Looking for advice


Registered User
Oct 17, 2005
My grandmother has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimers. Although the doctors have just confirmed it, I have been noticing a change in her behaviour for quite a while now. Her short term memory loss is very poor, she forgets about her personal hygiene and it is not uncommon for her to accuse family members of stealing her belongings etc. She shares a house with my dad, who has lived there since my parents divorced 17 years ago. This may sound harsh, but to say he is useless is an understatement. He does nothing around the house and seems completely unwilling to listen to anything I say about the symptoms of Alzheimers, although my knowledge on the subject is quite limited.

At present, a carer goes to my grandmother's house 3 days a week to assist her in the shower. Her doctor told me he would try to arrange it so that the carer could go more days, if not everyday, but nothing has come of it yet. Something else that was arranged was that twice a week, a bus would pick my grandmother up and take her to a luncheon with other oap's. This is something she thoroughly enjoys and when I speak to her she always tells me about it. However, yesterday I was informed by my dad, that there had been complaints about my grandmother's hygiene and so they would not be picking her up anymore. I find this truly appalling. I have tried to contact them today with no success, but if I have no luck tomorrow, then I will drive over to the place and attempt to get the full story.

Since my dad and my uncle and auntie continue to, in certain ways, ignore the situation, I feel I need some advice as to what I can do to help. I was thinking of maybe contacting her doctors myself to arrange an appointment to speak to them, although I am not sure if this would be possible due to patient confidentiality.

Has anyone got any advice?
Thank you very much in advance.



Registered User
Jun 3, 2005
Hello Laura. and welcome

Oh poor you! What a difficult position to be in, but how lucky your Grandmother is to have someone like you looking out for her. I think that your father is possibly clinically depressed, or just plainly out of his depth - not all men are capable of or comfortable with coping with illness, less so when the patient is a woman (other than a wife) and even less so again when it's his mother, whom he has been brought up to treat with respect. (No offence, you male carers out there. No one said it's easy)

With regard to the hygiene issue, and your Dad telling you that "there had been complaints about my grandmother's hygiene and so they would not be picking her up anymore" for her OAPs lunch, I think this certainly bears further enquiry. Most day-centre carers who are used to interacting with the elderly would be understanding about an occasional 'accident' (eg wetting herself), & I suspect this might be more about HIS embarrassment at being informed of such an incident than them actually saying they won't have her any more. Keep trying to contact them and get to the bottom of it if you can. It would be a shame for her to lose touch with her friends, and to lose out on an activity which she enjoys. After all, it gives both of them a break.

I'm sure that your Gran's GP wouldn't refuse to see you to discuss the problems; patient confidentiality means he can't tell you anything that is very personal or confidential, not that he can't talk to you about her at all. You might also try to talk to the practice nurse, or community nurse practitioner (District Nurse, in days when job titles actually described what the person did!) Perhaps once you have seen him/her, you could arrange a home visit at which you could be present, having discussed it with your Gran beforehand. Whether you think it would be better with or without your Dad present, you would be the best person to judge.

Consider, however, that your Dad would probably feel very hurt &/or resentful to be excluded from things. Whilst he might not be the best carer in the world, he has probably been doing his best in a difficult situation. She is his Mother, after all, and now is not the time for family upsets; the same applies to your Uncle & Auntie (Son & daughter-in-law?). You are all going to have to support each other. Maybe with some practical guidance as to how to do things, he will be able to make a better contribution, if he feels that he is getting something right. It can be very demoralising, trying to cope with something which you don't really understand, and feeling that you get it wrong all the time.

And do, please, keep coming back here for advice from carers who know MUCH more about it all than I do, and will probably give you better advice.

Best wishes, and bless you for caring
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Registered User
Oct 23, 2003
West Sussex
Dear Laura, I had a similar situation with my Mum. She had been going to a day centre for the elderly infirm, but not EMI and also to a Crossroads Monday club, also not EMI. This went fine for a while till Mum's behaviour became too bizarre for them to handle. I was asked to remove her and she started going to a day centre for elderly people with dementia problems, EMI for short. Sounds like this is what has just happened with your Nan. It may appear that your Dad is not dealing with your Nan's illness, but if he is there with her all the time, 24/7 it would be unlikely that he doesn't notice anything wrong. He may of course be in denial, this is something we all tend to do to some degree at times. If you can, try to talk to him and ask how best you can help him, he may well feel alone and completely out of his depth. If your Nan is already receiving some care, then he must have had a say in setting this up mustn't he? Hopefully a new day centre can soon be found for her and the increased care package come into being. Perhaps you could offer to chase these up for him and go to discuss your Nan's needs with the GP and SS with him? It is a tricky situation, if you go in with guns blazing you may well regret it. These are just my own thoughts, if I am wrong then please forgive me and dismiss them. With love, She. XX

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