Mum refuses to visit doctors but I am struggling to cope

Discussion in 'Recently diagnosed and early stages of dementia' started by Stephg46, Aug 5, 2014.

  1. Stephg46

    Stephg46 Registered User

    Aug 5, 2014
    I am new here - and would be so grateful for help and advice.

    I think my 86 year old mum has some form of dementia - she is confused, is losing speech, has memory problems and cannot spell fairly simple words. The doctor arranged an appointment for a memory test for her over a year ago but she cancelled and will not discuss it or visit the doctors.

    She relies on me for everything which is fine, but she is becoming more difficult to cope with. There is mouldy food in her fridge which she will not allow me to throw out (she got quite aggressive today when I tried to discuss it with her) and doesn't recognise money (she asked my son 'what is this' when she took a 50p from her purse.)

    She is also becoming very suspicious of me, saying I want her dead, and accused my son of eating all her food (he had a biscuit). She shouts at me frequently and nothing I do is right.

    There is just me to cope with her - my brother lives 2 hours away and is often abroad. His answer is to 'make her go to the doctors' but has no ideas how to make her. I just want to do the best for her, but came away from her house today feeling a failure.

    Please help me.
  2. BR_ANA

    BR_ANA Registered User

    Jun 27, 2012
    Bumping your post.

    In your case I would write a diary about her, e-mail it to her GP and ask GP for a visit on her home.
  3. Lindy50

    Lindy50 Registered User

    Dec 11, 2013
    #3 Lindy50, Aug 6, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2014
    Hi Steph and welcome to TP :)

    I agree that your mum does need to be seen by a doctor. Her health is being compromised (eg she could get food poisoning, malnutrition etc) and in addition, you need support.

    I think BR_ANA's idea is a good one. Write down a list of some of the most significant issues (a bit as you have done here). You could then either send this to your mum's GP, or preferably get a phone consultation or surgery appointment in which you can describe the problems without your mum being there. They probably won't want to breach her confidentiality, but hopefully they will take on board what you say. Perhaps you could suggest they visit her for a 'routine check up' and take it from there.

    All the best with this :)

    Lindy xx
  4. Stephg46

    Stephg46 Registered User

    Aug 5, 2014
    Thank you for your replies

    Thank you - GP is aware and has made a home visit, but mum has told him not to discuss anything with me. The GP says that matters will need to get a lot worse before anything is done, and while I am coping they will not do anything.

    I have contacted GP again today after the mouldy food incident but don't hold out much hope.

    I feel I am beginning to 'lose' my mum - we have always been very close, but she really seems to hate me, and has little interest in my or my son's welfare. Is this lack of empathy usual? she has become very self-centred and keeps saying things such as 'I know you want me to die but I am going to live for years'.

    I feel I can't be natural around her any more and I hate to say this, but I am beginning to dread going round. I visit every day (twice sometimes) but everything I do she says she could do herself (she can't).
    Where do I go from here?
  5. Lindy50

    Lindy50 Registered User

    Dec 11, 2013
    Oh dear Steph, I am sorry things are so difficult :(

    I do know what you mean about losing your mum simply can't comprehend our lives any more, although she does always say a fairly regular ( and vague) "love to the family". A lack of empathy is, I understand from others on here, very common as dementia goes on :(

    As to where you go from here......Well, maybe it's time to contact social services, if you haven't already done this? You could ask for an assessment for your mum ( though she's likely to refuse it) and you could also ask for a Carers Assessment. This will give you the opportunity to describe the problems without involving your mum, and should result in some support for you.

    You may find these links helpful:

    All the best and keep posting :)

    Lindy xx
  6. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    Unfortunately Steph you're going down a well trodden path, whether she has some form of dementia or not is slightly academic it might just be age related if so there is very little in the long run anyone can do.
    I went through something similar with my late Mother so I wrote to the doctors listing the main issues and pointed out when I tried to help she became aggressive, I ended the letter with words to the effect "as her primary health carer and now that you are aware of the situation I trust you will take appropriate action to avert any possible risk to your patients well being". Put the ball very firmly into their court to do something and to be fair they did, a visit from the district nurse on some pretext (flu jab I think) then a couple more visit then suddenly they were quite happy to start talking to me.
    Whether it be dementia or age you need to be working on plan A for how you and your brother want to deal with this, all the practical things like getting in carers, who pays, what are you entitled to as long as you're seen to be coping whatever the cost to your well being no one will do anything much to help.
    It's very hard seeing the once strong person who did everything for you reduced to this by age or dementia but don't let it rob you of the happy memories of the person they once were and what they did for you.
  7. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    Yep, the age-old excuse. But you are not coping, are you? So phone Social Services and tell them very firmly that you cannot cope anymore and that they have a duty of care. THEY not you. Ask for her (and you) to be assessed. That's the very least they have to do. Don't get fobbed off.
    Ask charities like Age UK or AS for help too.
  8. Stephg46

    Stephg46 Registered User

    Aug 5, 2014
    Thank you all

    Thank you to everyone who has offered much needed advice. I have read other posts here too which express similar fears and problems.

    Mum had a good day today, she hugged me and my son, and let me 'help' sorting
    out her kitchen cupboards. I know tomorrow could be different again, and will persist in getting help for mum, and for me so I can carry on supporting her.

    It gives comfort beyond words to know that as the journey goes on, there are people who have already travelled the path. Thank you.
  9. Lindy50

    Lindy50 Registered User

    Dec 11, 2013
    It's good to hear from you Steph, and I'm glad you had a better day today :)

    All the best and don't forget to get some help :cool:

    Lindy xx
  10. BLONDY

    BLONDY Registered User

    Oct 29, 2011
    2000 MILES AWAY
    What would you say to your best friend if they were to tell you all this, that is always a good start when trying to cope with life's battles. Have you tried speaking to someone at your local Alzheimer's society. Often in these situations little white lies are the best route, invent a routine check up at her surgery. Inform social services that your mother is unable to cope with everyday life and is a danger to herself and others. As for feeling a failure oh my word no, you are definitely not. Give your self a pat on the back for being a wonderful caring compassionate daughter.
    Kind Regards

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