Strategies sought to help mum stay in own home


Registered User
Jul 24, 2007
My Mum lives alone, and I'm 2 hours away (and working). She relies on old habits to (just about) keep herself going, but has no short-term memory. Recently she has started to withdraw money almost every day from her building society account (they kindly keep her bank card for her as she long ago lost the ability to look after that). She keeps it in little bags and hides it. The next time she thinks she needs to go shopping, she calls in at the building society and withdraws another £20, £30 or £40. I have found some of her hiding places but might not always be able to - and this behaviour raises questions about her vulnerability.
Social services (in Kent) will not provide any carers even though my mother is prescribed Aricept, was temporarily admitted to a care home her for her own safety last year and has had several episodes that involved police being called. I pay for a carer (from Attendance Allowance) to call in once a day to see that she has food and has taken meds, and despite knowing Mum does not want to accept help I have asked this carer to help her shop a couple of times a week and steer her away from the building society. But of course this leaves plenty of time for Mum to get money out when alone. I can't stop her taking money out as this will distress her - she is convinced she has none and will panic, but I don't think we can continue too long like this. What can I do?
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Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
SW Scotland
Hi Stephan

Welcome to TP.

I can't understand why your mum has been refused help by SS. The fact that she has had emergency admission, and has had police involvement, I would think proves that she needs some sort of supervision.

All I can suggest is that you contact your mum's local branch of Alzheimer Society, and of Princess Royal Trust for Carers. Either of these should be able to contact SS on your behalf. You need to stress how vulnerable your mum is, and say that you need a priority assessment.

Of course you may have already tried that, and if so, I'm sorry. Perhaps someone will have other ideas.

Best wishes,


Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
I went out to day , on a day trip and was amazed to know that they was a woman living alone who has dementia .

She gets pick up every day by social services day-center & has a carer that come in the morning to get her ready for day-center .

I know how hard it is , when they won't except help , but your going to have to be strong in telling your mother that she has to expect help from SS or she have to Go into care home and will she ever see the logic in that ! it always the carer that has to be logic and realistic for them

I must say that is the hardest part of Caring ( being logic and realistic for them) and caring for someone does not just mean when your living with them xx

Tender Face

Account Closed
Mar 14, 2006
NW England
Hi Stephan

Welcome to TP (in that sorry you had to find it kind of way).

I'm mum's main carer, although I work and have family myself and find I am struggling more and more to ensure mum is safe (never mind independent) in her own home. I know I couldn't have achieved this for even the short length of time I have so far without huge support from mum's long-standing and very caring neighbours, a limited but very valued 'care' package (thru Age Concern) and NHS support (CPN and great GP etc) ...... not to mention I work locally and have very understanding employers and at worst I am only ever about 15 minutes away should need arise to get there ..... All this, without mum believing she has any 'help'!!!!!!

I'm sorry but your phrase 'doesn't want to accept any help' just sprang out .....

Are you trying to preserve mum's 'staying in own home' because that is what she believes she can manage? And it would be too distressing to her to suggest otherwise? Sorry, you say so little I could be barking up completely the wrong tree ..... in which case, please ignore me ..... just guessing you may have the same kind of 'mum' one or two others know well here who are (or like to think they are) feistily independent when they are actually desperately vulnerable!!!!!

I hope you feel able to share a little more ... and engage more suggestions as how best to help ...

Love, Karen, x


Registered User
May 14, 2006
Dear Stefan,
I'm afraid that we didn't find Kent Social Services very helpful either. When I rang up in desperation for them to make an assessment on my Mum, the manager just said that she couldn't see what the problem was, as Mum could make herself a cup of tea and get herself dressed!
Eventually a social worker came round and I felt as if I knew a lot more than she did, as we'd been coping with Mum's rheumatoid arthritis for such a long time and had all the gadgets available to help her.
As far as the dementia was concerned, there was a complete lack of awareness of its effects and how forgetting to take medication might be a problem. Phonecalls in the middle of the night or early morning weren't considered as being intrusive or stressful at all.
We've just had to sort everything out for ourselves and fortunately we've had the Internet and Mum had enough savings to pay for help in the home and later on a place in a Care Home.
I don't know how people in Kent manage, if they can't afford to pay for extra care for their relatives. There doesn't seem to be any kind of support network at all here. I think that a local group would have helped us a lot.

fearful fiona

Registered User
Apr 19, 2007
Dear Stefan,

Found your post interesting as my Mum who has dementia and my Dad (who is very old and also probably has it) are still living on their own although I'm only half an hour away. My Mum in particular is very obstinate and thinks she can cope but she can't really.

I can't understand why Social Services won't help. Is there anything the GP can do to help?

On the financial side the building society sound quite helpful if they are keeping her card for her. I wonder if they could contact you if she is going in very often and drawing out money, although I'm not sure how much they will talk to you as it sounds as though you don't have any sort of power of attorney. I suppose your mother worrying about having money is some sort of comfort thing, my Mum goes into a panic about house keys and has about four sets!

Hiding places seem to be a way of life with someone who has dementia; you'd be amazed at what my Mum hides!!!

Something that might be useful for you as you live a way away. My parents were recently "treated" to a visit from a ruthless salesman who got them to sign up to a new gas/electricity supplier; neither of them have a clue about these things and you can imagine I was really cross when I found out. Anyway, I found both Age Concern and the local Trading Standards really helpful, particularly the latter as they provide some really useful information and stickers you can put in the window saying "no cold callers". Not sure if they do any good, but at least I feel I'm doing something to help.

It is not easy trying to care from a distance.....

Best of luck.

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