Dont know what to do


Registered User
Sep 23, 2007
Dartmoor Devon
Hello , I am a new member to the forum and I really need some help, I dont even know if I have posted on the right page or not ! My Mum is very ill indeed with Vascular Dementia, she was admitted to a Phsyciatric Hospital in Reading four days ago and I am visiting her tomorrow from my home in Devon . I saw her not long ago and she still had periods of lucidity but now she doesnt and she does not want to eat or drink, her physical state is dreadful and she has trouble recognising anyone . I pray that she will not linger like this for a long time, she is frail and can no longer walk unaided , just wants to be in bed . I am really worried about my visit and dont know what to say or do , do I act completely normal and if she does not recognise me , do I try and explain who I am ? She was not allowed visitors until yesterday but I have spoken to the unit manager who tells me that she isnt asking for anyone and does not seem to realise where she is . Shall I just be myself ? Any help will be so welcome , I am so sad .


Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
Hello Devonmaid

it is a horrid situation, isn't it?

do I act completely normal
yes, if you can do that it would probably be best. It won't be easy the first time, but, with practice, it becomes less hard - never easy though.
if she does not recognise me , do I try and explain who I am
yes, but only once. If she does not respond to that, it will just cause stress on both of your behalfs if you hammer on regardless.
Shall I just be myself
spot on. yes, try to do that.

It may be that she is experiencing a bad patch and on a later visit, things will be better.

Or that may not happen.

You simply have to take it day by day and comfort yourself that you are doing what you believe is best for her.

It IS heartbreaking, but Mum is stuck with the situation, whereas at least you can walk out and go home [even if you then fret there]

take care of yourself. Don't beat yourself up about your inability to make things better.

take it a day at a time....

best wishes


Registered User
Sep 27, 2006
You must be in torment suffering such pain at this terrible situation. I think that touch is a very important method of communication when all else seems to have been lost. Stroke your mum's hands and face whilst talking to her, it will definately make you feel better and I am sure she will feel loved by your touch. You have my thoughts and love xx TinaT


Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
My mother still recognizes me , but still I found it hard to act normal around her , keeping all those emotion under control .

In the past as the disease had not progressed so far , I use to sod all the time in fount of her she use to look so bewailed at me , as if she forgotten they was anything wrong with her . what I am trying to say is just go with the flow of it with your emotion when you visit , it must be so harder for you as your mother does not recognize you

With me I learn to have a balance over my emotion , well may be if I keep saying that to myself I'll convince myself of that .

Welcome to TP :) your find great support on TP


Registered User
Sep 23, 2007
Dartmoor Devon
Thanks so much for your replies and support . Last time I saw Mum, three weeks ago, she got upset that she hadnt said her prayers and so I took her hand and uttered a mixed up prayer dug from my memories of long ago , it seemed to comfort her a lot even though it made little sense ! I think you are right about the holding and touching and I will try to remember that tomorrow . There are those times of such humour , we laughed like crazy when Mum insisted that she was the England Football Coach ( she never even liked football !!) , thank goodness we have some funny moments !

blue sea

Registered User
Aug 24, 2005
Good luck for your visit, devonmaid. As the others have said, try to be yourself. I would say who you are as you see your mum, 'hello mum , it's your daughter ................' to help trigger her memory. Stay calm and soothing in your tone of voice, Try to make eye contact with her, coming down to her level. Hold her hand , stroke her if she is happy for you to do that. Perhaps it would help you to take a book of prayers and poems with you to read from? Some familiar photos might stimulate her memory connections. Even if your mum doesn't seem to respond, it might give her some sort of comforting feeling. Also it helps you to have something to talk about and look at with her. You might consider taking some familiar music to play to her.
It is really hard seeing your mum like this, but you will feel you have done your best to give her some comfort and support.
Blue sea


Registered User
Mar 7, 2004
Dear devonmaid. Good suggestion from bluesea
taking some familiar music to play to her.
It is so hard to know just what is the right thing to do. I think that whatever you feel comfortable with, stay with.

I keep the radio on in Lionel's room, and when he is receptive to me a gentle hand and arm massage. Used to be able to do his feet, but that seems not to be tolerated so well now.

Hugs and kisses of course. Lots of those.


Registered User
Jun 29, 2007
North Wales
Dear Devonmaid,

Dee, my wife, doesn't know who I am but somehow she knows I am with her all the time.

As others have said, it's the touching and agreeing and helping somehow - with things that mean something to her.

Some where deep in your mum's mind there's love for you but she can't find it - at least that's what I think with Dee.

