Registered User
Oct 9, 2003
Birmingham Hades
How long does denial last?
When does the "I am perfectly alright I don't need anyone to be with me,I am not a child anI do not need minding" stop.
Denies all knowledge of untoward happenings,Mr Nobody syndrome,all part of denial
I know mine has been 7 years so far!




Registered User
Oct 23, 2003
West Sussex
Dear Norm, my Mum went to the grave in denial, she was busy putting the world to rights the day before she died. Sorry if that doesn't help your current situation, but from what I have seen, there are many sufferers who never accept it. I think if they have more vascular symptoms than straightforward AD this is often the case. With AD they seem more lost in their own world earlier. It seems to come and go too, some days they accept more help than others, that's the ones when you get a smack for your trouble or a few choice words! I used to wonder just what it was that stopped Mum realising things were not as she said, but I never really figured it out because the goal posts changed so often. It must be hard for you Norm, seven years is a long time to cope with this awful illness, it takes it's toll on the carer more than the sufferer at times I think. Hope tomorrow is better for you, love She. XX

Nutty Nan

Registered User
Nov 2, 2003
Dear Norm,
This 'denial thing' is one of the biggest hurdles in relationships with AD sufferers - so frustrating!! So many problems could be overcome, if only they would accept help and support.
But then: who is big enough to accept defeat, to acknowledge that they are 'not coping'? I am sure if I were in their situation, I'd put on the stiff upper lip and pretend that I am superwoman, infallible etc.
It just depends which side of the fence you are sitting on: the sufferer has enough pride to (try and) make him cover up for his shortcomings and difficulties, whilst the carer is getting frustrated over not being 'allowed' to give the care he/she knows is required..... Sorry: no-win situation.
Take care! (No pun intended!)


Registered User
Mar 27, 2004
Dear Norman

I don't think it ever stops, Margaret is denying everything after 5 years just as vehemently as she did at the beginning.

In fact more so because she now swears and shouts at me during her denials, this from a former Sunday School teacher, Brown Owl and Mothers Union Committee member.

I don't mind the denials so much, it is the anger and bitterness that accompanies them which upset me most.

But you have to treasure the good days, on Saturday we were driving around as usual when I saw a notice for a Chrysanthemum show in a village church. I pulled in and we went in, to see a beautiful array of choice blooms and flower displays. We had coffee and home made cake provided by the church ladies and spent a very pleasant hour there. Afterwards we journeyed on to a local lake and sat in the car watching budding yachtsmen learning their trade, the sun shone, there was snow on the surrounding hills and Margaret was at peace with herself and with me.

I shall take that day out and savour it on the bad days.

Cheers Barraf


Dear Norman

This is the one common denominator amongst AD carers. The absolute frustration of the repetition.

I don't believe it is a denial of the illness as such. I believe it is a survival coping mechanism for the sufferer, not a deliberate act to frustrate our best efforts. Imagine knowing you are losing control of every thought process and still able to imagine the implications of that for your future. You wouldn't want to be found out, while you can still hold on.

In the later stages a total denial of anything and everything: 'it's raining' reply 'I didn't do it'! is enough to drive to distraction the most patient - amongst whom I could never count myself, it has to be said. The worst bits come when you are wellied for your efforts. Actually, it is this very subject that is guaranteed to bring out the greatest remorse, the times I tried to argue the point.

My beloved Mum, seemingly overnight, turned into a lush! I think I've told the tale about returning from work to find her slewed in the chair slurring her words. When challenged that she had been drinking I was punched for daring to speak to her in such a manner! Shock! Horror! If I was to say imagine Queen Elizabeth standing on the balcony singing Nellie Dean and drinking from a bottle - that was the shock to my system!

It took long enough to dawn on me that she really believed she hadn't had a drink because she had forgotten. We put a stop to it but it wasn't easy. Just one of many awful instances. You can't reason with the unreasonable. Mind you, if I could have her home now she could have anything she liked..if wishes were horses................

Let's hope tomorrow is a little brighter, thinking of you
Last edited by a moderator:


Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London

What denial?

We interpret our world using our senses and our brain.

Just think of how alcohol can change our interpretation of ourselves and our world. Three Quiet Sunday cocktails and I begin to look just a little acceptable in the mirror. Ain't so to anyone else, but that is what I see.

Alcohol wears off.

Alzheimer's and other dementias do not. They continue to wear away the reasoning centres of brains in a fairly [so it seems] random manner. They also wear away the connections to our sensory organs - sight, taste, muscles, etc.

We give them medications that seek to help, but provide their own particular effects. None of those effects really brings them back to full normality, if they have any major effect at all.

So, here is someone with a dementia. They see their world in their own particular way. That is 'normal' to them.

What is there for them to deny?

If they do things repeatedly, it is most likely because it gives them something to focus upon, in a life where focus is so very very difficult for them. Or they may simply not remember they just did this or that. If we try to stop them, they may see it as our removing yet another of their abilities.

To them, it is everyone else who is acting strangely, and no wonder they get so mad and would - if they could - tell us all to shake ourselves out of our strange behaviour. Since they can't tell us, but they still get really frustrated, sometimes acts of aggression are the only way.

I don't even want to start to explore the horror that might be their understanding of what is happening to them. That way lies madness for me.


Registered User
Mar 7, 2004
Thank you Bruce - I accept the thinking and reasoning behind your explanation of 'denial'.. as you say what denial.

I shall try to keep your words in my mind - it makes so much sense. Again, thanks, Connie


I'd subscribe to this way of thinking, if Mum hadn't known her own destiny. She had seen her sister, some 18 years older than her, go through that which she was facing and she fought like a Trojan whilst she was still able to hold on to that which was herself. She knew. In one of the things I hate to recall, she told me after much persuasion that which she was so very, very worried about - she was afraid, the details of which I couldn't bear to voice, but to do her the disservice of saying that her initial fight was not fought would be a betrayal of her. If nothing else, her researchers need this information. Alzheimer himself, at least, had the dignity to provide his own experiences at the expense of himself. For us, there were the two stages of denial; the supporting of her right to that 'denial' and the later stages of which she had no charge - the love glove handling stage, sometimes managed so badly I could weep, for us, such as it was.

In worrying of my own destiny, given recent research, I am assured that genetically I am of my father's family - that just leaves me Cancer to negotiate, if we are to believe the succession of genetic history. I am going for denial - I'll face that particular hurdle as it presents itself, but will keep you posted.



Registered User
Oct 23, 2003
West Sussex
Dear Chesca, it was the same for my Mum, she fought it like a little tiger, determined it wouldn't get her, course, it did. Love She. XX

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