Registered User
Dec 17, 2007
I have a much loved Aunt who becomes forgetful and confused, cared for soley by equally much loved Uncle. They have been struggling to cope for a while now. There are no family members nearby (I am over 100 miles away). Their doctor is aware and has offered day centre help (refused), neighbours no longer visit. My aunt would be appalled if she realised how unkempt she and her home now look, and what a strain uncle is under. At the end of the day it has to be their choice, but do I have to wait for a catastrophe to force the issue?


Registered User
Jul 7, 2007
Hello Matty and welcome to Talking Point,

I'm fairly novice at this and I know there will be others along later who will give you much more advice than I can but I think as a start you could contact either your local branch or their local branch of the Alzheimers Society.

Its really , really difficult when people won't accept help and its very, very common - but don't worry too much yet as there are all sorts of things that can be done to help even tho' you are so far away - we have TP members living abroad and I think there's a new thread from someone in France today.

As I said - people will be along later - so hang in there



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

Has your aun't doctor referred her to a consultant? If she has a diagnosis of dementia, this opens the door for lots of assistance. She may also qualify for medication, which would mean that she would be regularly monitored.

You should certainly ring the Alzheimer's Society branch nearest to your aunt and uncle, they will give lots of good advice.

As she has been offered day care, presumably they have a social worker? If they do not have regular visits, perhaps your uncle could ring and say they need a new assessment, as things have deteriorated. He should also ask for a carers assessment for himself. He's entitled to it, and he could get carers to sit with your aunt to give him a break.

I'm afraid I'm putting a lot on your shoulders, but it does sound as if your aunt and uncle need help, and regular monitoring, and as you are too far away, the best thing you can do is get a regular care package set up for them.

Good luck, and let us know how you get on.

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
. My aunt would be appalled if she realised how unkempt she and her home now look, and what a strain uncle is under.
Hello Matty.

I think the only person you can influence to accept help is your uncle. Your aunt will not be able to listen to reason.

Perhaps if you drip fed your uncle bits of information about the help he could get, of course you`d need to find out about it for yourself first, and then expressed your concern for his health, and what might happen to your aunt if he became ill through the strain of caring for her, he might take notice, eventually.

It is their choice in the long run, but at least you will have tried.

Take care xx


Registered User
Aug 20, 2006
I don't think there's any point in talking to your aunt directly. Most people with dementia have no insight into their condition and honestly think there is absolutely nothing wrong with them. Even if they do realise things are odd they will externalise it all and blame mysterious people doing things rather than believe they themselves have acted oddly. At some point short-term memory becomes non-existant and this compounds the problem, in that things are forgotten almost instantly. You aunt, for example, would deny that (this is a hypothetical example) she had put her shoes in the fridge. Now she wouldn;t do anything as silly as that, would she? It must have been someone else. She will have forgotten doing anything with her shoes. Even if by some miracle she did remember, she would insist that this was the proper place for her shoes.

My father has always insisted that there is absolutely nothing wrong with him, that everything he does and believes is quite normal...etc...

Sometimes I think he gets a feeling that something is not quite right, you can see it, but he just goes into denial mode.

And sadly, personal hygiene and appearance often go by the board. I'm not sure whether it's regression into childish behaviors, or changes in personality where things that were important no longer are...

Try not to let it upset you. There's no point in confronting your aunt about it. I'm afraid we have to grow thick skins.

When my dad refuses to shave for weeks on end and ends up looking like a tramp when someone visits I just think "no skin off my nose". Some of it is sheer laziness, he keeps on coming up with excuses about doctors telling him not to shave becaus eof his skin, articles in books about shaving making it grow...etc.


Day Centre

Hello, Matty

I just wanted to say that I hope you can get the help your Aunt needs. And a suggestion from me, who is working my socks off to help my own 83-year old Aunt with dementia, so you have my utmost respect and empathy.

My aunt also refused at first to even contemplate the idea of a day centre, until I suggested to all and sundry - including GP, Social Worker, Consultant, Carers etc - that we should call it "Her Club", because she had always been happy going to the local club for senior citizens at the library, and all the outings they arranged.

Once she thought she was "going to the Club" she was as happy as could be. So perhaps worth a try.

In our case, there was a "waiting list" for both transport to the club and for the club itself, so it might be worth getting her name down on the list, while you do your gradual enthusiastic encouragement. By phone and several times a week, just to "sow the seed" again and again. My aunt never had any problems either, as far as she was concerned, but she didn't have a husband to offer any assistance either to her, or to me! So what I did was draw up a funny message to her, with silly pictures of me and her and the family, with graphics to illustrate our occupations .... and a bus picking her up to take her to "The Club" and so on. All encapsulated, and stuck on her notice board in the kitchen, in the bedroom, in the lounge .... and so on! The permutations were endless.

But we got there in the end, and once the waiting list allowed it, she was used to the idea of going to the club.

But I agree with Hazel: she does need a full assessment which the GP can arrange - if you can manage to speak to the GP in confidence. In our case, the GP listened to me, even though at first she said she could not discuss the detail with me because of Patient Confidentiality. But once the GP also got used to the idea that she had to talk to me if she herself wanted to give my aunt the help she so desperately needed, then the GP and I established a beautiful working relationship, whereby we would discuss all sorts of issues related to my aunt's needs and care.

Hope you manage to achieve your mission: care and assistance for your aunt and uncle.

Take care, and I would love to know how you get on with this.


Registered User
Dec 15, 2007
Your in good company

Hi Matty,

I just wanted to add that you're not alone. I am going through a very similar situation at the moment. It seems the best advice is to contact your local branch and see what they can offer. I think I'm about to break the silence and do the same.

Wishing you all the best, it would be great to know how you get on. Take care of yourself too!

Londoner. xxx

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