Help and advice needed please


Registered User
Jun 12, 2007
My father has been diagnosed with early stages of Alzheimers. He's 78 and the only symptoms at the moment are very poor short term memory. He still seems to be able to function as normal in other aspects of his life. He does the Daily Telegraph cryptic crossword every day, writes sermons for church etc. My mother hasn't told him of his diagnosis and he just thinks he has a bad memory and is taking Aricept. His poor memory does frustrate him and get him down. I was looking for advice about whether he should know of his diagnosis as I can see benifits in telling him and not telling him. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you in advance


Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
Hi andyk and welcome to TP.

Some people reckon the person should definitely be told.

Some people definitely reckon they should not be told.

So there is no 100% answer to your question: it all depends on the person, the family situation.

Do you know why your Mum has not told your Dad of his diagnosis?

If your Mum believes it would not be for the best, then I'd be thinking that she would know. "Bad memory" is a perfectly adequate thing to be told.

Have a chat with her about it, and perhaps she can help you understand her position and - of course - your Dad's.


Registered User
Jun 12, 2007
Many thanks Brucie, I appreciate you getting back to me. I think my mum's not told my dad simply because she doesn't want him to worry any more than he already is doing. She's trying to protect him I guess.


Registered User
Mar 21, 2003
Hi Andy and welcome again,

you may want to take a look at this recent thread as many people commented on their experiences regarding telling someone about the diagnosis. It is a difficult area, but I really believe there is no single way to approach this. Click on the link below:

Make sure you start at the first post and work your way up as it will make more sense. I doubted my mums decision not to tell dad, but in the long run it worked well for dad in his particular case. It sounds like your mum has his best interest at heart and is just trying to work out what is best for dad at the moment.

kind regards


Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
Hi and welcome to TP

There's another aspect to this, of course: if he's told, will he remember? There are a fair number of people on TP whose loved ones have been told the diagnosis but no longer have any recollection of it. You say he's still fucntioning reasonably well: if he's still reading I would be a trifle suprised if he didn't "know' even if he hasn't mentioned it: Aricept is really only prescribed in the UK for AD. On the whole I'm in the camp that thinks people should be told, but shouldn't have it rubbed in: if they don't remember (or appear not to remember) there's seems no advantage in getting the sufferer to "accept" it.

I do think we (the carers) sometimes like to have a label for things: in some way it makes it easier for us, but I don't know that that is true for the people who actually have AD. After all, focusing on the diagnosis at the expense of the rest of their lives isn't particularly productive, since apart from the sort of medication that your father is already taking, there's no real medical intervention that can make a difference at this time.


Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Hi Andy.

We didn`t tell my husband when he was diagnosed, even though we were together for the diagnosis, it didn`t register with him.

We didn`t tell him because we thought it was too shocking and wanted to protect him.

As time wore on and his condition deteriorated, I decided the time was right for him to have an answer, and so I told him.

Your mother is probably doing something similar. She is the one who lives with your father, she knows him best and she knows how the news will affect both their lives.

If he`s still doing cryptic crosswords, he has a long way to go yet.

If I were you, I`d respect your mother`s decision.

Take care


Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
... and a further aspect.

sometimes, I think that people want to tell the person to a degree to offload the information from themselves, to spread the weight a bit.

It is a huge weight to bear when a partner does not tell their other half.

Of course there is the other side of the story. To tell a person may relieve the person who has dementia of worry, and it may help them to open up to being helped more.

so, no 'right' thing to do, just options.


Registered User
Jan 4, 2006
Andy sounds to me as though your father is an intelligent man - most likely suspects that he has AD - if he knows that he has a problem with his memory and is on Aricept. If he hasnt asked the question 'Is it alzheimers?' I suspect that he does not want to face the answer.
Only my opinion.
Love Helen

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