Starting to doubt myself

Kate P

Registered User
Jul 6, 2007
Well as you may remember there had been an incident at the Toddler/Parent group my mum "helps" at, at our church and has since been an incident where she flew at her social worker in a fit of rage, hence why she has to have two carers during dad's "rest" time.

As discussed with many of you I rang our vicar and explained to her what had happened and she sees no problem with mum continuing to go!

She says they have a plan but to be honest the plan sounded exactly what I thought they were doing with her anyway which was to try and keep her in the kitchen out the way as much as possible - the plan ended last time because she tried to lift a huge urn full of boiling water on her own with her bare hands.

They're not happy about her going with two carers in tow especially as she is likely to be very aggressive towards the carers for a while until she gets used to them being about so they suggest she goes on her own for the time being.

Dad's pleased about this because he can use the carers another day and get an extra break.

Is it just me that can see this is madness - is it my judgement that's at fault here? I'm starting to feel it must be because no one else seems slightly concerned.

I'm really quite speechless - I just don't know what to say to anyone.

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Kate it sounds to me as if your vicar really doesn`t want to turn her back on your mother, but perhaps may be trying too hard.

I don`t know what you can do other than to have a private word with her and try to help her to understand the risk she is taking.

If she is prepared to take full responsibility for any accident, perhaps she isn`t fully aware of the possibilities.


Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
SW Scotland
Is it just me that can see this is madness - is it my judgement that's at fault here? I'm starting to feel it must be because no one else seems slightly concerned.
Kate, I'm speechless too!

How on earth can the vicar not see the madness of letting someone with dementia and uncontrolled aggression, help out at a toddlers' group?

I know she's trained to see both sides, and to care for all her parishioners equally, but who is she caring for here?

Not the toddlers, who could be very upset even traumatised by an outburst. Not the other helpers, who have to keep an eye on your mum as well as the toddlers.

And certainly not your mum, who needs protection herself.

Starting to doubt myself
Don't! It seems to me you're the only one who has any understanding of the situation.

I don't know what else you can do, no-one is listening to you. Keep your fingers crossed, I suppose. Not really a good safeguard against dementia!

Love and hugs,

Kate P

Registered User
Jul 6, 2007
I'm so glad it's not just me - I thought maybe I was the one who was going mad!!

I agree that I think the vicar is trying to do her best for mum and dad but my feeling is that there are many other people to consider in this equation.

My hubbies thoughts were that I mustn't have been clear when I explained to her but I really was - as much as I felt I was betraying mum I explained about what had happened with the social worker and how she has to have two carers because of her behaviour but...

To be honest though, the vicar must know how mum behaves because she's seen it first hand. They go on walking trips (days out) from the church and dad still takes mum on them. The last two they've been on mum has howled and screamed hysterically most of the way round - several hours!! On the last walk it was because there was a spot of mud on her glove.

Once again I feel like I'm back at "well I tried my best" but somehow in four years my best is never good enough. Is it an age thing? The fact that I'm dad's child? Would you take advice from your children or am I wasting my time?


Registered User
Aug 9, 2007

Do not doubt yourself at all. I do not think that the Minister fully understands what could happen. I think that it is only as a mother to young children that you recognise it. Mum was prone to violence but my Brother and SIL could never see why I wouldn't leave her with my children unattended for fear that she did something silly like carried tea over them or washed them with hot water or fed them dog food (all of which she tried when I was around!!)

I think you maybe should drop a line with the possibilities to the vicar and say that you have tried to stop your Mum but that you need support and the dangers that you can foresee, then ask if the toddler group/ church etc. has adequate insurance in place. That question generally concentrates the mind!

Good Luck, I know that this isn't easy for you.




Registered User
Jul 31, 2007
Dear Kate,
It is deffinately not you. The Vicar is only thinking of one person - your Mum but there are other people involved and especially children.
In my personal view, your Dad is burying his head in the sand.
If anything happened and I pray it does not but it could void the Insurance as they know what is wrong with your Mum.
I hope this makes sense as when I had my Nursery School I had to be so careful who were on the premises with the children.
Love and best wishes


Registered User
Nov 16, 2007
East Midlands
Hello Kate,

I agree with the others. Do not doubt yourself..

