can anyone help?


Registered User
Aug 3, 2005

i was wondering if anyone could give me some advice. my mum is displaying all the signs of dementia but is refusing to go to a doctor or be diagnosed by anyone. she's losing her short term memory and cannot remember conversations she had either today or yesterday. she keeps repeating questions she's asked because she can't remember asking them. she's losing everything - from her keys to her credit cards to her car!

i think she's in total denial and is refusing to accept help. however she seems to be crying out for help by landing myself and her friends with her problems to sort out - ie. "i've lost my car, have no money on me, can you come and rescue me". this has been going on for a year and we're all exasperated and at the end of our tether

all of us have talked to her to ask her to go and see a doctor - this has ranged from gently suggesting she has a problem to outright telling her that she has and that she needs to see someone. forcing the issue seems to agitate her more, but leaving her to her own devices is just covering up the problem and it's got too serious. i've spoken to her GP but he politely tells me that there's nothing he can do unless she comes to him!

I have no idea what to do anymore. she is antagonising all her friends, causing chaos wherever she goes because she can't see the effect her behaviour is having on everyone. meanwhile, she has nowhere to live - has lost her ability to reason or think logically or take responsibility for herself

i don't know what to do or how to handle her - i'm not trained in this area and don't know much about it. i'm finding her behaviour so erratic and unmanageable.

can anyone give any advice?

shonadh x


Registered User
Oct 20, 2004
It was a little different for me, Mum had already been told several times by Doctors that there was nothing wrong with her. I did the same as you and mentioned it to the Doctor when I was there, he was kind enough to put something on her record to express my concern. Dad and I really didn't think that Mum was telling the doctor just how serious it was getting.

How about going for the reverse and trying to get her to go to the doctor to reassure her that 'it' isn't something serious (it may not be AD), depression apparently has some very similar symptoms.

I know how exasperating it can be, but maybe trying to encourage her by saying something like you're all worried about her and want your own mind put at rest....if there is something wrong they may be able to alleviate/slow symptoms down if there's a diagnosis. Maybe pointing out that 'if' there is anything amiss, sooner rather than later will help in the long run.

Very difficult if she won't go, but these are some things that might be worth a go.


Registered User
Mar 16, 2005


Registered User
Jul 15, 2005
It took me two years to convince my parents that something was very wrong with my Mom. Finally my Dad couldn't deny it any longer when she started forgetting who he is! My efforts before then to talk to her GP went fruitless. At last they got a referral to a neurologist, got the MRI, and all the cognitive test that rules out everything but AD. Once she was put on Aricept, her condition did improve. You might tell your Mom that there are good drugs that can help her if she will just get tested.


Registered User
Jul 28, 2005
Mum had dementia for several years before anyone actualy believed me there was a problem, she was conned out of thousands of pounds and lost a lot of her possessions to con artists who would call at her door and neglected herself dreadfully, however as she was verbally good she managed to sound convincing when she visited the GP even though I had spoken to him before our visits, she would tell him how she cooked lovely nutritious meals and did lots of activities when I knew she hadnt eaten or left the house for days, eventualy I rang social services and asked for assessment, they came out and saw her, she didnt like this and sent the social worker away with a flea in her ear, but the social worker did at least agree with me that mum wasnt coping and did need help, then a CPN and OT went to visit her and they could tell at once that she had dementia, mums CPN is wonderfull she has always supported me and respected mums wishes, you could try asking for a CPN assessment or a mini-mental state examination where they ask set questions to determine a persons memory problems (mums score has gone up since she came to live with us much to everyones delight) you realy do need to push for them to listen to you in, mums case it was all a bit late realy she should have been having help much sooner.

hope you manage to get someone to listen to you soon


Registered User
Oct 9, 2003
Birmingham Hades
Hi Shones99
You don't say how old Mum is.
Could you get her to the Doctors for a Health check up?
A flu injection perhaps?
This is the time for desperate moves and little white lies.
Could you enlist the help of the GP to call on Mum on some pretext?
You do really need the help of the GP.


Registered User
Oct 23, 2003
West Sussex
Hi Shones, Norm says the same as me, I confronted my Mums GP and they suggested a 75 year healthe check (she was 74) but this worked as a way to get her there. How old is your Mum, could this work for you? Love She. XX
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Registered User
Aug 3, 2005
hi all
thank you so much for your replies
mum is 65 .... I have been to the doctors but i think they're very unhelpful .... he told me that unless mum comes to him asking to do tests or asking for help, then there's nothing he can do and basically they can't get involved unless she causes harm to herself or others. it seems crazy but we've been phoning them for a year now on and off. my brother died 13 years ago and i think this isn't helping with her coping at all ....
She has been to the doctors for other things but again appears quite lucid when she's there. she shuts them off if they start questioning and refuses to do tests. she can appear to be quite normal in a one-off situation - its only when you're with her or talk to her every day that you realise her short term memory is gone and how appalling her situation is. she's very good at covering up
she absolutely point blank refuses to do any tests. there's no point trying to trick her as she's very smart and just runs away.
i have confronted her with home truths - i'm the only one brave enough to do this - and it all gets very ugly. i know she's frightened but it's becoming such a burden on myself and her friends because she won't take responsibility. even when i point out examples of how bad her memory is - ones she can't run away from - she just brushes it off saying 'i'm just tired' or if i tell her i think she's losing her memory she says 'oh that, well i'll just take some ginger and it'll be fine'. you just can't get through to her - meanwhile she's falling apart
she's also lost alot of weight and isn't eating. her friends don't think she can cope on her own. its just a desperately sad situation - totally heartbreaking and i don't know what to do


Registered User
May 5, 2005
south wales
Hi Shonadh

I have just read your post and felt so concerned for you. I can't offer any solution and hope there is a carer who will read your post and be able to advise you.

