I'm 23 and it is hard to spend time with my mother.


Registered User
Jun 1, 2017
Hi I'm new. I am 23, female from the UK and my mother is in her 60s.

First off, I am not her carer and she is early on set. (I couldn't find a section that fit)

It is getting increasingly hard for me, I graduated university 2 years ago. I'm writing this as I just found a crumpled piece of card shoved in a cupboard with lottery numbers scrawled all over it - It is my degree certificate for graduating uni...

I live away from home with my boyfriend, but when I come home it is heartbreaking for me. Sometimes I feel so frustrated and angry I want to scream. Everything is unorganized, she puts everything off, if the cat needs the vet check up she will put it off "until next week", which turns into years. She will always have an excuse no matter what, and will refuse to admit she has a problem.

The hardest is when I call her and I'm excited to tell her something, like a promotion at work or something. And usually she will be so engrossed in her TV soaps she will just reply with "oh so-and-so is getting killed off!", then forget what I just told her.

I feel hurt and I feel even worse when I get angry about it because she cant help it. I just dont know how to handle this. How do you cope with it?
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Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
Hi and welcome to Talking Point.

I'm wondering: does your mother live alone? Because what can and cannot be done does rather depend on what support she has on a daily basis.


Registered User
May 21, 2014
She puts things off because she forgets and her brain doesn't compute them anymore, they are too complex and frightening for her. She doesn't refuse to admit she has a problem - in her mind there is nothing wrong with her, but she will automatically neglect things that get too complicated. How many steps are there in organising a vet check-up? You might think there are only a few but you would be surprised. In the dementia course I once took we were asked to write down the steps of making a cup of tea. We couldn't think of many. Then we were invited to think like a person with dementia. What ingredients do you need and where are they? Where is the mug, the spoon, the sugar, the milk, the tea bags and the kettle? What order do they get used in? In your example, what is the vet's number and where can I find it? What do I say when I call them? Where is my diary to write down the appointment? How do I get to the vet? Have I got enough in my purse to pay for it? If not, where is my debit card and the nearest bank? What is my PIN number? Etc etc. Very complex for someone with dementia.

What she needs is support, either from you or from Social Services, so she can handle her affairs. Instead of getting frustrated about things not getting done, offer your help of find someone that could do them for her. I know you miss your Mum the way she was but you will have to get used to the new reality. Has she ever had an assessment from Social Services? If, not contact them. They have duty of care for a vulnerable adult at risk.

You are 23, you're not a kid anymore, and while you can't be expected to move back in and look after her, and I would never advise that anyway, you could educate yourself further about her condition and organise the support she clearly needs. If there is a local Alzheimer's Society office or Carers Centre, contact them. They can help you with forms like applying for Power of Attorney and Attendance Allowance.

Here is a very good article on compassionate communication I would urge you to read:

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Oh Knickers

Registered User
Nov 19, 2016

Sweetpea, these are fairly common traits of dementia, just living in the moment. What is happening on the TV will be more real to her than you on the end of a phone. Do not take it personally. I repeat, do not take it personally.

I can totally understand your distress that your mum has scrawled lotto numbers on the back of your hard worked for degree certificate. However, sad to say, you can ask for a replacement. Get a replacement and get it framed and keep it with you. It is so worth it and so are you.

Nevertheless, your mum needs a proper assessment. Consider calling Social Services and ask for her to be assessed. I can understand how awful experiencing the chaos your mother is living in can be. It does not mean you have to be involved in her care.

I can also hear your pain that your mum takes no interest or joy in what you are achieving without her support. Unhappily, sometimes, that is just the way the cookie crumbles. Not nice, but life.

Build up a good support network of friends and go and enjoy your life. I totally appreciate that you want your parent to take joy in what you are doing, but, sadly, not all of them are capable.

Take care of yourself. And a big {{{{HUG}}}


Registered User
Sep 17, 2010
Welcome to TP. I'm so sorry you need to be here, especially at a time when life should be glorious and full of exciting possibilities for both you and your Mum.

I think the early stages of the disease are hardest for both the person with dementia and their family members. Everyone has to adjust to losing the futures they'd expected; and to realities no-one would want. Later on, one learns to enjoy the good moments when they appear, however fleetingly, and to take comfort from everything one can.
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Registered User
May 10, 2017
Hi and welcome

I'm sorry to hear about your mum.

I can relate regarding the TV, and when you speak to her she changes the subject back to something else.

I skype my parents every week (as i live abroad), and although initially i didn't see much of a change (my mum too has been diagnosed with early dementia), it has become apparent that the changes are happening, we often have a conversation about the same topic discussing the same things for a couple of weeks until it changes.

At first it was soul destroying watching the woman who was always so strong and fearless and always there for me, become scared of her own shadow and life in general, it certainly helps to rather than fight what is happenning but to embrace it and accept it for what it is and the painful bit accepting what is likely to come, you will find that you will become less angry.

being on here has helped me with this process, and although new, i quickly found so much relief knowing there is others in the same boat or who have been in it who are more than willing to share their experience, i now use TP as my educator and somewhere to go to lean on and I hope that as time progresses i too can be there for others.

Its hard but be strong (have the cry, and be angry and purge it from your system, this helped me) i'm pretty sure that if your mum and many of the others who suffer from this had a choice they wouldn't choose this in a million years.

We are all here for you.


Volunteer Host
Apr 1, 2016
Hello Redshoes

23 is very young to be dealing with a parent with dementia. When I was 23 I was just back from uni and still living at home with my parents, at 33 I'd moved on and had my own home and children, at 43 I noticed my mum had started to change - I told her my (now ex) husband was leaving me and the kids. She just changed the subject!! I was devastated!! How could she not care? Now I understand :(

As others have said, people with dementia do lose empathy. It seems to be one of the first things to go, and one of the most difficult things to deal with in the early stages.

From a practical point of view move all your things out of your mum's house as quickly as you can because she's unlikely to respect them or remember who they belong to, so if you want them safe move them. She can't help it, she isn't being mean, it's just what happens. She will gradually become more and more like a young child, and less and less able to cope as things progress so she will need support. Contact social services.

Is there anyone you can share your worries about her with? Does she have good friends, siblings or anyone else who could pop in occasionally to check on her?

I hope you find a way to move forward with this. It's a lot to deal with and you obviously care or you wouldn't be on here.

Remember to live your own life and keep in touch. Whatever happens someone on here will understand.

Ginny Hendricks

Registered User
Feb 18, 2016
As others have said, people with dementia do lose empathy. It seems to be one of the first things to go, and one of the most difficult things to deal with in the early stages.

I know this commonly happens, but it hasn't with either of my parents (both approaching 93 with DLB and Alzheimer's respectively). My father, who can now barely speak, still asks if everyone's well and seems troubled that we're tired and that it's a nuisance for us to visit him. My mother likewise takes a great interest in everybody - and then, of course, forgets what we've told her and asks again...It just shows how different each sufferer's experience can be.

Redshoes - my heart goes out to you. Please do as others have said and seek whatever help is available. Also you must accept that you have your own life to live and you mustn't let this hideous disease destroy it. Your anger and frustration are perfectly justified; express them however you like as long as you aren't hurting your mother, which I'm sure you would never do. You will of course do what you can to help her but you can't and shouldn't be expected to sacrifice yourself. I wish you and your mother well.