Has anyone been in a similar situation?


Registered User
Nov 23, 2007
My mum hasn't been diagnosed as having Alzheimer's - or any other form of dementia - but appears to be suffering from some of the symptoms. She's 79 years old, fiercely independent and thinks her children are still children in as much as our opinions don't count (although we are both middle-aged professional people and I have six grandchildren). She's refused to been seen by a G.P. throughout her life - her last visit was in 2000 when my husband took her, when she was suffering from 'flu' and was delirious, so she couldn't argue with him.

Mum still lives in her own home and won't consider having anyone help her, although she hasn't cleaned her home in years. When she broke both of her wrists earlier this year and had to live with me for a while, my sister and I had the house cleaned throughout: it's now back to the state it was previously in, with the kitchen worksurfaces covered in rotten and mouldy food and her table piled high with junk mail and newspapers, which she refuses to get rid of.

Unfortunately, the main problem is that she eats so little that she now appears skeletal. Her only calories seem to come from the bottle (or two) of wine that she drinks each day. She suffers from cataracts, but has been told she can't have the operation to remove them until she has put on weight. I've tried to get her to take the types of soups used during convalescence, but although she says she's taking them, I know she isn't. She lives in the country, but drives into the nearby village each day. As she now no longer knows day from night,her neighbours have told me she has regularly driven to try to pick up her morning papers after midnight (and went to get her hair done somewhere between midnight and 7am this morning), she's probably well over the limit when she goes out. She seems to have a lot of minor accidents - which, she says, are always the other driver's fault. Although I felt awful doing it, I did report her to the Police, as if she ends up injuring someone I would feel guilty. The Police told me there's nothing they can do unless her G.P. says she shouldn't be driving. As she refuses to see him she will continue to be a danger on the roads. She also gets her money very muddled now (although she used to be an accountant)and ends up giving tradespeople far more money than they ask for, on occasion. There are also people who take advantage of her generosity - for instance she gave a trailer to someone who put in new windows for her.

What I want to know is how to not interfere in my mum's life and independence, but to ensure that she remains safe and doesn't harm anyone else. If you have any ideas at all, please let me know.


Registered User
Jul 6, 2007
leigh lancashire
Dear Russett

Your post resembles so many other posts on this forum.What can you do if they deny there is a problem?The advice i had from TP when dad was in denial and refusing to see his GP was to write to the GP and express mine and my families concerns.I did this and his GP did an assessment of him on a routine appointment for his b12 injection.Maybe your mums GP could visit her at a time arranged when you will be present.The drinking and driving issue is a big worry for anyone let alone someone who may have health issues aswell.Such worrrying times for you.hope you kep your chin up.
love elainex


Registered User
Jul 31, 2007
Dear Russett,
Welcome to Talking Point. Although we are not experts, we pool help, support, advice.
Sometimes we have to tell little white lies to help our loved ones. Is it possible to see the G.P. to express your concern? Listing everything down is a great help. As for the driving, that part really is worrying. My husband at 58 was diagnoised with A.D. and the driving had to stop. Is there some way that you can remove distributor or some other way of disabling the car?
There is help out there. There are the fact sheets on Alzheimer's web page to down load. Finding your local A.D. Branch would also help as to which approach to take. I wish you the very best. Christine


Registered User
Mar 7, 2004
Dear Russet, you quote:
What I want to know is how to not interfere in my mum's life and independence, but to ensure that she remains safe and doesn't harm anyone else
I am afraid that you are going to have to interfere in her life.
Her GP is the first route to take, as Elaine suggests. Maybe if mum has not already had a flu jab it could be coupled with that.

She obviously is not looking after herself, so maybe it is time for gentle persusion. As you say she does not appear to be eating enough, and you must be out of your mind with worry about the driving (let alone the drinking).

Please try to get someone involved, sooner rather than later.
I have found, in the past, that printing out my own thread, and letting someone (the GP perhaps) read it, helps to speed the situation along.

Please let us know how things go. Thinking of you,


Registered User
Jul 10, 2006
south lanarkshire
Hi Russett

Could you perhaps disable the car so that it doesn't start? While also informing GP, Psychatrist that she is not fit to drive.

I have been in the same position as you, my parent's house was filthy and although we tried to clean, help and cook and tried to see that they were fed properly, Mum was so much in denial and so independant that it was impossible.

We had to wait until the time was right then I moved them here beside me (for a holiday) then eventually (again for a holiday into care)

Dementia is a waiting game, for the next receptive or neccessary stage

Do your the best you can at the moment, until you can do better:confused:

Good luck


Registered User
Aug 9, 2007
N E England
Has anyone been in a similar situation? Russett: Yes & no, the symptoms are oh so, so familiar to me but the circumstances not so bad (My Dad has vascular dementia) He has the same traits but I don't let it get that bad.

You need to take control & take control now. It is soooo hard to do the whole role reversal thing & tell a parent what to do but your situation is well past that. I regularly throw out mouldy food, junk mail, old newspapers behind my Dad's back,I have got being sly off to a fine art. Making a cup of tea means I can rummage in his fridge and hide bad food in carriers & smuggle them to the bin or even taken them home.

Make a list of the concerns you have posted on here & either make an appointment to see her GP & take the list with you or put them down in a letter to him/her. They have their ways & means, calling them in for a check up or whatever, if you don't want your Mum to know you instigated this say so to the GP. If you don't get action soon enough write again. this really can't go on any longer, take charge. Good luck x


Registered User
Sep 10, 2005
Making a cup of tea means I can rummage in his fridge and hide bad food in carriers & smuggle them to the bin or even taken them home.
:)Had to smile at this, Chrissyan. You and me both! Russett as the others have said, you need to resort to white lies. I'd write to your mum's GP and involve him/her as quickly as possible. Once the GP is involved hopefully it will start a chain of events that will help your mum and you. My mum is also very independent and has no insight into her illness; mouldy food, mismanagement of money, loss of empathy, no reasoning ability and forgetfulness. Dementia does not come alone!

Post back and let us know how you get on with the doctor.

Best wishes.