Our problem was the opposite, I and others knew there was something wrong with my hubbie David, but our GP didn't believe us! Long story - now resolved.

I do hope someone has advice for you. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers for a good outcome.

Keep strong and do post. It really does help talking to others here at TP.

Love Katie


Registered User
Mar 16, 2005
Hi shonadh,

As hard as it sounds, when you're only trying to help, whenever you try to tell your Mum something she doesn't want to hear from you, you'll be rebuffed. Take heart in the fact that lots of people here have been through this. Once you finally get your Mum to a GP she will probably be happy to do the test for him/her.

Your GP sounds most unhelpful. It's a catch 22 isn't it? Most people seem to be saying that you have to get the GP on board before anything can be done but how do you do that with his attitude? Is he part of a Practice? Could you make an appointment to see another doctor there who might be more understanding of the situation? You could write a letter, listing all her behaviours and take it along with you.

Best wishes,


Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
and there are some times when you really can't do anything until the cracks really appear and you have to do a major rescue job afterwards.

Sometimes it is just like that. You can only do your best for them.


Registered User
Aug 3, 2005
thank you everyone
i think what you're saying brucie rings the most true. after coming up with a million and one solutions for a year now, it seems the only thing to do is to stand back and wait for the cracks to appear .... its just awful to contemplate, but we've tried everything else
i'll keep you updated and thank you for all the messages of support


Registered User
Jun 22, 2005
Hi Shonadh,
I had similar problems with my husband. Things came to a head when he became ill with a urinary tract infection, it affected his memory badly and he was confused and delusional. It ended with a stay in hospital where they picked up on the dementia and did a head scan, he accepts it now and is very co-operative.
It's a very worrying time, but maybe something will come along to make your Mum realize it really is happening.
I wish you well in the meantime, thinking of you.


Registered User
Jul 25, 2005
There are many illnesses apart from dementia that can cause memory problems, such as urine infections, depression and even very bad constipation. Your GP should do a blood test to rule out other causes of memory loss.

Could you say to your mum that she is going for a blood test? She may respond better to that as she may think it has nothing to do with her memory. At least that would be the first step.

My mum is only 58, and she gets upset if we try get help for her as she says "I am not that sick yet". For example, she refused to let a home visitor come round to her house. After a couple of weeks of refusal, I said to her that is she won't accept help from professionals, then she obviously doens't need my help, so I will stop coming round to help her! This threat was enough to change her mind. My sister says to her that is she doesn't need help, then why doens't she go back to work!

With Mum, I find when I make suggestions that she is against, she does come round eventually, but it takes a while (months sometimes). It has took about 10 months for her to come round to the idea of Power of Attorney.


Registered User
Mar 23, 2005
Hi Shonahd,

if i tell her i think she's losing her memory she says 'oh that, well i'll just take some ginger and it'll be fine'

This is such a difficult situation and one that we also went through with my father-in-law. In the earlier days of his memory loss, he put it down to normal aging and was wary enough to put off all entreaties to go and see a doctor. In the end, we resorted to subterfuge.

When he went with my mother-in-law for her doctor's appointment, my husband also went along and handed the receptionist a letter outlining our concerns. The doctor handled it very well and got my father-in-law to agree to "blood tests" just to rule out any problems.

Perhaps the only other appeal that you could make to your mother (given her willingness to take ginger) is that the modern drugs for memory loss are most effective the sooner they are taken . Her best hope for preserving her memory/cognitive abilities for as long as possible is to get a diagnosis and, if appropriate, start a course of medication asap.

Also, as zed has already said, it really is important to see a doctor to get a full picture of any other conditions that might be contributing to her memory loss. In my father-in-law's case, it turns out that he had another condition in addition to AD that had left him anaemic and reduced the amount of oxygen getting to his brain.

Take care,



Registered User
Jul 18, 2005
Hi Shones
If you look at my previous posting from a couple of weeks ago you'll see that I was also in a similar situation.
Since my last posting my Uncle has lied to my Aunt for the first time in his life and told her he has a 'bad back' and he wanted her to accompany him to the Doctors. Of course once they were there (the doctor had been primed) the Doc examined my Aunt and asked her loads of questions, all the while she was saying 'There's nothing wrong with me, my husband is the one with the bad back'......!

The Doc replied 'Oh nowadays I like to give you both a check up when you come as a couple...' great doc! (At last)

So, now we're waiting for a specialist to come and chat to her in her home and I feel like the ball is really rolling now and don't feel so desperate.

So, the moral of this story is.....can a couple of white lies be so bad??
I hope this helps and you can see some light at the end of the tunnel.


Registered User
Hi there

I think Zed may have hit on an idea. what if you tell your mum that if she won't go to the doctor you will withdraw all your help? Might that work? If there is nothing wrong with her, she doesn't need your help...
Just an idea. It wouldn't work with my mum who is 76 and has had AD for at least 5 years, although only diagnosed for 1 year. She is just plain awkward about having help, even the social worker who is very good, couldn't believe how opposititional my mum is.
Good Luck.