undiagnosed dementia


Registered User
Mar 19, 2008
west sussex
Goodness knows if I am doing this correctly but here goes...
Is there anyone out there who can advise/help on dealing with my elderly mother! We are waiting to see a consultant to diagnose EMI or dementia I suppose. Any of the so called helpbooks I look at seem to suggest she is suffering all the signs symptoms of dementia. She has gone from being a very independant lady to one who cannot cope with the simplest of tasks. How do I get her to remember to take tablets in the morning? They are in an envelope marked morning tablets and this is very confusing for her and frustrating for me - :eek:aaaaaaaaaaaah!Still lives on her own - just - but I go in daily for 6 hours and it is so stressful. Please talk to me someone!! Thanks a million


Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
SW Scotland
Hi Judy, welcome to TP.

I can believe hove stressful you're finding it. My heart goes out to people caring for someone who insists on living alone. You know they're not safe, but what can you do?

Others on the forum have faced this problem -- I haven't, but just wanted you to know I was listening and sympathising.

You'll get lots of replies later, when others come online.

For now, stay strong, and talk to us whenever you like.

All the best,

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Hello Judy.

I`m so sorry about the position your mother seems to be in and hope a diagnosis will shed some light for her.

If she is in the throes of dementia, envelopes with messages are unlikely to work. Sorry! I know you are trying your best.

How do you organize the time you spend with your mother? When my mother was in this position, I used to go before and after work. I made myself responsible for her medication at those times. I was lucky, we only lived a five minute drive away so it was possible.
Can you arrange antything like that?

Once you have a diagnosis, your mother`s GP will refer her to Social Srevices. They will be able to arrange for carers to visit at regular times. The carers will not give her her medication, but they will remind her and watch while she takes it.

Don`t despair. There will be help available as long as your mother will accept it. Till then, stay strong, keep posting here on Talking Point[TP], you will get a lot of support from others who have all been where you are now.

Love xx


Registered User
Sep 27, 2006
If you can get social services to help you with carers who will visit your mum every day, I would suggest a dosette box. Ask at your mother's doctor's surgery how you do this. A dosette box contains all your mother's medicines in a weekly blister pack which is subdivided into days of the week and times of the day. Your mother will not be able to use it, but if you can, hopefully, get some regular help coming to your mum, it would make medicine taking very simple for them to supervise.

I think now is the time to insist that social services help you to cope with caring for your mum. Nothing happens quickly when you are dealing with them so I would suggest that you start the ball rolling as soon as you can. Good luck in your quest to help your mum.



Registered User
Jan 29, 2008
Ashford, Kent
Hi Judy and welcome!

My Dad lives with us, and he has vascular dementia and is in a 'moderate' stage. He washes/dresses/makes tea and sandwiches, goes to the local shop alone... but, despite being able to do all these day to day tasks, his short term memory is virutally non existent so telling him to remember to take pills etc. doesn't work. He has the dosette boxes, but as he has no idea what day of the week it is, they don't help.

I've tried leaving notes for different things and they don't help. I've found through trial and error that unless he can see something, it just doesn't exists.

I leave his next lot of pills in a clear pot next to the kettle. He simply knows if pills are in the pot they are for taking, if it's empty he must have had them already.

I leave him a packed lunch if I am not here. I tried leaving it in the fridge with a post it note on the door.. but it was still there when I got back. He'd made himself something to eat instead.

Now, I leave his packed lunch always on the same plate with a clear lid. I stand it on 2 ice packs to keep it fresh. That works because like the pills, he sees it when he goes to the kettle to make tea.

Same goes with clothes, I leave out the clean ones and take the dirty ones away each morning. If left to him, I don't think he would ever get clean ones out the wardrobe :rolleyes:

Good luck, just try a few things out and see what works.

Beverley x

Tender Face

Account Closed
Mar 14, 2006
NW England
Hi Judy

Yup - know too well that frustration when notes and phone prompts (but I only called you five minutes before!!!) have lost their 'shelf-life' .... I live a short drive from mum - but school and work run mean I can't be there at specific times of day (especially mornings!!!!) ... and mum won't have any one 'come in' ....... Best advice I was given by my own GP when I was struggling a few months back was to look at 'risk management' (for my own self-preservation!!!!) ..... we can only put in place what we can - but we cannot be expected to cover every eventuality ......

I hope a mod will move this thread to the main forum ... I am sure there will be lots shared which will help many carers - e.g. Beverley - I never thought of ice packs!!!!!!!! (Food in fridge remains food in fridge until mum decides to hide it somewhere far more sensible like a wardrobe!!!!!!!) Nice one!!!!

Last point - don't wait for a diagnosis ... social services may need one to start their paper shuffling (sorry cynical mood has taken over this evening:eek:) - but local agencies like Age Concern, Crossroads etc may be able to offer help irrespective of medical referral ......

