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Help needed with MiL's lost daughter


Registered User
Nov 27, 2015
New member here, but need a bit of advice.
MiL is in early stages of dementia - not diagnosed yet but have a hosp appt arranged next week.
She is currently (Friday evening) staying with us, because she is distressed that her daughter is missing, walked out of the house yesterday and hasn't been home since. She seems to be remembering an incident 35 years ago when her daughter as a teenager (now my wife - sitting here in the living room with us) walked out.
She is convinced that she is outside in the cold, and can't get back into the house.
All the advice we have had so far, from TV, etc is not to contradict her but to try & reassure her that the missing daughter is OK, possibly with her sister (now living away) & to distract her from the imagined problem.
Tonight that's not working, she is continually agitated and continually going back to can't leaver her out in the cold, got to find her tonight or call the police...
Anybody on here tonight can offer some advice please?


Registered User
Aug 29, 2007
SW London
If your wife has a mobile phone, could she leave the room or go outside, and you have your MiL phone her? So your wife can say, it's OK, Mum, I'm fine, I'm with (someone from the equally long past that would make sense to your MiL)?
Might be worth a try. Many sympathies - I do know how hard and upsetting it is, dealing with this sort of thing - seeing the person so distressed and being unable to reassure them.

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
You could try telling your MiL you will phone the police and ask their help.

It is possible your MiL is sundowning and might come out of this in a while.

You are right to go along with her, she will be unable to accept reassurance her daughter is present.


Volunteer Moderator
Dec 15, 2012
Hi davidbird
Witzend and Grannie G have already suggested what I would have tried.
Knowing how quickly my dad can spin on the spot - just be ready for her to possibly have the phone conversation/hear you apparently call the police, then see her daughter when she comes back in the room and either know her as grown up daughter and react - or attach the conversation to her and ask how she got back so quickly - or any other switch of thinking - so be prepared to be flexible - and be ready to back down/off quickly - everything is so unpredictable
Best wishes


Registered User
Nov 27, 2015
Thanks all for your suggestions. Actually she dropped off to sleep on the couch, since waking again, seems to be OK, no mention of anyone missing...


Registered User
Nov 27, 2015
Again, thanks for all your help.

After visit to the Memory Clinic, she has a diagnosis of severe depression, anxiety & psychosis, with possible dementia in very early stages.

She now has a prescription for anti-depressants, so we'll see how this goes.


Registered User
Jul 20, 2011
Welcome to TP
Awww your poor MiL, she really is suffering the lot at the moment and you must be stressed too xxx
So glad she managed a nap and fingers crossed the tablets will kick in soon
Thinking of you x