dad crying over long dead brother


Registered User
Oct 26, 2003
The other day I went to visit Dad in the care home. For the first half hour he was happy enough chatting away about nothing I understood as usual...:). Suddenly he burst into tears (so unlike him) he was sobbing his heart out. It was really distressing.

I asked him what was the matter and he said 'It;s Bill' (his brother who died in the war after being shot). 'He went to Ireland and was shot today by the I.R.A' .

I didn't know how to console him but gently explained Bill died years ago, but he was so confused and didn;t believe me. Its so sad.

The next day i fetched him out and we walked his dog and went for half a guiness :). He looked a bit lost in the pub so we didn't stay 2 long. I took him to Mums after and he told her he'd been to the pub and seemed quite happy.

Its still horrible taking him back 2 the home cos he's had a few days went he seems almost lucid and says things like 'thats enough of those homes now' and 'why can't I stay here, I'm retired now and I don't want to go to work' (mostly he thinks the home is work' Mums disabled and can't keep him home and we all work.

A couple of nights over the holidays we got his medication from the home and in total, even though he woke up a few times all in all he slept 12 hours each night!!! He looked so much better the next day and even seemed like his old self. We know in the home he only sleeps 3 to 4 hours a night, we were told this by the staff, and he always looks frail and exhausted. He seems to walk up and down the corridors the rest of the time(his room is always locked when I go to get him) He snoozes in the chairs on the lounge sometimes. The home say they lock the rooms 2 stop others entering and Dad won't go to it anyway. How can he get rest. I don't think he knows which ones his room cos he keeps taking his name of the door. I'm glad he comes home 2 days a week just so he can rest sometimes.


Maybe one day I'll win the lottery and could afford 24 hour care for him and mum in their own home :)!!! don't we all

Thanks for listening



Registered User
Jan 25, 2004
Hello Suzie

Sorry to hear of your difficulties with the care home. I'm sure you make a huge difference to your dad when you can see him. I think we always have to try to be positive, though it is often so difficult.

This thing of when the AD sufferer becomes upset about and dwells on long past events is very challenging. On the one hand there's advice that one should go with them to their time and place but when that it is upsetting to them you want to get them out of it as quickly as you can.

Keep trying. It sounds like you're doing a great job for your mum and dad.




Registered User
Oct 9, 2003
Hi Suzie,

I am sorry to hear about your dad and the experiences you are having with the home.

When I first put my mum in the home she is in now, she used be hysterical when we took her back after taking her out for a couple of hours, but now she is quite happy there, she now thinks that her mum also lives there [she died over 8 years ago] and is normally quite happy to go in now and only has the occassional outburst about not wanting to go back.

My mum also does not sleep much at night and she always walks up and down the corridor at nights. My mums door is never locked.....she is in a care home not a prison and I would have the homes head on a block should they start to do this!

I am quite concerned that the staff are locking your dads door [even though they say he would not go to it] as surely this could cause him more distress.

Also you mentioned that the room is locked when you go to see him [I presume that you dont visit in the middle of the night] hence why this would make me even more concerned. This surely must be distressing, and I can not understand why your dad walking up and down the corridor during the day should bother anyone at the home as this is certainly not an uncommon occurance in my expereince people with AD.

Without worrying you this type of care home would certainly give me cause for concern - Have you spoken with the Manager at this home? or thought of moving your dad to an alternative home perhaps?

Nutty Nan

Registered User
Nov 2, 2003
Dear Suzie,
I have no experience with care homes (yet!), as my husband is still able to live at home. However, his anguish about his deceased brother sounds very familiar:
My in-laws died over 20 years ago, Mum survived Dad by a couple of years, and we dealt with all the arrangements and tasks as a family. Tony even scatterred his Mothers ashes himself.
However, for the last few months Tony has been telling everybody that his parents died within two days of each other, that nobody told him for ages about it, and that he has no idea what "happened to them and their house". He often cries about it all, and I find that very distressing, as it feels insensitive to just try and change the subject. He also says very frequently "how sad that Mum can't see/hear this ...." - it's a bit like a delayed grieving process.
There is no easy answer, and it is very puzzling how years, decades and events merge in the mind of an AD sufferer! Unfortunately, repeatedly referring to a particular happy event does not seem to be as self-perpetuating as these 'negative reminiscences' (it doesn't seem to work if a member of the family introduces a happy subject).
I found it interesting that Tony said the other day "I only seem to remember the bad things that have happened". No wonder depression is the other big thing we are all fighting alongside the AD!.
A hug usually works wonders. Here's one from me to you - pass it on to your Dad next time you visit!
Best wishes, Carmen


Registered User
Aug 18, 2003
east sussex
Dear Suzie
How i feel for you, my dad has been in a home for 3 1/2 years and we continually have to check up on the home. Fortunately i am in the situation that it is only 5 mins from where i work, so i pop in at odd times - don't visit at the same times each week.
Whenever we are not happy , we go straight to the manager and make our feelings clear that we want Dad to be comfortable and like his home. We endlessly battle to ensure he has his music on ( a graet lover of all types of music before AD). Sadly without constant monitoring little things slip e.g. when he had bed sores, we had to ask for a pressure mattress - it was not forthcoming otherwise. Sadly Dad is very far down the line, but we (mum and me) ensure that at no time does he suffer, such as you are stating. Dad was mobile 2 years ago and he always had access to his room, but during his wanders he would go in other people's rooms but the care staff just manourved him out, as they we always around the main corridor.
Please make sure that you ask the staff to make sure his room is open and that they replace his name on the door - not a difficult thing to do. Always ask for what you feel your dad would want - he can't ask for himself!
Ever since we made our feelings clear, the home has been very responsive and supportive - i think the problem lies where they have so many patients that don't have frequent visitors that care like we do.
Kind regards


Registered User
Oct 26, 2003
Thanks everyone for your kind replies. As dads home is meant to be temporary (We've asked social services can we get him in a specialist home for dementia sufferers, they told us theres only 4 in Coventry and he;s on the waiting list) we can only hope he'll get in a better home soon as this one has lots of patients and are always short staffed!!

I shall ask to see the manager next time and demand they leave his door unlocked in the day as well as at night. As soon as I go in on a visit I always ask them to please unlock his room and we go in and turn his t.v on (which is always unplugged and the ariel disconnected-don't know if the staff or dad does that)! I put the tv on and often dad gets into bed and falls into an exhausted sleep.

The staff at the home are often agencies workers, African mainly and they look sort of blank when i ask them a question, though the main lady seems to be english on each section.

One thing they always say is they think the world of my dad as he's such a character (he gives all the other folks little tasks like which corridor to walk down :) there are 4 corridors) and the more active residents seem to be very happy to be with him, they walk about in a little gang:)

Today dad has had a good day i'm told, but i still think a smaller home would suit him so they had time to take him to his room if he needed a sleep etc....though i think he enjoys the space to walk around as he once said mums bungalow was cramped on a visit home cos theres few rooms to walk in and out of....What is it about corridors dad finds facinating, he was the same in the hospital too : ).


love to all