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How to discuss early diagnosis with elderly parents


New member
Jan 17, 2021
Hello everyone -

We are very new to this and are at the early stages of diagnosis for both my parents (father 90 and mother 92). The real difficluty we have is how to communicate this to them, especially my mother, who isn't aware and thinks it is just my father who has dementia.

We are trying to get things ready so they can stay at home as long as possible but getting them to agree to anything (e.g. moving bedroom downstrairs, shower conversion, lasting power of attorney, getting carers etc) is very very difficult. They can't stand change of any kind.

How to get around it - do we go with what they want and nothing changes or do we go ahead anyway in their best interests and upset them? We have told them that their 'wishes' aren't always the same as 'needs' - they reluctanctly agree then its back to square one when we start to make any changes.

Has anybody been in this spot before and has any advice we'd be very grateful.


Registered User
Nov 1, 2016
We were asked by the consultant, who was giving the results of the tests to mum, what outcomes we wanted from the meeting. We told him that we wanted mum to agree to setting up POA and also to stop driving. He was able to discuss these points with mum and she was happy to do as he said - she respected him and trusted him because he was a professional.

Is this something you could get their doctor to discuss with them?


Volunteer Host
Apr 13, 2018
Hi @RiverRun and welcome to Dementia Talking Point. You'll get lots of help and advice here.
First of all if you can arrange Lasting Power of Attorney it will make things much easier going forward. You could say it is something everyone over a certain age should do, maybe fill in the forms for yourself too. You don't need to send those off, but it'll give your parents the idea it is a 'normal' thing. I managed to get my mother to agree to it through getting one of her friends to say what a useful thing it was. You could also highlight if you don't organise it now any other solution will be more expensive, and they may have less control over what happens.
This thread Compassionate Communication with the Memory Impaired has some excellent ideas about how to approach things. Don't beat yourself up if it doesn't always work, I found it very tricky to do, but when I managed it, it did help.
If you can arrange a little help now, it will really help in the long term. My brother in law has been my mother-in-law's carer for many years, and never got help in as it upset her. It's now got to the stage when he can no longer cope single handed (he doesn't live with her) and the family had to arrange carers. She wasn't happy at first, but now seems to enjoy seeing different people every day.
Finally don't dismiss the idea of a move to a care home. I know a lot of people promise their person with dementia (PWD) that they will never move them to a home, but sometimes it is the best solution. Certainly it has been for my mother. It might be worth doing a bit of preliminary investigation. This site Care Home UK has a lot of useful information.
I'm sure others will be along with their ideas very shortly.
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Registered User
Jan 13, 2019
The financial options are always a good lever for getting LPAs done. Point out how much more expensive it would be if anything happened to them - accident, stroke etc. (-just don’t mention dementia) and they were unable to run their own finances. You would have to apply to The Court of Protection who charge for everything and you would have to report back to them annually. Quite honestly they are a good thing for you to organise for yourself anyway, accidents happen at any time!
The same goes for Health & Welfare, with LPAs in place you have a right to discuss things with the medical profession about your parents’ health and help them come to decisions that you know your parents would want. An Advance Directive can be useful here.
Many people on the board have done LPAs themselves online but I personally found it easier to hand the whole lot over to my solicitor who keeps the originals safely and provided me with certified copies. Your parents may feel happier if they go this route so that they know it is all done properly.


Registered User
May 21, 2018
Hello @RiverRun . It's so tricky persuading stubborn parents to accept help. They are from a time when asking for, or accepting, help was seen as weakness and they all just jolly well got on with things without your help thank you very much. I expect I will probably be like that if I get to that age too.

I see you have had lots of good advice already. I've put a link below to Age UK, who offer some useful services (might not all be running at present, of course). I wonder if you might be able to introduce some of these services rather than actual "carers" at first. You might want to refer to it as something other than Age UK! Some members have had success by introducing outside help as friends of theirs or local people who need the work/training.

As far as changing the house, I think perhaps little at a time is the best approach. Make some tiny changes (little things to help in the kitchen perhaps) and buildup to the bigger stuff slowly. They may feel more in control that way and not as though you are taking over.