Hi, I have just found this website and hope that some of you can point me in the right direction. I will try to keep this as short as possible, but this is the situation: I am an only child, I live in Brazil. My mother lives on her own in Wiltshire, she is 78 and has lived alone since she was widowed in 1980. There are no other relatives who can help. I went to Brazil in Aug 2004. At that time she seemed OK although her house was a bit messy and she seemed to be taking less care with her appearance than she used to. Last Christmas she came to Brazil for 5 weeks, I booked the flight and made sure that she was taken from plane to plane in a wheelchair so she would not have to walk far and she would not miss her connection. She is not disabled in any way. During her stay I noticed that she did not take a shower and I had to take her clothes from her room to wash them. She also seemed to be more forgetful than before and sometimes became confused. When I mentioned her personal hygene she flew off the handle then cried. She got back home OK and we have kept in touch by telephone. This Christmas I told her that I was coming home to see her, she kept saying that she would tidy the house. I phoned her two days before I was due to arrive and she was cross with me because apparently I had told her, the week before, that I had invited some friends to come to her house over Christmas, she did not like my friends and was thinking of going away! I told her that this was complete nonsense, but she insisted that she remembered the phonecall in detail. This upset me and I told her so. When I arrived she looked rather disheveled and the house was very messy and dirty. She keeps newspapers, magazines, mail, old phone directories etc all over the living room. The kitchen cupboards are all full of tins and packets of food, also the worksurfaces and the floor. The fridge was full to bursting with food, some of which had been bought frozen and shoved in, some food was out of date by 6 months or so. I told her that I was shocked and saddened by the mess and she agreed that it needed tidying, but not that it was dirty and got offended. I said that we could tackle it together. When I tried to throw things out or clean up she made no move to help, just sat in her chair. Eventually she became stroppy with me, so I stopped after I had thrown out the rotting food and made the kitchen hygenic. During my stay she lost a number of things, documents for the car (she still drives, but not far), keys and money. She thinks this normal and agrees that she is a bit forgetful, but "everyone is as they get older". It seems that Mum sleeps a lot, spends her days "sorting through papers" and watching TV. She also reads the newspaper (or some of it) and does the quick crossword (and completes it). She is not interested in going out (other than to buy food) or joining any groups. She has always been quiet and does not seek out the company of others. Before I left last Thursday to return to Brazil, she had mislaid a building society book with cash folded in it which she had intended to pay in this week. Today I phoned her and she said that she thought the son of a friend of mine must have taken it when I "let him have a go" in her car. (I had borrowed the car to visit my friend.) I told her that she was mistaken and had never put the money in the car. She "remembers" putting it there and me telling her about my friends son liking the car. I told her that I have never even met my friend's son and he lives miles away. She was puzzled by this and insists the money was in the car. I told her that she should accept that she gets confused at times and loses things. She did not accept this, got cross and then changed the subject. She does not visit her GP and mistrusts doctors in general. I think I should write to the GP outlining the symptoms and ask for advice. I feel that he should know her circumstances and the fact that I am her only relative and live thousands of miles away. Other than that I have no idea what to do. I feel so guilty at being so far away, but then think that even if I lived next door there is little that I could do as she is so fiercely independant, thinks that there is nothing wrong and will let no-one over the threshold. She has one friend, a widow who lives next door and is of similar age, but is mentally and physically fine. This lovely lady tries to keep an eye on Mum and reminds her of her weekly hair appointment etc, but can't do much more and of course it's not her problem. She has my contact details and I will be ringing her regularly. Where do I go from here? The guilt and the worry are causing me sleepless nights. I want to do my best for her, as yet she is not in danger (apart from food poisoning) but if this is dementia or Alzheimer's (what's the difference?) then it can only get worse. Apologies for the length of this post.