Mum wont accept diagnosis -

little shettie

Registered User
Nov 10, 2009
Further to my thread yesterday about trying desperately to get mum to move, which she wont, she also hasnt accepted she has AD. When the consultant broke the news to her she just sat there emotionless I wanted to cry. She has shut it out and I have tried to talk to her about it several times but she just flys off the handle, shuts herself in her bedroom and wont talk. I think if she can accept the situation it may help her realise she needs help. Always been fiercely independant and in her mind she thinks she is doing everything as normal. My dad does all the cooking, she is not even washing clothes now. She is so stubborn and quite arrogant about it all. I feel quite hopeless that unless they move house (which my dad wants)things will get so much worse. I feel she has deteriorated since christmas, she seemed on an even keel when she first started on the aricept, since the dose was increased she has got worse. My dad takes things out on her as he cant cope and I fear it will end badly, with my dad having stroke thru the stress and then my mum being left alone miles from us all.He has heart problems as it is. I want them to move whilst things are at this stage as I feel we can turn things around for them both and give them so much more as they will live across the road from me. At the moment I go once a week thats all I can manage as its an 80 mile round trip, but thats apart from the early hours of the morning dashes we have had to make to their house several times a week because dad is feeling ill, or they have had a fall out and mum is walking the streets with her suitcase. My eldest brother thinks mum should stay where she is if she wants to, he doesnt seem to get it at all. He lives 250 miles away and its me and my other brother who has just started to get involved, who bears the brunt of it all. Sorry to write all this again, its a bit like therapy for me I think. I just dont know which way to turn.


Registered User
Dec 11, 2007
I just had to reply, your post spoke to me on so many levels :(

My Mum too sat their totally emotionless when her consultant broke the news. We left and as walking back to the car she said 'well it could be worse, at least I don't have piles' :eek: Mum has no grasp at all of what 'alzheimers' means, she will acknowledge she has it but I think thinks of it in terms of 'in the future' as in her opinion it doesn't effect her at the moment. So I totally understand your distress and frustration. From my experience of speaking to others many people also have this reaction, it may be that at the time of diagnosis your Mum, like mine didn't have the ability to understand what it meant. My Mum still likes to think she can do everyhthing as normal and that which she obviously can't she always has a bizzare excuse for. So in terms of thinking your Mum would benefit from understanding and accepting her diagnosis this may not be the case, she may not be able to understand and accept it. Or if she can today she may have forgotten it tomorrow.

Does your Dad want to move house? You say yes, does he really? Who's name in the house in? I am thinking in terms of your Dad just going ahead and doing it and telling your Mum he has no choice, they can't afford the bills on it anymore. If I can offer any advice it would be for you to all sit down (possibly without your Mum, I'm sorry) and decide what it is you need to do to make the situation more manageable practically. Would it be getting outside help in for your Mum (and therefore your Dad) or would it be moving closer to you. Once you have made the decision go forward with it. I am sorry to say that I wasted an awful lot of time trying to convince my Mum that her moving close to me would be for the best, it caused a great deal of heartache both for me and for her. I spent months talking to her about it, going round and round in circles, one day she'd agree it was a fantastic idea and lets do it now, so I'd start to get things moving and then the next day she'd have forgotten we'd ever discussed it and we'd be back at square one. In the end I moved her closer and on the day of the move, despite speaking to her the previous night I turned up and she had toally forgetten we'd ever discussed it and still to this day she will tell people that I just moved her out of her house one day without ever even having the decency to discuss it with her. So with the benefit of hindsight I would still move her but I wouldn't have spent so much time trying to 'involve' her in it and discussing it with her. I really would have just gone ahead and done it and told her on the day in a 'come and look at this lovely new house Mum, it's right next to my house, I'm so excited you are going to be close to me, you can help out with your grandchildren and we can spend so much more time together...' kind of way.

I am sorry that you are struggling and that the situation seems so hopeless at the moment. A meeting with all concerned parties would be what I would do. Does your Mum have a social worker or a CPN as they should have some advice and can help access some support for your parents in the meantime.



Amber 5

Registered User
Jan 20, 2009
Hi Little Shettie,
I really feel for your situation - it sounds fraught with stresses (of course it would be for anyone going through this) but it almost sounds like you are going round in circles with everyone ending up becoming angry, frustrated, upset and not moving forward.

I had a similar problem with my mum, but it was only her I was dealing with (my parents divorced a long time ago, so no Dad/husband in the equation). When my mum was diagnosed she said "Oh Alzheimers, I don't want that!" We've never spoken of it again - although she does mention sometimes that she has memory problems. I agree with Amy that I don't think she has any concept of what she has and I believe that it would only panic and depress her if I kept mentioning it - she would also get angry with me/wouldn't believe me etc. Now that she is living in a Care Home where there are others around with dementia, she sometimes brings the subject up and comments on what a terrible thing it is and she hopes she never gets that. I used to feel so bad when this happened, but am getting more used to the fact that she can talk about it like this, but not relate her own problems to the same thing.

