Empty promises...


Registered User
Mar 4, 2013
Auckland...... New Zealand
I thought I'd heard it all when my husband was sick, and was going through chemo and radiation when my 2 kids were only 18mths & 6yrs, ( you really get to see who you can count on ) but I really expected differently, when Mum (72) was diagnosed with a form of Leukemia 2 yrs ago, surgery in Jan for early stage bowel cancer, and now moderate AD diagnosis. Especially as I am still carer for my husband, 2 kids 11 & 16, and now main carer for Mum.

Mum thank goodness has never driven but has always been independant, walking everywhere or catching buses. Sadly this no longer happens and I wouldn't want her to.
Dad is quite content to stay a home every day, but Mum gets restless and a bit depressed. Our gloomy rainy winter weather doesn't help. ( sorry I know there is a heat wave in the UK at the moment:eek:. )
She does go to a senior citz club 2x a week, and I take her out as much as her can.
I am checking into a day programme through our AD Society

I've lost count of how many family members (and Mums sisters) have said
"We'll take your Mum out for lunch"
"We"ll take your Mum out for a coffee"
"We'll come over and visit"
"We'll organise a get together and pick your Mum & Dad up"
"We"ll pick your Mum & Dad up and have them over for tea"
"We should have a ladies weekend away somewhere"

IT NEVER HAPPENS! :mad: Do I really need to phone them and remind them!?

If I can expect this when Mum is still relatively well, what can I expect when she gets worse???:mad:
I know this sounds completely awful, but by the time they do visit, I wouldn't feel at all bad if Mum doesn't know who they are :rolleyes:


Registered User
Nov 11, 2010
north Wales
I know what you mean, I'd like a pound for every time one of hubby's relatives say they are coming.
They go camping about 20 minute drive away but still never come.
Yet they expect us to drive 220 mile round trip to see them and hubby's just come out of hospital after 8 weeks in there.
The invisibles strike again.!!!!!


Account Closed
Jul 4, 2013
So sorry to hear this and can relate all too well!

I really dont understand this about people?? My uncle was having an op for prostate cancer the emails,FBook were flying all over the place worried etc.........

I then told all my mums relatives that i think she is showing signs of dementia and guess what NOTHING????????????????????

Why is it that people just run or dont want to know???

If id told them mum had cancer would they have done the same I dont think so??

Nobody wants to know when you mention this??

What a selfish lot have told my mums sister she is not to visit here until shes found out about dementia and that she needs to be a bit more patient around her,the last visit was a nightmare with her moaning at how SLOW my mum was of course this was before I realised its dementia.

My neighbour told me that when her mum got als the neighbours were never to be seen again how awful sometimes people are really horrible!!

Hope you get a break soon im lucky in one sense i dont have kids coping with my mum feels like im looking after a hundred all at once!!

I have learned to say it like it is since this and I would just say something to them its not right and its not fair on you let alone your poor mum do they think she dosnt feel it??

My mum is constantly saying to me noone wants you when youre old sad I know but not true just wish I had my old mum back!



Registered User
May 21, 2012
Sydney, Australia
Lin, people glibly say what they think you want you hear, and makes them SEEM considerate and caring. Words are very cheap, in fact, no currency at all in The Land of Dementia.

The truth is, dementia terrifies those with no experience of it. My mum and her sister, M, have lived next door to each other for over 40 years. M has come over for afternoon tea daily for all that time, and has witnessed Dad's decline, and Mum says she has always been terrified of any illness in others. Mum is younger but said when they were small and their mum became ill, Mum was the one to deal with it, while her sister quietly stood by in fear. Once Dad was unable to be left alone, I think I can count on one hand the times we asked her to be with him for a half hour if Mum needed to go to the GP or something. Every time there was some situation, even minor, Mum's first instinct was to phone me to come and help. I'm not saying my aunt is selfish or unkind, she certainly isn't, but her fear of being alone with Dad was palpable, and he was never violent or aggressive, or even needing more than someone to be present to say where Mum was.

During his 4 week hospital stay she and her daughter came once a few days before his transfer to a CH, and promptly burst into tears, with me comforting them. They said that was the reason they put off coming to visit, because they knew they'd be devastated by his state.

But even in early stages, people simply have no concept of that person's condition, and do that thing friends do when they say, "We must get together some time over coffee/We should call each other more often," never happens. We speak but don't act.

I'm sorry you feel abandoned, I think caring is the most isolating position, ironic when you realise how many carers there are in our own backyards. It sounds like you are quite literally overwhelmed, a sick husband, a family to raise, a mum to add to the list, how burdened you are. I always love the reality checks TP provides just when we think we are hard done by, there's always someone climbing a much higher mountain.

I hope the virtual support and empathy you receive here can help in some small way to reduce that isolation and burden for you.

