It has taken me almost 6 months of reading emails posted on TP to finally pluck up the courage to write my families story. I don't want to embarrass my Mum by telling people what has happened but sometimes I feel like I will burst if I don't talk about it to people who understand. I first noticed strange behaviour in my mother when she divorced my father after 30 years of marriage. It was not a good marriage and I was almost relieved at the time. Her behaviour was very erratic and her co-memory and co-ordination were quite bad, she even refused legal advice during the divorce. I put it down to some sort of breakdown or depression and never thought of the word dementia at that time. She was only in her early fifties. She soon met another Man, and, although I was concerned and didn't like him she would not let me interfere and refused to see me for some time. Over the next 2 years my sisters and I became increasingly worried about her. She was loosing weight, struggling to catch her breath and her memory and behaviour were very erratic. On October 7th 2002 (her birthday) she turned up on my doorstep and I have never been so shocked to see such deterioration in a person. She was 55 at the time and her fabulous looks had disappeared and she was about 6 stone. The man she had been living with had told her he didn't want to be 'with her' any more but was not going to leave her house as he wanted half of it. I became seriously worried and started looking into the situation. After a few weeks of going through her finances it became clear that she had been taken advantage of in a huge way by this man. We spent weeks at the doctors trying to find out what was wrong only to be told it was probably depression. To cut a very long story short, it turned out that she had dementia and emphysema (a lung condition). The so called boyfriend had taken advantage of her memory problems and accepted gifts of over £50,000 in cars, motorbikes, holidays and hard cash. She had spent over £100,000 (her whole divorce settlement and savings) with nothing to show for it. She could have paid off her entire mortgage with money to spare instead. She had nothing left at all. He had told her he would pay her rent each month to help with the mortgage and encouraged her not to pay off her mortgage as he was doing that. He had asked her to get a loan out for him (which she had done) for £20,000 and he had suddenly stopped giving her the money for it. He had even stopped giving her his 'so called rent' although she didn't even know this she was in such a bad way. She could not even remember where the bathroom was in the house. I was totally shocked and started to see solicitors to see if anything could be done. All the solicitors could say was that he might be entitled to half the house as he had paid rent for so long. As for the gifts, they were gifts, and it was very hard to prove otherwise even if she was now diagnosed. It took 2 more years until we finally got him out of her house (luckily after a few letters from the Court of Protection he left of his own accord) and I managed to salvage what was left of her finances without loosing her house altogether. The Court of Protection were involved but we had very little help even after Mum's diagnosis. I am glad to say that he is now out of our lives. Mum is now on Aricept and more stable, her lung condition is also stable for the moment. I am now working along side the court of protection and a receiver to help sell her house and buy a sheltered flat with money left over. Social services are now much more involved to and her care package is now much better. I am working full time so it is very hard for me to do it all. Her life is finally back on track and although her dementia seems to be worsening a bit lately she is happy most of the time and attends day centres and is getting to know old friends again. I have had the toughest 3 years of my life and even writing this email brings me to tears. If it was not for the support of my boyfriend and my family I think I would have had a breakdown myself. It still appals me to think that there are people like him out there who can destroy peoples lives without a second thought. That's it really, sorry for such a long email but there was no short way to tell you my story.