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Mum won't admit she's got dementia

CatrionaWB

New member
May 23, 2022
4
0
Hi, everyone
Just joined this forum because I'm worried about my parents. My dad (85) was diagnosed with vascular dementia last year, but since giving up alcohol, his condition has improved quite a lot. However, my mum (82) has been going downhill fast over the past year. She frequently forgets things – she sometimes asks me the same question three times in the course of a 20-minute conversation, with no recollection of having asked it, and keeps forgetting how to get email on her computer, something she's been doing without problem for years. However, when we try to talk to her about it, she just says she's 'getting old and silly' and brushes off any concerns. We suspect she's worried about the consequences of admitting that she has a problem, as Dad was sectioned for a couple of months last year and has lost his driving licence. However, when we (my sister, aunt and I) have tried to make enquiries with social services and my mum's GP about getting her assessed, they all say that they can't do anything unless Mum asks for help herself, which we can can't see her doing. So we're caught in a Catch-22 situation.
Does anyone have any suggestions as to how we can persuade her to ask her GP for a referral to the memory clinic? We live in Scotland.
Any advice gratefully received!
 

KatyKat

Registered User
May 8, 2022
111
0
Hi, everyone
Just joined this forum because I'm worried about my parents. My dad (85) was diagnosed with vascular dementia last year, but since giving up alcohol, his condition has improved quite a lot. However, my mum (82) has been going downhill fast over the past year. She frequently forgets things – she sometimes asks me the same question three times in the course of a 20-minute conversation, with no recollection of having asked it, and keeps forgetting how to get email on her computer, something she's been doing without problem for years. However, when we try to talk to her about it, she just says she's 'getting old and silly' and brushes off any concerns. We suspect she's worried about the consequences of admitting that she has a problem, as Dad was sectioned for a couple of months last year and has lost his driving licence. However, when we (my sister, aunt and I) have tried to make enquiries with social services and my mum's GP about getting her assessed, they all say that they can't do anything unless Mum asks for help herself, which we can can't see her doing. So we're caught in a Catch-22 situation.
Does anyone have any suggestions as to how we can persuade her to ask her GP for a referral to the memory clinic? We live in Scotland.
Any advice gratefully received!
I tend to doubt they ever admit, even to themselves, that they have dementia. I took my Mum to her GP on pretense of her getting an annual checkup and watched her fail every one of the memory questions. It's been practically rubbed in her face by GP and her own admission of helplessness but Mum still won't admit it's dementia: even tho her own Mum had it and her sister was forced into a memory care facility earlier this year.

I'm in the US, so have no idea about laws/procedures in Scotland. My Mum's GP said I may want to call in state social services at some point for an assessment. However, Mum is vehemently against "strangers" coming into her house, telling her "how to live".

I'd say do a search for dementia care services in your area and reach out to those people. I do hope you find the help you need.
 

try again

Registered User
Jun 21, 2018
462
0
Email her doctor with a bullet point list of odd behaviour and request he call her in for a well woman assessment.
 

Sarasa

Volunteer Host
Apr 13, 2018
4,865
0
Nottinghamshire
Hi @CatrionaWB and welctto Dementia Talking Point. As @try again says I’d send the GP a bullet point list of your concerns and see if that gets things moving. With my mother I piggybacked an appointment she already had and handed in a letter with my concerns, so that is something you could do. I also kept a diary of things that happened that concerned me about my mum’s behaviour. That was also very useful
when I was trying to explain to health professionals why I was concerned about my mum.
Do your parents have any help coming in and do you have Power of Attorney https://www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney? A bit of help now may make things easier if your mother’s abilities start to decline further, and power of attorney will help you be able to help both of them.
 

CatrionaWB

New member
May 23, 2022
4
0
Thanks, @Sarasa ... my sister and I both have power of attorney for our parents. We had to invoke Dad's last year, but have not done Mum's yet. I live an hour's drive from them; my sister is a bit closer and can help them on a face-to-face level, but I am more able to organise things during the day as I work from home.
They don't have any help coming in – it was all organised after Dad came out of hospital last year, but neither of them liked strangers coming into their home (and to be honest, Dad was much better and could do most of the things they were trying to help him with), so Mum sent them packing. She's pretty much stopped cleaning the house and doesn't cook any more – they seem to survive on ready meals from the freezer – but I don't think social services would help with either of those things (they were more focused on getting Dad washed and dressed before).
 

Lawson58

Registered User
Aug 1, 2014
2,837
0
Victoria, Australia
Sadly, your mum probably knows something is wrong but but many people with dementia would never admit that there is a problem and I guess this is where your mum is at.

We have a very supportive GP and I was able to discuss my concerns with him on my own. He decided to challenge my husband to have all the memory tests and assessments with the idea that my husband could prove that I was wrong. My husband was so convinced that I was out to get him that he cooperated.

Trying to reason with most dementia patients is often a waste of time so I suspect you are going to have to be a bit devious to get her assessed.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
18,528
0
South coast
Hi @CatrionaWB
As your mum has stopped cleaning the house, this might be a place to start getting help in. A cleaner is not an unusual thing to have and they may be more accepting (you may have to be firm, though). AgeUK have a Help at Home scheme, although its not in all areas, but worth checking to see if they do it where you are. Care agencies will also do this and it might be a way of introducing them so that they can start to take over care as it becomes necessary - Social Services may agree to this.
 

CatrionaWB

New member
May 23, 2022
4
0
Thanks, everyone ... Mum is convinced the house doesn't get dirty, but the bathrooms are in an appalling state and the whole place smells. My sister tries to sneak round and clean when Mum isn't looking. We're also desperately trying to talk her out of booking a foreign holiday ... it's been four years since they last went away, during which time Dad's mobility has decreased dramatically ... and the previous three holidays abroad that they went on ended in some sort of medical disaster for one or both of them, but she's adamant that they can cope. Aaaargh!