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Dad cant/wont accept Grans condition

alfie's mum

Registered User
Apr 7, 2015
Hi, I am 38yrs old and have an elderly Gran. There has been a rapid decline in her "state" over the last 4 years. I live 400 miles away so don't see her very often, therefore the differences each time is very obvious to me. She no longer recognises my husband and at first when I visit I am a stranger. My Aunt who is single is her only carer, although she is lucky to have support from close friends and cousins. The problem is my Father...
He always says "Gran is fine" doesn't seem to notice how bad she has got. When I have mentioned things she has said or done he dismisses it. Unsure if he is selfish or just in denial.
This causes the problem that my Aunt is left solely responsible for my Gran. She is exhausted, frustrated and constantly trying to do the right thing. She is a proud lady and recently surprised me by admitting how much she was struggling. Many chats with my Dad I have tried to speak about it but the conversation is changed almost instantly.
I have tried speaking in many ways and even to the extreme that he may want to spend a day looking at care homes because if anything happens to my Aunt then that's where Gran will end up. Still no reaction. He criticises my Aunt and offers no help whatsoever. Not even support. My Aunt is trying her best and I truly believe she has given up on my Dad ever accepting it so she doesn't even try with him.
Sorry this is a lengthy one... all new to me on here. Anyone any experience or suggestions on how to get the message across. Harsh reality is we are losing my Gran, his mother to this and he is becoming the son who doesn't seem to care. Any suggestions welcome xx


Registered User
Jul 29, 2013
North East
A couple of things. Have you been brutally honest with your dad. Sometimes it takes a lot of courage to say right I need to talk to you and you need to listen without interrupting an then go for it and don't let him interrupt. It certainly sounds like he is hiding away from the truth but it doesn't mean the truth isn't happening no matter how harsh or sad.

The other thing, your aunty is struggling. Have they has a social services assessment? It sounds like carers should be coming in and taking a load off your aunt. These people are there to help and care. Sometimes it's easier for an outsider to come in and deal with things and the main carer oversee. There is no shame just a sense of thank god!!

You can help by keeping in regular contact with your aunt and seeing what her needs are. You can help by ringing GPs and social services if your aunt will let you.

Keep on posting on here and let us know how you get on xxx

alfie's mum

Registered User
Apr 7, 2015
Hi, thanks for your reply. I have been brutally honest with dad. Have said many things that i cant believe have come from my own mouth! Explained many scenarios thats scared the life out of me, eg. Gran snatching a knife from my hand by the blade because i was using a knife and not a potato peeler, that we found her crying in the kitchen because she couldnt remember where the milk was, and ringing up excessive phonebills by calling the speaking clock over 100 times in one day because she didnt know the time. These are just a few out of a long list and many are more worrying but he just looks at the floor or swiftly changes the subject. As said i live a great distance from the rest of my family so speak mainly with him on the phone. He lives maybe 40 mins drive from gran and aunt. Dad took early retirement last year so he has plenty of time to share and if it frustrates me how ignorant he is being to the situation i can understand how my aunt feels. She would never abandon gran but he just shirks responsibility.
As for carers... my aunt arranged help from a close friend to visit some mornings and gran wouldnt let the lady in. Gran is very obstructive, claiming everyone else has the problem and that she is fine. Denies all her "incidents", lies about washing, eating, making phonecalls and so on. Dr did send her for memory test and scan but she cant remember none of that. She is in good health apart from this so never sees dr. My aunt has a job getting her out to an appointment and the dr doesnt seem very suportive.
I have ordered some of the factsheets and help guides from here. They will come to my address for me to read and then they will be sent to my dad. Im thinking if they land on his lap and he still chooses to ignore them the he is beyond help too.
I worry so much being away and i speak every 2nd day with my aunt. I try to get conversation about other things as well because she is a person of her own, with a life but in her own i feel she is losing all of that as is tied to looking after gran on her own.
Sorry again for long thread x


Registered User
Mar 4, 2013
Auckland...... New Zealand
I'm sorry to hear this Alfies Mum.
It seems you have tried everything as far as your Dads concerned, but I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't read the Fact Sheets either.
Another tact could be to ask him if something should happen to your Aunts health because she is doing this virtually on her own, then it will be up to him, and what does he propose to do?
Possibly while he has got his sister doing everything despite his criticisms he doesn't need/want to accept the situation.
Or also arranging to see and talk to a professional he may just say differently?

What was his general demeanor and personality before your Grandmas decline?
If it is basically the same, then there is little show that he will change.

In my Fathers case his oft selfish, self absorbed personality has not changed.
Dads way of coping is sarcasm and humour... Try that with someone with Alzheimers... It does not work!
Everyone in the beginning told us he was in denial of Mums Alzheimers, tellng her off and getting angry when ahe didn't remember things, lost things and repeated herself.
Then he was referred to the Memory Team and had tests and CT scan himself. Turns out he has cognitive impairment ( but not dementia) and the main reason why he cannot fathom Mums Alzheimers.
Even 2 yrs later, he laughs at her when shes forgotten something, tells her constantly you cant cook, you cant make a cup of coffee etc
I am not only Mums main carer but referee. I have never had to tell my Dad off so often in all my years. He may have cognitive impairment but I'm not letting it be an excuse for his behaviour.

Hopefully your Aunt can get in contact with your Social Services or similar soon and arrange for home help.


Registered User
May 18, 2014
To be honest, I wouldn't worry about your dad, he'll come round in his own time or maybe not. Your Aunt needs all the support and help now. If she hasn't done so yet, has she got all the financial stuff sorted, can you sort this for her? Talk to Citizens Advice. Is it possible that your gran can still be left alone for short times? If so search for some memory cafes/support groups for Aunty. Safe to say that Aunty does not have a life away from her mother so no point trying to get her to talk about other things over the phone, all she probably wants is time to offload. Its amazing how quickly we get caught up in the carer's role, Early on when friends rang me, our conversations became very surreal and all I really wanted to say was what a bloody awful day I was having!!

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