My mum was always fiercely independent too and to be honest, she is in the residential section of the home, so still 'feels in some control' which works well for her! In actual fact - she no longer has to shop,cook, deal with paperwork, go anywhere outside on her own etc. etc. I would never have believed that she would be living there without a fight; but after we introduced carers to 'help me not worry about when she was taking her tablets' she eventually began to look forward to their visits. As the weeks progressed and she was wandering out in the night and leaving her gas fire on full-time etc. we decided the best thing was for her to move nearer to me. This is what helped to turn things around, as she seemed to warm to that idea. Lots of white lies were used (very difficult to get used to at first) and lots of just getting on and doing things with/without her approval. When it came to sorting her house out in preparation for the move, she lay on her bed watching me and really seemed unaware of what was actually happening. She could only move a small amount of her belongings, so when it came to moving day she came with me in my car and my husband took her belongings in a hired transit van.

It was a very emotional time, but had to be done for her own safety. It is very hard learning to not be scared of your own parents reaction to what you are saying/doing; after all they are your parents and now it is you looking after their best interests - the tables have turned! I know that our hardest moments were coming to terms with mum's attempts to keep her independence and arguments over why she shouldn't do things (trying to keep her safe). If she felt forced into something, or felt we were correcting her, that is when she was at her worst argumentative, angry state. I've learned now that mum says a lot of things which cannot be carried out - they are only words. Time and PATIENCE to get used to the big changes that occur is required.

It is so hard when you have the added stress of distance from your parents - you can barely think of anything else. It sounds like your parents could really do with some calm time, but if things carry on as they are - something will become a crisis. Can you have a family meeting without your parents at first to see if you can agree that something must change and then what it is. If you are all in agreement it is a good starting point. Then it sounds as if your Dad is already ready for the change so won't be a problem. It will be how to 'feed' it to your mum and take the steps to make it happen which will have to be DELICATELY taken!

Sorry for such a long reply, but it took me back!
I wish you the Very Best of Luck, Gill x

little shettie

Registered User
Nov 10, 2009
Thank you

Thanks so much to both of you for your replies, really helped me. we are getting together as a family hopefully this weekend to try and come to a final decision. I do feel we have to do it behind mums back, which is awful, but is the least stress for her and dad, as she is making his life hell! My life feels hell too, and I am torn between wanting them near me so I can be a proper carer and not wanting to stress them any more than is ncecssary. I think that balance is not going to be easy, or possible, but at least i know in my mind that moving them is the best option all round, and hope that when it happens, my mum can still enjoy some quality of life which she doesnt have at present. She is resisting moving because she hates change, but she phones regularly and says 'oh hello stranger havent seen you for ages' when infact it beens only a day or two. Then she says 'my life is over, im stuck here in these four walls 24/7 and its like prison'. So she isnt happy but is scared to move, but we have gone past the point of reason with her. I feel bit better now, and hope my brothers will help in making the right decision for mum and dad. Thanks again xx


Registered User
Apr 2, 2008
Just so you know you are not alone in this - my MIL still denies she ahs any problems whatsoever - she also ignored her diagnosis and if we ever now mention her memory problems she says that it is us who have the problem - her memory is just fine!!! Having said that, she is adept at using other people/things/situtaioins to blame when something goes wrong - it is never, ever her fault.:rolleyes
Although I believe that if she were to accept her condition, then she would actually cope better and accept more help - I have stopped trying to make her understand. It is easier to let her believe what she wants to believe - for example, she will now openly admit how confused she is, or how she has forgotten something, or, on a lighter note, took a long time to answer the phone because she had picked up the television remote control and couldn't understand why the phone was still ringing.......!!!:) - she blames her age. God help us however if we mention to anyone that she has "memory problems". Total and complete denial. It is her defence mechanism and we let her think what she wants to now (most of the time anytime - there are alwasy occasions when you have no choice).
Regarding moving house - you and your dad must do what is best for the family as a whole. The downside if she does move is that the move is likely to upset her as changing her routine and surroundings is likely to upset her further, at least at first.
My prayers are so with you.


Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
Toronto, Canada
We were never able to tell my mother she had Alzheimer's as she would get extremely agitated if we even approached the subject. The most she would admit was that 'her memory wasn't what it used to be'.

I personally don't think there's any point in getting your mother to accept the diagnosis. Even if you manage by some miracle to get her to accept it one day, she'll forget it and the whole thing starts over again.

I think the way you are approaching the move, sorting things out without discussing it with her, is probably the best and easiest for everyone involved, including your mother. I believe whatever involves the least amount of stress overall is best. You also have to think of it this way - your mother is the only one who is resisting the move. She may get agitated and upset for a while but will settle in eventually.

Good luck to all of you.

little shettie

Registered User
Nov 10, 2009
Thank you for your words. The problem we face is our Dad is drinking himself into an early grave with the stress of mum. If somethings happens to dad now she will be in a worse situation. I want to move them now while they have each other and hope that my dad will start to enjoy his life again, and mum too. If we have to settle mum somewhere if dad is gone then I dont even want to think about that. I am thinking of the future, they arent i'm afraid, or cant. I think one thing I have realised is mum will never accept the diagnosis and so its pointless trying to get her to understand. But move them we should, but oh god, not looking forward to it.:(