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Mum living alone

Wigan Lass

Registered User
Jul 26, 2019
Hi Anyone out there,
I have just had a phone call from my mum all upset saying someone has been in her house and stolen her handbag and purse.
I have only left her house 2 hrs ago.
Told her to look at side of her bed which she did and found her handbag and purse.
I feel so guilty every time this happens as she lives alone, and doubt I will get any sleep tonight.
How does anyone else deal with things like this. I am continually anxious waiting for a phone call.


Registered User
Jul 23, 2017
N Ireland
Hello and welcome @Wigan Lass.

I'm sorry to say that this is very typical behaviour and there isn't any real answer to it.

If you feel that this is part of a general anxiety on your mum's part it may be worth talking to her GP to see if they can assist. In my wife's case she is treated for anxiety as well as her dementia and treatment can take the edge off things.

You may find some useful advice in the publication list attached to this site and you can find that by clicking this link https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/publications-factsheets-full-list

Now that you have found us I hope you will keep posting as the membership has vast collective knowledge and experience.


Registered User
Jul 16, 2019
Hi @Wigan Lass, sorry to hear about your situation, it is a difficult one to deal with for sure. Does your Mum sundown i.e. get quite confused late afternoon early evening? Or was this a 'one off'? I am guessing the former as you say that you are 'continually anxious waiting for a phone call'.

If it was a recent development (past few days) or a one off perhaps speak to the GP and check for infections. If it is something more regular that has been going on for a while in different guises e.g. calling you to ask where she is, that is more problematic. I went through the same with my Mum for several months. I totally get that feeling of continuous anxiety, you are always on edge awaiting a call. Unfortunately there is no simple solution (if is isn't caused by an underlying infection), you just have to develop ways of dealing with it that work for Mum. My Mum often thought it wasn't her own bungalow and was worried about the 'owners' coming back, once I realised that I used to tell her they were my friends and wanted her to look after the place and she would then relax and I could get her to bed and stay until she got to sleep. I 'managed' it for a while but it became a daily event that she didn't recognise her own bungalow when she was sundowning and started leaving the house to get 'home'. We made the decision (with Mum) for residential care (we also considered 24 hour home care - but as she recognised the bungalow less and less it wasn't our preferred option). What surprised me most was that she had a much richer life in the care home and was far happier and the anxiety was managed so much better as the carers were there to comfort her if she became confused.

I think all you can do if you want Mum to remain living independently is to accept that you will get regular calls, it's a strange thing but once I accepted that it relieved the anxiety. I don't know if you have family that can help - perhaps you could draw up a rota to help Mum get to bed at night? So you can be assured she is tucked up and comfortable?

I wish you all the best, I know how emotionally and physically draining it can be. Stay strong.


Registered User
Apr 13, 2018
Welcome to Dementia Talking Point @Wigan Lass, you'll get lots of help and support here.
Your post brought back memories as the 'lost' handbag phone call was the first one I had that made me realise that mum's dementia was beginning to progress. At the time she didn't have a diagnosis, but I'd realised for several years that things weren't quite right. I wasn't altogether sure it was dementia as she has very limited eyesight due to macular degeneration and most of the problems she was encountering were not to do with memory as such. With hindsight and now knowing a lot more about the topic it is obvious it was dementia When she phoned about the handbag I spent ages trying to point out that as she was in her home the bag must be there as it always had her keys in it. In the end my brother had to drive two hours to find it for her, while sister-in-law and I took turns to talk to her on the phone. Mum was convinced that the neighbours had stolen it, and that started off a whole chain of events that ended up with me moving her to a care home last May. The handbag incident had been about eighteen months before.
Does your mum have a diagnosis and does she have help coming in, or is it just you? Although this is a tricky time it might be worth thinking about what extra support could be put in place as @karaokePete suggested above.