Love Karen, x


Registered User
Jan 9, 2008
Hi Judy

I can really understand the problems you are facing. I too have a father who lives on his own and denies that there is anything wrong. Over the past two years I have taken over all of his "paperwork/bill paying and financial matters". I finally managed to get him to complete an Enduring Power of Attorney which has made things a little easier for me.

I also have taken over responsibility for daily medication. The way I work round it, is that I fill dosset boxes each week for him. When he is due to take tablets I ring him (the reason for this is that I live about an hours drive away and I also have a young family of my own) and I ask him to take his tablets. Before he swallows them, I ask him to tell me what he can see (just to make sure that he has the correct ones!). This system does seem to work for us, at the moment.:)

The other thing which I put in place for dad was to receive "Meals on wheels". This has been working really well. Not only does he get a really nice hot meal but there is also the reassurance that dad has to answer the door in order to get his meal. If he does not then I get a phone call. This is quite reassuring when they live on their own.

Hope this is of some help. Please keep posting and let us know how you are getting on. Believe me, TP is a fantastic place to bounce ideas off people or just to let of steam.


fearful fiona

Registered User
Apr 19, 2007
Hello Judy

Nice to meet you. I had a similar problem with my mother when she was at home with my ailing father. Everyone else has given you some good ideas. I found ringing up when medication had to be taken a good idea as the dosset box idea didn't work. I also found great relief when Social Services got involved (and they do take their time.) The relief was due to the fact that my parents were "in the system" as I called it and I didn't feel I had to struggle on my own.

Hope you get things sorted.


Registered User
Aug 9, 2005
Just want to suggest you look at the factsheets which you can access from the link at the top of the first page of the forum. Not sure how to attach a link to a post, but a more capable TPer might do it for me!!

This is a very difficult situation and one with which many of us are familiar.

Most important advice I can give at this stage is:

Remember it is due to the ILLNESS (even if not yet diagnosed) that your Mum's behaviour has changed. I was quite annoyed with my Mum inthe early stages (before diagnosis) thinking she was just being awkward, selfish or uncooperative. Later, when I realised it was down to the illness and she couldn't help it, I felt VERY guilty. I would like to spare you that guilt if possible.


Registered User
Mar 19, 2008
west sussex

Thanks to one and all, you have no idea how good it is to know you are not on your own and that you have faced it all before! Mum actually in hospital for assessment as she is clearly not coping on her own. She is spitting chips of course and thinks I am scheming something!!!!! I'm not of course... I just want her to be in her own flat but with all the support and input she needs. I think my main problem is that as an 'only child' albeit 52 :rolleyes:I am just too close to the situation and I need some respite too! Anyway thanks agin for the ideas.

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Dear Judy,

Please let us know how your mother gets on in assessment.

And don`t be on your own. There is always someone here to offer support.

Love xx

margaret savage

Registered User
Mar 20, 2008
Hello Judy,
I am in a very similar situation with my mum at the moment. We were lucky enough to get help from care workers quite quickly once we contacted social service and were offered both a morning and evening call. Mum wanted neither but after a little cajoling she did accept a visit in the morning but wasn't having the night one. The only problem has been that she insists she has eaten and had a cuppa when they come and quite often says she has had her tablets too. These we keep in a 7 day compartment in the kitchen which she never offers to touch and waits for us to prompt her. As I have said earlier my main worry is that she will eventually walk out of the house one evening and get lost.
I daren't lock her in without her having the key to hand as I did this once and couldn't rest all night at home for worrying about her. Although we are there from 10am until /7pm every day the worry still goes on when we go home. This is 1 problem I can see no way of solving on my own.
I am glad you found this site as I did for the wonderful people who post on it - they are an inspiration.
God Bless,


Registered User
Mar 22, 2008
Hello Judy

If if you get the diagnosis of dementia then it doesn't mean you get any help unless the patient agrees.

Like you I am an only child in my 50s whose mother has AD but will not accept it. She will not let me supervise her medication even though her GP and the elderly mental specialist have asked me to.

I know she is not taking her tablets properly, but she refuses help from Age Concern or Social Services or anybody.

I have to accept that she is at risk. I go to work and cannot be there all the time. She knows she is awkward and seems to quite enjoy it.

I am almost at the stage of walking away and telling her to get on with it, and just wait for the crisis.



Registered User
Mar 19, 2008
west sussex
assessment on wednesday am

Hi All
It sounds very similar. She is now in a wonderful local hospital and is seeing the psychogeriatrician tomorrow morning. Should I be there I don't know what to do for the best. Half of me wants him to see her at her worst without my support and the the other half wants to protect her. If I am there, she will think that I am ganging up on her with all the rest of them. The UTI has reared its head again and antibiotics have started yet again. She was really nasty tonight when I left her. Hope tomorrow works out. For info, the social services are going to get involved thankfully. Does anyone have any info on nursing/care homes for elderly dementia sufferers in the East Grinstead area - those to avoid and those that are brilliant?
Many many thanks

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