Getting help


New member
May 23, 2024
Any advice would be so much appreciated. My partner and I have been caring for his father who sadly died of cancer 5 weeks ago and this has significantly worsened my mother in laws symptoms. She has all the signs of dementia but GP refuses to diagnose. She has started swearing and getting angry, thinks her son is husband, won’t wash, wears same clothes every day and refuses to change m, misplaces things, short term memory. We are also helping his brother who is late stages of cancer so it’s all getting too much.

She gets so angry and upset if care home is mentioned, She is rude to any carers as she says she doesn’t want strangers in house. I feel she is unsafe on her own and my partner has LPA but it is so upsetting to see her get so distressed at thought of moving. She stayed with other son for 2 days to give us a break but was so anxious and verbally abusive that I had to collect her.

Please could you help advise what we do next


Volunteer Moderator
Aug 31, 2003
Welcome to the forum @Helen2709.

I’m sorry to hear about your MIL. It must be distressing for you all.

It’s a shame that GP won’t diagnose - have they done any assessments and have they given a reason for not diagnosing? I suppose you could ask for her to be seen by another GP in the practice. I would record all of your concerns and send a letter to the GP practice, emphasising how vulnerable your MIL is.


Registered User
Feb 18, 2017
GPS don’t diagnose dementia, a memory clinic or equivalent do usually via a psychiatrist . Is it that the GP won’t make a referral? Is there another GP you can see in the practice? If not do as @Izzy has suggested and complain that if the GP won’t make a referral then what are they doing to support your MIL at this very difficult time.
Just to add,my mum went down hill very quickly after my dad died suddenly and the psychiatrist at the memory clinic was adamant that she was suffering with grief and anxiety but mum could not pass any memory tests. Eventually mum was seen by a psychologist who made a diagnosis. There was no way mum needed to do all the back and forth to the clinic and I lived 300 miles away. I made an official complaint about the psychiatrist and the way she made us feel and kept insisting mum do more and more tests that really upset her and stressed her out. So even with a referral, it can be an uphill struggle. Mum was moved to the consultant psychiatrists list and all was well after that.


Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
South coast
Has the GP done the memory screening test, blood tests and talked about referring to the memory clinic? Because, you see, the GP cannot diagnose dementia - it has to be done by the memory clinic.

If the GP won't refer then I would send in an email or letter bullet pointing all your concerns and try and speak to a different doctor. The doctor will not be able to talk to you about your MIL (because of patient confidentiality) but they can listen

Aqua Marina

Registered User
Dec 26, 2023
I went to dad's gp with him dec 2022 and said about the problems Dad had cognitively, GP said you have dementia, stop driving and he referred Dad to the memory clinic.
All docs and receptionists at the practice have helped me by talking to me about both parents as it's obvious that my parents need me to arrange everything, despite any patient confidentiality. Pity that common sense doesn't apply everywhere.