where do i start?

sheila d

Registered User
Dec 8, 2007
Hello everyone, this is my first posting, so aplolgies if it is rather long.

For some time my 84 year old mother was prescribed prochloroperazine ( Stemetil), which we believed was to treat her regular blackouts (the label was for "giddy attacks"). However about 6 weeks ago the medicine was completely stopped after a review by the GP and following a further fall. Shortly after she was admitted to hopsital overnight following a severe nose bleed, the cause of which is unknown. Since then she has only had one dizzy spell, but no more blackouts. That's the background.

Over the last 6 weeks she has developed significant behavioural problems, which were previously unnoticed ( although she has always had an anxious personality prone to worrying)

In the last week,

We had a power cut a week ago, since then she asks us repeatedly if we are still using candles at home. Every evening she asks when the lights are going to be switched on (as it is dark outside).

It is taking her up to 2 hours to get dressed now as she is constantly adjusting her bra strap. She believes the reason that her bra doesn't fit is because she is having to get undressed in the dark,because there are no lights ( not true)

It is an hour to do her shoes up as the laces have to be the same length so she has to keep doing them up and undoing them.

She says everyday that meals on wheels are late ( they aren't)

She knows what time it is but she has started going to bed early or refusing to go to bed at all until 1 or 2am in the morning.

In the last 2 weeks she has developed trembling in her hands.

The doctor visited last week ( mum is housebound) and my father mentioned his concerns, but as mum can be entirely normal at times, he didn't seem to accept there is a problem.

We have now reached the stage where mum is refusing to listen to dad or let him help, he is breaking down in tears and I keep getting phone calls from mum, where I have to tell her things as she doesn't believe dad ( the call today was because she thinks Xmas is next year and won't sign any xmas cards)

Aplogies for the long post, but I simply don't know where to turn for help. Are these symptoms of Alzheimers, even though it feels so sudden? Perhaps the Stemetil was masking her earlier symptoms. Can I make an appointment to see the doctor to discuss her symptoms?


Registered User
Jul 31, 2007
Hello Sheila,
Welcome to Talking Point. I made a list of everything to take to the Doctors. Do you have a Social Worker? There is the local Alzheimer's Branch, Age Conceern, Help the Aged, the Princess Royal Trust to ask for help. Have you tried the fact sheets on the Home Page?
Someone will come up with advice that will help. Everyone has been brilliant for me.
I wish you the very best. Christine


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

Your mum's behaviour does sound as if it might be caused by Alzheimer's, but there are other possible causes. You really do need to see her GP, and ask for tests/assessments.

None of us here are medically qualified, all we can do is speak from out own experience.

Christine's suggestion is a good one. Write a list of all the things that concern you, or just print out your post. Ideally send it to the GP in advance of the appointment, so that you don't have to go into details in front of your mum.

Please let us know how you get on, and stay in touch. If it does prove to be AD, you'll find lots of support here.

Best wishes

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Hello Sheila.

I was prescribed Stemetil for viral vertigo. Perhaps this is why it was prescribed for your mother when she was having `giddy attacks`. With viral vertigo though, the room was spinning round even when I was lying in bed and i felt the bed was going to tip me out. It was very severe.

The nose bleeds I do believe could have been a safety valve instead of a stroke. This is what my grandmother was told.

If your mother`s doctor doesn`t accept there is a problem, he will have to be convinced there is. The only way I can suggest, is for you and your father to write down all the behaviours of your mother that concern you. Keep a diary for a week and note down everything you consider odd or inappropriate or unreasonable.

Then either you or your father make an appointment to see the GP without your mother and discuss the situation with him once again.

I hope you get some help.


Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
I would go along with what everyone else had said - you need to get her to a doctor. Something that occurs to me, though, is that some of this (the shoelace thing in particular) sounds almost like OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). For all I know this could be part and parcel of dementia, or it could be something separate. One thing I would also be asking - it's true that that drug is prescribed for dizziness but normally when there's a firm diagnosis of what's causing the dizziness. I would be concerned that there hasn't been an adequate work-up of a possible underlying problem, and I think I might be pushing for a referral to a neurologist. Just very much an opinion though - as Hazel says we're not medical professionals.

Edited to add - make sure you list everything, including any possible visual difficulties she may be having, since the side effect profile of this drug is such that symptoms can occur even after the drug is stopped (unfortuately).
Last edited:


Registered User
Nov 16, 2007
East Midlands
I agree with all of the above-can I ask have any routine blood tests been done? These could indicate anaemia/dehydration/infection/raised blood sugar and any of these in the elderly can cause temporary symptoms such as you describe.( and could be potentially more damaging if not found and treated) Has your mum's blood pressure been checked? Is she constipated? could she have a urine infection? The GP should be checking all of these-should have done already. Good idea as mentioned to make a note of everything-and unfortunately keep asking until you get an answer. Hope you get your mum sorted soon. love Gigi x

sheila d

Registered User
Dec 8, 2007
thank you

My mother had all blood tests a month ago when the doctor first became involved following a fall. They all came back normal. Her blood pressure is also normal.

I have started to keep a diary of all her unusual behaviour - I didn't realise how much there has been until I started to write it all down.

Dad is in denial about it all at the moment so I don't know everything that is happening, but I think I have seen enough to be able to write to the doctor next week. Dad has just told me that she was sick yesterday after tea- I don't know why.

Can I ask your advice on something else please.

Mum is on the waiting list for a day care place, which I think is really important to give Dad a break and, also because she is immobile, they would be able to bathe her, which we are finding too difficult to manage at home. However she doesn't want to go, she's frightened and confused about it. Should I insist that she goes, or is that the wrong thing to do. We have this dilemna all the time, so this morning she would have spent all day adjusting her bra strap if I hadn't have said that she could try one more time, then she must put her blouse on. She cried about it and said please let me keep trying but I was firm about it and we did get her dressed. But I don't know if it was the right thing to do or not.


Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
Did she continue crying AFTER she was dressed? Because if she didn't I'm inclined to say you did the right thing. I'm sure it made you feel awful though. And I have to say, even if she did continue crying but it wasn't for very long, I'd be inclined to say you did the right thing too. Can I ask -what happens if you don't try to put the bra on? Just a vest or something?

EDited to add: on the day care thing I think you may have to be firm, but if she tries it a few times and still doen't like it then you may have to rethink.

sheila d

Registered User
Dec 8, 2007

No she didn't cry after we had her blouse on - she just transferred her anxiety on to the length of her shoelaces, which would have turned in to another 3 hour saga, but I just took control and said we had to do her shoe laces up quickly as her cup of tea was getting cold. Dad tells me this is the 3rd day running that she has taken 2 hours to put her bra on. I think that it is easier for me to be firm with her than Dad, who is not coping with this sudden change in her.

I guess that today the enormity of the problem has hit us both and its been pretty awful.