Not coping very well.


Registered User
Apr 12, 2007
I am new to forums so please bear with me. I felt able to come onto yours as my mother-in-law was diagnosed with alzheimers last august. She has, in no way, accepted this diagnosis. So called friends keep telling her that she is still grieving for the loss of her husband, I wish that they would mind their own business as this is not helping. We have just had her to visit us over the Easter weekend. She didn't know who we were and indeed where she was. My husband tried to help her sort out her tablets and now that she is home again, she is accusing us of bullying her.
When we took her back to her home, we found that she had mouldy, smelly stuff in her fridge and milk that was 3 days out of date that she was fully prepared to drink. When we arrived back home, her sister called to tell us that my mother-in-law had told her that 2 strangers had dropped her home, she had cooked them a big meal and they had cleared off without helping with the washing up! All we had was a cup of tea!! My husband spoke to her and had, what he called a surreal conversation with her. He was absolutely devastated.
He was told last year to apply for power of attourney but he didn't. Mainly, I think because he couldn't accept it either and also because he finds it difficult to approach his mother on this sort of thing. I believe it is now too late.
I don't know how to cope with things that she says, like when she she talks about people who are dead, do I correct her or do I just ignore it as I have been doing. I hate it when she criticises my husband when all he is doing is trying to help her. I don't know how to deal with her phone calls and have generally ended up not answering and I am aware how this makes me look.
I know that there are people out there who are coping with far worse, but thank you for giving me the opportunity to get it off my chest.


Registered User
Jul 25, 2006
not coping

Hello, How I can empathise, my mum is doing the same , she has lost her sister[now a complete stranger ] and my brother has become someone else entirely, when she gets stroppy and denies all knowledge I usually reiterate who they are and gradually she will accept, it is a slow tiring unthankful task but getting cross is just a pointless stress that you don't need. Also very difficult is the word alzheimers,I have started using it on a regular basis[eg, these tablets are for your alzheimers] and that seems to be working too.communication within the family is so important and more so as things become more difficult. chin up.


Registered User
Aug 20, 2006
I would say...

About the power of attorney, it is as you say most likely too late. That is because a person can only grant a power of attorney when they are "mentally competent", ie they understand what they are doing and the consequences of doing it. If they are not, then you would have to apply to the Court of Protection. That is more expensive and difficult, but not as bad as it sounds, they are set up to make thing relatively straightforward.

As to when your M-I-L says things that you know are not true, then it is probably better to accept them. She will be quite convinced that what she says is true, and if you try to correct her, she will most likely "dig her heels in" and insist all the more that she is right and that everyone else is wrong. From her point of view this is true. There is little point in arguing, it will only lead to stress all round and possibly arguments that profit no-one. Some of it will be denial, in that if she admitted being wrong, she realises what this means that her memory etc are unreliable. That in itself can be frightening and distressing. M-I-L will probably not respond to reason and will cling to her reality no matter what you do, even if you have absolute proof that she is wrong.

We have found that it is best to simply agree, or say something non-committal, or try to distract by changing the subject. This can be very difficult when someone says daft things and take them completely seriously. It can also be very upsetting and frightening to hear a loved one coming out with nonsense.

The only time it is worth arguing is when M-I-L wants to do something that puts herself or someone else at risk.

We have long given up trying to persuade Dad that he wasn't in the Navy for eight years, never went to China, Canada, Sweden, Australia etc. We also get tales of how he lived and worked in London (never) or how the American surgeon specially flew across to Britain to do his operation (also nonsense).

These days we just nod and say "that was nice" or something like that. We know we could not convince him otherwise, he only becomes aggressive and abusive if we try. If he thinks he gets his own way he is happy.

