My father (a carer) is unable to cope - advice needed please


Registered User
Sep 23, 2007
My grandmother has Alzheimer's and although she lives alone and social services are happy with her situation, my father (who is really her sole carer) is unable to cope with her decline. She is 86 and on the surface appears ok but she does not wash properly, does not eat properly and cannot hold a conversation properly. She has recently got lost on her way home from town, does not know what day of the week it is or year. It's hard to explain as I know people are much worse but this week she lost her savings and got it into her head that her other grand-daughter had stolen it. We have now found it but she still insists it has been stolen and is ringing the girl up and is very angry. This incident seems to have made her flip and today when my dad went round she took him upstairs and said "this is my bed and i sleep here. This is my chair and I put it there". She has become very angry and quite aggresive. My father cannot cope with this. Social services are of the opinion that as long as she looks reasonably smart and is able to go out and buy cakes (that's all she seems to eat apart from the meals my father takes) that means she is ok. We need to know what we can do when she will not accept help from paid carers etc.. She really does need to be in a care home but how can you make someone who does not think anything is wrong with them? What will happen if she refuses to let my father in? I know people have to deal with much worse and that she will become even worse but my father is not the sort who can cope with this stress and it will make him ill. Sorry for rambling but we have no idea what to do. Thank you for any advice that you can offer.


Registered User
Oct 9, 2003
Birmingham Hades
Hi Alyson
Welcome to Talking Point
you do not say if Social Services have been to make a community assessment of your Gran's needs?.
No one can be made to go into a home if they do not wish to go.
What can happen if they are a danger to themselves and others Social services can section them and then they can be detained in hospital under the Mental Health act.1983 .
Have a look at this fact sheet
Hope this helps,let us know how you get on
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Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Hello Alyson, welcome to TP.

I feel very sorry for your father because there`s little more he can do than he`s doing now.

If your grandmother refuses help, she cannot be made to accept it unless she is either at risk, or poorly enough to be sectioned.

Her anger and aggression are either part of her condition or her defences kicking in because she is trying to protect her independence.

I know this might sound awful, but if your father were to stand back a bit, perhaps not go round as often, not take her meals so regularly, she might just realize she needs help and be more cooperative.

And if she is angry with him or you when you visit, tell her you do not go there to be shouted at and if she can`t speak to you properly, you will go home.

The trouble is she isn`t in control of half the things she says or does, so you have to find out by trial and error just what she is able to understand.

I hope others might have some better strategies for coping, which will help you more.

Take care xx

fearful fiona

Registered User
Apr 19, 2007
Dear Alyson,

So sorry you're having this problem and I do know how you feel. My mother can get quite aggressive and certainly has on many occasions accused people of stealing things (never true). Some of the time she is almost normal and people wonder what I'm making a fuss about.

She too doesn't realise she needs help and I have found that it does help to a certain extent to stand back. I cut back visits to my Mum and Dad, but obviously made sure they had enough to eat etc. I think it gave us all a breather.

Thanks Norman and Grannie G for your replies which helped me too. I have written in other posts my fear that my parents will change their minds about going into the care home next week and know I can't force them to.


Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
Hi Alyson and welcome to Talking Point.

Has your father had a carers assessment? This is something to which he's entitled, but which is sometimes not offered as freely as it might be. It may not do any good, but he needs any support that might be offered.


Registered User
Jul 2, 2006
Newport, Gwent
Hi Alyson

Welcome to TP.

I do so feel for your grandmother, and your dad. You say that your grandmother has been diagnosed with AD. Is she on any medication, if not, it could well be time to talk to the GP about this. Also has she attended the Memory Clinic, does she have a Community Psychiatric Nurse. If she has none, or just some of the above, it might be an idea if your dad went to see your grandmothers GP to explain his worries, and to ask for help.

Have you thought about Meals on Wheels, grandmother may just show them the door, and refuse, but its worth a go, and what she might refuse today, she might be OK with tomorrow, thats the nature of the beast sadly.

It might be an idea for your dad to talk to the Social Worker about grandmother attending a Day Centre, at least this would be one or two days when the family wont have to worry that she is getting a good meal, and would be safe.

Being paranoid about others stealing from them is quite common, a dreadful 'phase' to cope with, and there are no short answers to this. Personally I think its one of those things, when you find the item sometimes the person can get angry because you have proved them wrong, and this is frustrating and confusing, or if you 'buy' into it, the same thing happens.

Sadly you can get things agreed, and organised, for it to go from the persons memory within 5 minutes, its very much a situation of coping hour by hour, day by day.

Keep in touch