My brother is the carer


Registered User
Apr 17, 2004
My mother is in the early stages of dementia after a stroke. The biggest symptom is memory loss but I understand other symptoms will follow. She lives with my brother in the family home and I live more than 200 miles away. I think he should have more freedom (he's in his 30s) and her memory loss does mean she asks the same questions over and over which is annoying even for a few hours. How far should I intervene and make suggestions? She hasn't been assessed formally. On visits to GPs for other medication, she says little and appears fine. We are reluctant to have her diagnosed with Alzheimers as it will scare her but is that the only way to get extra help?

Sorry to ask so many questions, but it's a lot to take in.


Registered User
Dec 5, 2003
Hi June,

Obviously there are no right and wrong answers as to what your brother should do, but I completely understand your feelings about wanting him to have more freedom. I am 22 and live with my parents and my Nan (who has vascular dementia). I feel that my parents (especially my Mum) should be having more freedom than they do. Most people of their age are enjoying life after their kids have moved out and they've got me (and my sister) still here along with my Nan and they both work full-time.

I would suggest that you talk to your brother about things (if you feel able to) as if it is Alzheimer's or something related then he really has got a long struggle ahead if he's going to try and cope as the main carer. I'm sorry if this sounds really negative, but I think it's important to know what you're facing, so that you can try and be prepared. My Mum has frequently said she wished she hadn't got into this position, but I'm sure she would do exactly the same over again if she had a chance. It's just important that your brother knows the facts - but remember that any choice you make is never final - there are other options that you may choose to take as (if) things progress.

Don;t know whether that will be of any help to you - just thought you might like to know that I certainly understand your feelings.


Registered User
Mar 31, 2004
Hi June

I understand your reluctance to have your Mum diagnosed. I felt the same, but I have to say that since she has been diagnosed, the word Alzheimers has never been uttered in her presence, either by her Consultant, or by her GP. Since she has been diagnosed, and had a Social Services Care Assessment, I have been able to get a lot of help.

Believe me, your brother will need all the help he can get, especially if he is working. In a few years my Mum has gone from an active, outgoing person to someone who cannot be left alone for more than a very short period. My personal freedom is extremely limited, but I am lucky in that Mum goes to a Day Centre for six days a week, which gives me some space on one day, and I am able to get respite care which allows me to have a holiday.

Love isn't enough, in my opinion. Much as I love my Mum, I sometimes feel that I am as much a prisoner of Alzheimer's as she is. I don't want her to go into residential care, but I long for my freedom, and I know that it is inevitable that she will have to eventually - she is declining rapidly now.

I don't want to depress or upset you, but this is a hard, hard journey. I would urge you, if at all possible, to get a diagnosis, and as much help as you can get. Your brother is a young man, and he needs his life, too.

Good luck to you both. Take care.