Take care,
Stephanie, xxx


Registered User
Jan 28, 2012
Morning Lin,

My brother lives 20 minutes away. He doesn't phone or visit. When my dad was sick/dying ,he didn't help. He was still living at home, but stayed out so left it all to mum to do.

I used to ask for help, or would he have mum for a weekend, and was told yes, but of course it never materialised.

As much as it angers me and makes me want to scream, I don't ask him for anything now. I don't phone him, I don't want anything to do with him.

But when I used to ask mum wasn't she angry about him not helping with dad, she always made an excuse for him and said he couldn't cope with it.

Maybe I should keep badgering him, but if you have to ask your own brother to help his mum, is it worth it? I know I'm doing the best I can, so he can deal with his own conscience.

Just another aspect of the situation, one child does it all.

Sorry I was no help, but there does seem to be a lot of people around who can turn a blind eye. Thank God we're not among them!


Registered User
May 24, 2011
Couldnt agree more with what is being said.
I had to fly 400miles twice a month to see mum to make sure she went to hosp appointments, had her fridge emptied of rotten food etc, and when I felt that 1 I could afford to do it anymore and was knackered doing it, her brother commented that I really could do more (he who never offered anything).
Personally Ive washed my hands of a lot of them, and have to say that after mum dies, I probably will have little to do with any of them, including my brother.
She has had a couple of friends who continue to phone/write to her, and I have a couple of cousins who keep in touch with me, but its been a lonely time.
Blood thicker than water? Dont think so!


Registered User
Jun 2, 2013
Melbourne, Australia
"IT NEVER HAPPENS! Do I really need to phone them and remind them!?"

Hi Linbrusco,
my first reaction to the question was why bother? If it costs them more than the petrol they use getting to your Mum's, their company's probably not much use anyway. Then I reconsidered.
Sure, I think they're no great loss but nothing's going to change in this world if one person silently does all the caring. Invisibles rely on us to keep their conscience's clear, after all missing a chance to do their share because they're busy with work and besides, X does such a great job, sits much more comfortably than 'I didn't really give that much of a toss':)
So hit the phone! A promise is a promise, at the very least they'll stop getting your Mum's hopes up. My stepfather (more of a father) died last Sunday and I expected and received no help apart from outpourings of grief at the funeral. Today I wish I'd pricked those comfy consciences a bit, from the eulogies you'd never know how my poor SF longed to see the eulogists in his last weeks. They were too busy for him but not for his funeral!!!
My Mum also has never driven and needs daily support, and whilst I don't have or want anyone to take the reins for more than a few hours, I'm resolved to holding people to their promises and rather looking forward to it actually :D
Maybe you and your sister can do tag team on the reminders and debrief over a glass of wine :)
Wishing you ten times the support you're getting now, you certainly need it,
Toni x


Registered User
Aug 7, 2011
Uk Expat
Today I wish I'd pricked those comfy consciences a bit, from the eulogies you'd never know how my poor SF longed to see the eulogists in his last weeks. They were too busy for him but not for his funeral!!!

Toni x

I know how you feel, when my Nan died quite a few years ago, my Mum used to Nans before she went to work (Mum started work at 7:30), in her lunch hour & when she finished work, sometimes in the evening & at weekends, luckily Mum worked near Nans. Mums 2 brothers who lived nearer Nan didn't do anything, yet when Nan died 1 of my Mums brothers was devastated & wished he'd done more while she was alive. Yes, Mum was upset, she cried a lot & was missing her Mum but at least she knew she had done everything she could to help, when her Mum needed her the most.
Karma springs to mind!!

Lima xx


Registered User
Jul 10, 2013
How true! I thought it was just us that no longer had any friends but now realise that many others are in the same situation. Our friends started to drop off gradually as my husband had problems and asked the same questions repeatedly. Then he had a stroke which made the dementia worse and other people just could not cope with this, or didn't want to be bothered. I have accepted that this is how life is now and don't worry about it any more.


Registered User
Mar 4, 2013
Auckland...... New Zealand
Thanks all for your replies.
My mind is such a muddle... On one hand I do wish those people would be true to their word, and on the other hand I just think ****** it! And knowing me I will just dig my heels in and not ask for help other than my sister.

If there has ever been a time for " Invisibles" it is now.

Mums younger sister 55 & brother 59 she sees or hears from one year to the next. They both live within 30 mins away and they both refuse to believe that there is anything wrong with Mum other than old age.
I do believe though that Mums sister has taken advantage of her failing memory telling us and Mums other sisters that she rings Mum often. As far as I can see its been once in the last 6 mths.
She doesn't know that Mum has Caller ID and I check Mums phone every day to see who has rung and who Mum might have rung.
My brother is a semi invisible... He visits from time to time, and thinks he's doing his bit. He still gets angry at Mum for forgetting things, despite Mum having a white board for important reminders. My brother won't use it.
I can't even remember the last time he took them out anywhere, but then says I have his phone number if I need him! For what! What use would he be?
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