Difficulty reading signs

Strawberry Jam

Registered User
Sep 26, 2023
I care for my Mum, who has Alzheimer’s at a moderate stage. In her home, I sometimes write clear notes for her to remind her of something she needs to know or to do. However, although she can read, she tends not to take notice of the notes or - if she does - can very quickly forget them and hence give the impression of ignoring them. Does anyone else have a similar experience and any tips regarding this area? Thanks.

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
It`s perfectly normal for your mum to read your notes and find them meaningless because she is now unable to process what they are for or why they are there.

If she does understand what they mean she will forget sas soon as she turns away.

I don`t think there will be any tips to bypass this stage. The only thing I can think of is phoning her to tell her what to do. Even then she might put the phone down and immediately forget.

It`s comparable to when we sometimes go into a room and forget what we`ve gone for.


Registered User
Feb 27, 2018
Yes, exactly this. My Mum can read perfectly well, but doesn’t seem to be able to process what she’s reading.

For example, she gets very distressed when she can’t see Dad. He’s tried leaving her big notes everywhere telling her where he is - on his chair in the lounge, at eye level on the front and back doors etc. However he still comes back to find Mum standing at the bottom of the drive looking for him, panicking because she doesn’t know where he is. He has her read the notes out loud to him before he goes, and when asked where they are she can always point to them. But the words about where he is, don’t provide Mum with the information about where he is (if you see what I mean!). Her brain is no longer making a connection between the words on the paper and their meaning to her situation.


New member
Mar 27, 2023
I experience this problem with my mum. In fact, now I look back I realise that it was an issue for her some time before her Alzheimer's diagnosis. If we went to a restaurant I would get frustrated with her because she would spend ages looking at the menu and we would have to keep sending the waiter/waitress away because she hadn't decided. I now realise that she was struggling to process what was on the menu. We took her on a cruise last year and I made large laminated signs with her name to label her drawers and wardrobe to help her find her things and she still opened all the other drawers and wardrobes first. The labels seemed meaningless to her.

I now have all the post I can sent to me, as any letters became a source of anxiety and no amount of reassurance from me would convince her they were nothing to worry about. I presume that her anxiety was triggered because she found trying to read and understand them too overwhelming.

Strangely though, she spends hours reading books. I have no idea if she understands what she is reading, but she is content when she is doing this.

Sorry I don't have any tips, but wish you all the best.


Registered User
Apr 2, 2024
Try adding pictures or symbols to the notes to help your mum understand them better. Keep the notes really simple, with just one or two main points, and make sure the writing is big and bold. Place the notes where she's sure to see them, like on the fridge, the bathroom mirror, or by her bed.

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