because she only lived 15 minutes away from from me .

next thing I new I was helping her sale her property moving her back to Gibraltar , when we was in Gibraltar she was not happen , she wanted to go back to England , ( knowing what I know now looking back that move gave her a massive drop in her AZ ) cut long story short a year after the move she was told she had AZ .

Back in England she said she wanted to go back Gibraltar why did I bring her to England , but I was not listening to her any more , because I found TP learn about the wanting to go some where in they mind that make them feel safe , took very long time for my mother to come out of that stage .

Only now then when she upset she say why did I not leave her in Gibraltar .

I do like Clive advice , as in just playing along with them . which is going to hard but it be better then trying to reason with them .
as long as they don't go as far as going to the solicitor all be OK
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