Undiagnosed dementia


Registered User
Nov 10, 2005

I,m new to all this posting lark so hope this works!

My Mum is mid 70's with undiagnosed moderate to severe dementia - fortunately she is happy most of the time but has considerable mid-term memory loss and severe short term memory loss/confusion (she is also insulin-dependent diabetic). My 81 year old Dad is just about coping at present and so far refuses to get their GP involved - despite my repeated attempts to persuade him. I did manage to get EPA for both of them earlier in the year but I am worried that my Dad will not be able to cope for much longer. We live 160 miles away and they do not have any close friends nearby. I have thought about contacting their GP to put him in the picture and to ask if he could get them in under some pretext (maybe my Mum's regular diabetic check?) and 'discover' her condition but I'm not sure how sympathetic he'd be and if he'd be willing to do it without 'dropping me in it'.

Meanwhile, I'd like to buy my Mum something for Christmas which would help and/or stimulate her memory - any suggestions or useful websites where I might be able to buy suitable presents.



Registered User
Oct 23, 2003
West Sussex
Hi Mark, its a tricky one as obviously you have no idea how the GP will play it. I had to do the same with my Mum so I know how awkward it is. Her GP was good though, he asked her some questions similar to the mini mental test and then said he would like her to see a specialist to help her deal with her memory problems. It was very tactfully done in our case.
As your Dad is her next of kin, this is even trickier, especially as he is not ready yet to admit theres any problem. You may have to sit on it for a while I fear. Try to ring him often and be supportive without insisting he do anything he is unhappy with. If you push him, he may just see it as him and your Mum against the world and haul up the drawbridge. Its just possible that the GP or the diabetic nurse has already picked up on it, they do sometimes when they see a patient regularly.
Does your Mum like music? I got mine some tapes and DVDs of the war years and she loved singing along to them, this is something they could do together. Choccies went down well too, although they weren't exactly stimulating, she certainly found them more-ish!
Please keep posting and let us know how you get on. Love She. XX


Registered User
Oct 9, 2003
Birmingham Hades
Hi Mark
welcome to Talking Point.
You have the right idea to contact the GP, by fair means or foul,sometimes we have to tell little white lies to help our loved ones.
However Sheila is right tread carefully but try to find a way of involving the GP.
Best wishes

blue sea

Registered User
Aug 24, 2005
Hi Mark

It is so hard to support your parents in that situaton without interefering with their right to be independent as long as possible and make their own decisions. I had a similar situation with an aunt who lived at a distance. I spoke to the practice manager on the phone and explained the situation. She arranged for my aunt's doctor to phone me, which she did and then the GP arranged a tactful home visit for an 'over 80s check up'. That started the ball rolling without my aunt knowing I'd got involved. However you might be better waiting to see how things progress. Your dad does seem to you to be just managing at the moment. If things get worse your dad will be much more willing to accept some help. At the moment he probably fears that contacting the GP is an acceptance that something is really wrong.

Reading this through it sounds a little muddled, but then it's not a clear cut situation to be in and there's just not going to be an obvious right and wrong way for you to respond. Whatever you do or don't do will be with the best intentions and out of love for your parents. Getting the EPA done was really useful as that will make handling finances much easier if or when the need arises.
Keep posting ad let us know how things go.

Blue sea