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New Member here.Not sure if anyone can advise but it helps to talk so here goes....

Clairebee 70

Registered User
Nov 22, 2013
Hello there, Not sure if I am in the right forum or if anyone can help but its worth a try.....My Mum and stepdad live in France and have done for about seven years, over the last three years my Mum (who is disabled through other health problems) has been getting more and more forgetful, her personality has changed and she has become very rude to various people (but not others?), is increasingly more paranoid about various things like locking doors, money and hides items in odd places.... She initially was told by a French doctor that it was "just old age and not to worry until she was outside her house and didn't know where she was!"...Not very helpful. She has gone downhill a lot this last year and has since failed all the memory tests they have given her, although alzheimers has only just been mentioned in a letter, she has been put on some "memory pills" (I am not sure what). Obviously it is really hard to know whether she has been diagnosed properly as there is a problem with translation with doctors and I only get information third hand from my stepdad. She realises that she has a problem with her memory but isn't aware that she has dementia...Her Mum ended up in a home with dementia and died age 76years. (mum is 74).... She has lost the ability to carry out everyday tasks such as cooking and spends most of her time looking for lost items, she doesn't know what day or month it is and repeats herself constantly! My stepdad cares for her but isn't the most patient man in the world and so is not coping well, getting cross with her on a regular basis. He has said that she often says she doesn't want to wake up in the morning and so I also feel she is suffering from depression.
My husband and I (and our two children) moved here in April to try and help so we now live just up the road but she has not welcomed us with open arms (although my Stepdad is glad he is not on his own anymore)....she is rude to my husband, is never pleased to see us and refuses any offer of help or outing with me, her daughter....(Which I try really hard not to take personally)
So....questions.....How do I find out if she has been diagnosed properly? Is the treatment for dementia similar here? Should we tell her she has dementia even though she will know what's coming? Anyone know if there is similar support in France or where I find out? Why is she nice as pie to some people and horribly aggressive to others? So many questions (And I have more).....and sorry for the essay but haven't spoken to anyone before...am really worried about them getting the support they need...although neither of them want to move back to the UK...Am increasingly thinking that this might be the only way forward! My stepdad is burying his head in the sand at the moment and living day to day, I don't think he wants to look into the future but he needs to start making plans as it is only going to get progressively worse!!!! Thanks for listening....


Registered User
Mar 6, 2007
Wigan, Lancs
Hi Claire and welcome to Talking Point.

I'm sorry to hear about your mum. I'm afraid I don't know much about how the healthcare system in France works, or how clued up French doctors are when it comes to dementia. Telling her that she only needs to worry when she's standing outside her house and doesn't know where she is doesn't sound particularly helpful, but she might have got the response from some (but not all) GP's in the UK.

It does sound as though she has now been diagnosed. There are a number of drug treatments, so I don't know which 'memory pills' have been prescribed. There is a Society factsheet on drug treatments which you'll find >>here<<.

Personally I wouldn't tell your mum she has dementia if it would upset her. I'd be inclined to refer to her 'memory problems' if she's comfortable with that. As to why she's nice to some people and nasty to others it may be that she's taking it out on those closest to her, because she knows they'll stick around whatever she throws out them.

I would think carefully before moving her back to the UK. Moving her may unsettle her more, but on the other hand if you are going to move it may be better to do is sooner rather than later whilst she's better able to cope with the upheaval.

I think if I were you I would try and find out more about what treatment, both short and long term is available in France before making any decisions. I'm sorry I can't help with that.

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