Best wishes and love


Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
SW Scotland
Dear Devonmaid

I hope your visit goes well tomorrow, or as well as possible. The others have given good advice. Hold her hand, stroke her arm, and above all keep talking to her gently.

Even if she doesn't recognise you, she may recognise your voice, and even if not, if you talk to her quietly and gently, it will be comforting for her. Hearing is the last sense to be lost.

Just be yourself, and try to be as calm as possible. I'm sure you'll be fine. Let us know how it goes.



Registered User
Sep 23, 2007
Dartmoor Devon
Thank you so much to all you lovely people . I am so pleased to have found this site because not only is it a mine of information but I dont feel so alone now . prehaps I should introduce myself ? My name is Kate , I am 60 years old ( just and a very young at heart pensioner too !) . Paul and I live in a small village on Dartmoor Devon , he is disabled which is why I am going alone to see Mum tomorrow . We have six adult children and , wait for it, fourteen grandchildren , very expensive at Christmas time ! We are currently very isolated where we live and are looking to move to somewhere with a few more facilites but staying in the south west where most of the family are . Mum lived at home with my step Father until recently and carers would come to see to her every day but she has deteriorated very quickly and now needs the medical and phsyciatric care which the hospital offers . I really do thank you genuinly for your replies , I will go tomorrow with a less heavy heart .


Registered User
Mar 6, 2007
Wigan, Lancs
Hi Kate and welcome to TP.

Is/was your mum religious? My dad is returning more to his religion, a regular church goer in his youth, but not really bothered for most of his adult life.

Most hospitals have a chaplain, whatever your mum's religion, and he/she may be able to offer some comfort to your mum. Even if your mum can't understand a lot the tone of a chaplain might strike a chord with her.

Just a suggestion.


Registered User
Aug 9, 2005
sue38 said:
Is/was your mum religious? My dad is returning more to his religion, a regular church goer in his youth, but not really bothered for most of his adult life.
Most hospitals have a chaplain, whatever your mum's religion, and he/she may be able to offer some comfort to your mum. Even if your mum can't understand a lot the tone of a chaplain might strike a chord with her.
sue38 said:
Like Sue's Dad, my Dad returned to his religion towards the end. One thing he really enjoyed was listening to the old hymns of his youth. He used to be a choir boy in his youth :eek: - very hard for us to ever picture him in this role!!

If your Mum had any religious times, perhaps listening to old and beloved hymns would be soothing. . . . ?? There are many CDs available - you just need to find ones that are really traditional in my experience. Modern or experimental versions are not suitable.

I feel so sorry for you . It is a desperately difficult situation and so heart breaking. Just know you will always get lots of support on TP.

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
This is really interesting.

My husband has always been a cultural Hindu rather than a religious Hindu. Now he has gone back to being vegetarian, listens to religious Indian music and discussions on Sky and reads all he can about Hinduism.

I put it down to nostalgia, but now I`m having second thoughts.

Thank you Sue and Nell.


Registered User
Sep 23, 2007
Dartmoor Devon
Good morning , its very early and I`ve been up for an hour already , couldnt sleep, just a bit wound up over my visit yesterday to see Mum . It wasnt as bad as I`d prepared for, she did know who I was straight away ! She did talk an awful lot of rubbish and seems to be convinced that all the staff are trying to poison her , steal from her and bully her . She also talked complete rubbish where her sentances didnt make any sense at all, just jumbled up words in no order . She isnt eating much at all and her low fluid intake is worrying the staff a lot . When I left to come home , she cried, oh Lord, she sobbed and I felt terrible leaving her but was told that she would soon forget that I had been as she could not remember that her husband had been to see her the day before but it upset me a lot . The one bright spot of the day was a chap of about 55 or so who came up to me and asked how I was and said Mum was doing really well , he fussed around and then said he was off to speak to the gardeners about tidying up outside and asked if I had found the toilets clean . As the staff do not wear uniforms, I took him to be a male nurse and the penny only dropped when I heard him being chastised by a real nurse for bothering other patients and to go back to his own area !! Mum isnt allowed to lay in bed all day , which is what she wants to do but instead, stimulation is encouraged and yes, she does seem to be thinking more about religion now , I took a very old book of children hymns/songs and we sat and sang some, well, I sang them and Mum did seem to react at times, they must have sparked something in her memory . However, several other residents looked up and smiled, one old chap started to sing along too , I felt a bit self conscious but it didnt matter if I sounded like a strangled cat ! The nurses asked what the book was, its a very old one from my Sunday School days , I had tucked it in my bag at the last minute . I left it with the nurses and as I left, they were scouting round for a member of staff who could read music !! Came home shattered , emmotionally wrung out but aiming at trying to visit once a week if possible .