It's a good thing that he can't read our minds of course :eek:


Registered User
Mar 22, 2007
So difficult

it is very difficult. 75% of the time my mum is in her own world, insisting she still goes out to work , and that many of the carers in her home are members of staff she works with and other bizarre things, and after spending weeks trying to explain the correct scenarios to her I have given up and now I agree with her..usually.
the exception to this is if she says something which isnt just confusion, it is an allegation about someone (sometimes me!) stealing from her or hitting her etc etc. She does this quite often, often claiming she has called the police (she cant use a fone any more) and they have been and interviewed her about it.
In this instance I tell her gently but firmly that this is NOT true. I dont understand the workings of her mind, but if it is potentially something that might cause real trouble for someone, I do still correct her whether she accepts what I am saying or not!


Registered User
Mar 12, 2007
Hello - Im living in with my sufferer, and she has got to the stage where she calls me a different name and makes up stories and has made accusations too. It isnt easy, but I find that talking them through with different people helps a lot.

I have stopped telling my lady my real name because it only confuses her, I think at least she knows Im here to call for me....

As for the power of attorney the other people's advice - I know nothing of that side of things.

Be strong, chin up... you certainly arent alone with this... :)


Registered User
Jul 2, 2006
Newport, Gwent
Hi Kimbo

I agree with Nebiroth, arguing, it really only causes more confusion. In my experience its best to go along with things that are said, however untrue or strange they are. Diversion tactics, I know work very well for some, never has with mum, so the ‘non committal’, ‘go along with it’ is our coping strategy.

We have never discussed/told mum she has AD. We (and this is only a personal opinion) never felt there was any value in putting a label on the situation, according to mum, there is nothing wrong with her memory, and we simply agree. I know others find it a comfort to know there is a reason; this is a very personal choice. However, if MIL wont accept it, drop it, and don’t mention the dreaded ‘A’ word to her.

Eating rancid food, this was something we experienced with mum; she had convinced herself that her window sill was colder than the fridge. This caused her many an upset tummy, and was one of the factors that made the decision for NH care one step closer.

EPA, if you have a ‘family’ solicitor that knows mum well, I would suggest making contact asap, otherwise I think you may have missed the boat on that one.

You dont mention if she has a CPN, carer, meals on wheels yet, these maybe something to look into, rather than wait for crisis to hit.

You are not alone now you have found TP, always someone on hand with a shoulder.



Registered User
Apr 12, 2007
Thank you all so much. You have all been so helpful and kind. My m-i-l has rung every day wanting to know if we are back safe. If we have our dog with us or did we leave it there. And are we staying with her sister.
Trying hard to smile through it all for my husband and find a funny side. It is nice to know that there are people I can talk to, as none of my friends are in this position and seem to think I'm just 'going on'. thank you so much


Registered User
Mar 26, 2007
Just like to say my mum mentions my dad al the time to me and he died in january.They had been seperated for years and until his death she would go months without saying his name {always thouht she didint like him to be honest}
But him diying seem to push her over the edge and she says things like,youy dad was here a minute ago,or if you hold on dad will be back soon.I used to correct her but someone said to me{cant remeber who} that i shouldnt correct her as she be upset wondering why she thought he was still alive.Hope that makes sense.Mum spends 70% of the time in a dream world and i find shes happier then so in my experience i wouldnt correct her but everybodys diffrent so you must do what you feel is best.
As for smiling through it and trying to find a funny side,its the only way to cope i think. I laugh to myself sometimes over the things my mum comes out with.
This is all new to me as well,but this is a brilliant board,theres always someone to offer some advice and its cheered me up before .



Registered User
Jan 9, 2007
Hello Kimbo and welcome

Hello Kimbo

Welcome to the forum.

I am sorry you are having all this worry.

My nan has been diagnosed with moderate to severe dementia by a Community Mental Health Nurse and my nan tends to say a lot of strange things.

Find a common ground interests etc.

I know what you mean as my nan finds watching family videos incredibly difficult as she gets tearful and confused.

She also has accused hairdresser etc of stealing and the item has been there all the time.

Talking about past helps (find out what she can remember).

You are doing all the right things by being supportive.

Try and find out your local Alzheimer's branch, as they can do visits and offer support.

Remember you are not on your own and I hope this helps.