I'm sure the vicar is acting with the best of intentions..but it does seem to be irresponsible of her.She doesn't really understand dementia, does she?

I would stress the insurance aspect of the situation..and perhaps mention the fact that if anything did go horribly ...litigation can be terribly expensive these days..

Hope you get this sorted out without too much hassle..I do feel for you

Love Gigi xx

Kate P

Registered User
Jul 6, 2007
Thanks for the support and advice.

Both my sister and I have tried the insurance/litigation angle but it was a no go.

I guess it's time to admit defeat - at least on this subject - I say I'm giving up but I never quite do! I guess the only thing left is to cross my fingers and hope for the best - at least my conscience is clear although that won't help when things blow up - which I do think it is inevitable that they will - how can it not?

I must admit one of my other concerns is that if mum does lash out at a child or parent I don't think she could be tried criminally because doesn't have the mental capacity to but would she then be sectioned?


Registered User
Sep 27, 2006
If the church is vibrant and ongoing - surely there is another group that your mother could be much more safely directed to? Ask the Vicar to wrack her brains. It may be a good opportunity to ask the Vicar, with help from the local council, admiral nurses or other organisations in your area, if she could start a group for sufferers and their carers? Or, failing that, are there any exisiting carer groups which you could gently attach your mother and father to?



Registered User
Feb 20, 2008
West Yorkshire
Dear Kate
Tina's right, there might be another group where your mum's help would be more appopriate. Just another thought, could you get mums consultant to express their view about mums ability to function at the toddler group. That way it would be nobody's decision, but 'doctors orders' so to speak. I can see this is a tricky one Kate. In a way its quite heartening that they want to still involve mum. Some wouldn't be so accomodating. You are right, you just can't put children at risk, however well meaning.
take care


Registered User
Mar 27, 2008
Hello Kate P

Remember me? I'm that new person who you've posted to a few times. For what it's worth it must be really an important part of your mum's life and it would be a shame for it to be taken from her unless absolutely necessary (which it seems it is as things stand). What about agreeing with the vicar but insisting that you know who is taking full responsibility for your mum whilst she's there in whatever capacity? I do hope something gets sorted to everyone's benefit.

Love Helen


Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
SW Scotland
What about agreeing with the vicar but insisting that you know who is taking full responsibility for your mum whilst she's there in whatever capacity?
What a good idea, Helen!:)

Kate, how about telling the vicar that SS have said that your mum has to have two carers whenever she's away from the family? As she doesn't want carers to accompany your mum, ask her to nominate two people who will be willing to take responsibility for your mum.

Sorry, I don't know enough about the law in a situation where your mum attacked someone. Hopefully Sue or Jennifer will be able to advise -- or you could ring the AS helpline. That might give you more ammunition.



Registered User
Jun 6, 2007
Hi Kate,
I think that you have done the very best you can and I agree with the suggestions that others have made.

Maybe it would help to convince you that you have done all you can, if you write a letter to the Vicar detailing all your concerns regarding your mother and asking her to qualify what arrangements they have in place for your mums care. Perhaps stating that while there, she their responsibility.


Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
Toronto, Canada
Hi Kate,
Since the vicar seems determined to include your mother (which is laudable but...), why don't you send a letter to the church saying since they are including your mother against your better judgement, they will take on the legal responsiblity and liabilities if your mother should cause any damages or injuries due to her dementia?

Hendy's suggestion of getting the consultant involved is an excellent one. Perhaps you can get a letter from the consultant and include it with your letter?

I would tackle all avenues until the vicar sees sense. The easiest way out would be to have your mother go to another group, as several have suggested.


Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
Sounds like you have a very overly kind Vicar , so what are you up against ( God himself Only Joking :D) they faith and learning, based on the Gospel of Jesus Christ so they never going to turn they back on your mother in helping her staying active in they community of faith . sounds very idealistic , but that faith for yeah . blind faith , Vicar must have so much faith in your mother that no harm going to come to her or those around her .

hope the letter help the vicar to face the reality of dementia , but religion does not face reality they still believe that Jesus can heal the mental afflicted as they so kindly call it & Jesus is dead

So the vicars not going to worry about a law suit against them, but I sure would be telling her when things go wrong , no one sectioning my mother, because of your incompetence attitude towards my mother mental disability. sound hard well that reality for you when it come to dementia.
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Registered User
Mar 6, 2007
Wigan, Lancs
Sorry, I don't know enough about the law in a situation where your mum attacked someone. Hopefully Sue or Jennifer will be able to advise -- or you could ring the AS helpline. That might give you more ammunition.
I preface this post with the warning that I am not, nor have I ever been a criminal lawyer, but as I recall from my University days, there are 2 issues.

Firstly, if someone is suffering from some form of mental impairment, the court would have to determine whether the person was fit to stand trial; i.e. able to understand the proceedings. If not they could not be found guilty but may be referred under the Mental Health legislation e.g. 'sectioned'.

Secondly, in order to be guilty of a criminal offence you have to have 'mens rea', which roughly translated means the intention to commit a criminal act. I think it would be very hard to show that your Mum knew what she was doing was a criminal act.

Basically, I think from a practical point of view the CPS would not take proceedings because the chances of a successful prosecution would be minimal and would be seen as a waste of taxpayers money.

I am amazed in this litigation-mad society in which we live, that the Church would be prepared to put children at risk. This may be the vicar's point of view (and I don't doubt she has the best of intentions) but would her church take the same view? After all if there were an incident that led to a claim it would be the Church not the Vicar who would wind up being sued, as the Church is the one with the money!

Kate, I understand your concerns, but I think there is only so much you can do. You have told the vicar all there is to know, so ultimately it is her decision.
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Tender Face

Account Closed
Mar 14, 2006
NW England
Well, I'm flabbergasted - and will put together the most coherent response I can for now ....

Toddler groups - as far as I understand - are 'informal' - they are NOT childcare - and the important emphasis is that the child remains the responsibility of the carer whilst attending - unlike childcare which is bound by strict legislation. As such they are not governed by OFSTED(unless voluntarily I believe) .... and all the associated checks about people in direct or indirect contact with children. That they are often run by 'church' groups gives credence (no pun intended) as to the suitability of those running them and working in them when in fact carers may not be aware that (unlike registered organisations or other childcare) all adults with direct or indirect contact with the children will NOT have been CRB checked etc etc .......

Irrespective of legal requirements - what about the vicar having a moral obligation to disclose to the attendees? I cannot begin to think how I would have felt as a mother had I attended a playgroup with my young child without having been told there was an adult helper who presented some degree of risk (sorry, Kate - but it's not as if you don't know that yourself!) - and be allowed to make my own judgement as that carer whether I wanted my child exposed to any potential and whether I myself had enough understanding to be able to cope with that potential .....
(and it could apply with other concerns - if the vicar can't see someone's inability to protect themselves from a hazard like boiling water and what on earth they are doing any where near toddlers - who else might she see fit to be amongst children? )

The very fact Kate is concerned her mum might attack someone ..... well, it's not likely to be the vicar is it? And therefore there are real Child Protection concerns here ....... at which point there are other avenues (will PM you Kate) .... but I am conscious alerting social services (or the local council department responsible for giving licence / registration to the group if it is indeed in place) could provoke knee-jerk reactions which will be detrimental for Kate's mum - and her dad ...... but, sorry, at the end of the day ... if it were my mum ....... and there were children at risk of harm ..... it's a no contest .......

Litigation can never remove the harm done to a child when and if it it happens, nor does it appease the consciences of people who knew in retrospect they had the potential to prevent it .......

Kate, I am so sorry on top of everything else you are in a situation which is not only desperately worrying but verging on the bizarre,

Love Karen, x