Lady with dementia, but no family to look after her


Registered User
Oct 29, 2005
Hi, this is my second thread on TP - I've still got things to ask about my dad possibly having dementia, but am suffering from a really bad cold (still) :eek: and I think this is more important. Also, I think I need more of a clear head to talk about my dad, especially following a chat I had with my mum this evening, which didn't go the way I'd hoped it would :(


My sister-in-law is friends with a lady called Edna. Edna is not related to any of us in any way, but her (Edna's) cousin is married to s-i-l and my husband's uncle. Confused - sorry, told you I don't have a clear head. :rolleyes: Anyway, my s-i-l has sort of adopted Edna and treats her as a member of the family.

Well, this morning s-i-l phoned my husband and asked him to pop round to see Edna and pass on a message to her. Her phone wasn't working (the message was about when BT would be round to fix it for her). Edna lives quite near us, so hubby popped round after taking the kids to school but couldn't get any answer from her. He phoned his sister and she has a key to Edna's house, so eventually they were able to get into the house.

Edna had had a fall. If I remember correctly, she's recently had surgery - not sure if it was a hip replacement. She'd soiled herself, so hubby and his sis tried to clean her up whilst waiting for an ambulance.

During all this Edna was saying things like "my bed is so hard - why is it so hard?" not realising that she was lying on the floor - and "nothing's wrong with me, why do I need to go to hospital?" S-I-L said these type of comments are typical, and sometimes Edna gets really irritated if s-i-l asks her how she's feeling. She's always put a brave face on things and saying she can cope just fine. She does have a daughter, but she lives a long way away, and as far as I know is not involved with Edna at all.....if anything ever goes wrong with Edna, it's my s-i-l and her husband who always help her out.

When I heard all this from my hubby, the first thing I said was that it sounded like she has dementia. It's been obvious for a while that she's not coping living alone, but s-i-l keeps helping out to the point where she's making herself ill over it.

Edna is a regular church goer, but apparently there is no sheltered housing or anything similar, that is run by the CofE, which would be ideal for her, as she's given so much of her life to the church. There IS one home near the village we live in that she might be able to get into, that takes people with dementia. People from the church do pop in to visit Edna, but I'm not sure how much they can help out.'s the do we, not being related, and with Edna flatly denying that anything is wrong with her, get her the help she needs? Should we speak to her doctor? Would he/she listen to us? (well, it would be s-i-l doing all this, as hubby and I are not nearly as involved as she is).

I'm more concerned that my sister-in-law won't do what needs doing. This sounds like an awful thing to say, but she loves to be the martyr, and I don't know if she'd actually do anything to get Edna into a home - or at least get help in the home from social services or whomever. I think she'd like Edna to stay in her own home and carry on running herself into the ground, just because it's "the right thing to do". After Edna had her op recently, I kept suggesting that social services should be involved in helping Edna until she was back on her feet properly, but s-i-l refused to look into it, but was quite happy to complain about how worn out she was from looking after Edna :confused:

Sorry this is so long and rambling.....I feel like I'm swimming through a murky sea with this head cold and am finding it hard to express myself properly, but I really wanted to post this tonight.

Also, does anyone have contact details for dementia/alzheimer's support in Oxfordshire? We're in the south of the county.

I hope this post made some sense - apologies again for rambling :eek:


Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
A fall, coupled with recent operation, particularly if a person is quite old, can disorientate them badly, which can in turn lead to confusion.

While the symptoms may appear to you to be caused by a dementia, it is important to get her GP involved as soon as possible before you start going off at a tangent looking for homes.

If dementia is the cause then she needs a firm assessment and diagnosis.

GP is the first call. No, they probably won't talk to you about her, but if you explain your concerns, then they may make a home visit.

I appreciate your concern, and it is so frustrating, isn't it?


Registered User
Oct 29, 2005
thank you Bruce - I'll tell s-i-l to talk to the doc.

I should have said that these symptoms - of disorientation, occasional aggressive behaviour and bad memory etc - have been going on for about 15 months, and that's why I thought she might have dementia.


Registered User
Oct 23, 2003
West Sussex
Hi, if the lady has now been taken to hospital again, she may well be followed up as being at risk. Her GP should at the very least get a written report about this latest fall. This will be a good "opener" for a chat with them to discuss her welfare etc. Love She. XX


Registered User
Mar 23, 2005
Hi JackaNoodle,

As Sheila has said, if she has been admitted to hospital there should be some sort of assessment before she is discharged. I have a friend who works as a social worker in a hospital and these are exactly the types of cases that she sees coming into A&E on a regular basis.

Mind you, this lady recently had a hip operation and was sent home with no care package in place??? However, several people have posted on TP about people with dementia who can seem quite capable when interviewed by Social Services.

That is where someone like your SIL comes in. She would be able to give a fuller picture to the doctor or social worker involved.

Take care,