Where Do You Start ???!!!!!

Steve B

Registered User
Jun 2, 2003
Hi All

How do you approach this illness if the person concerned refuses to admit there is a problem ??

My mother , who is 73 has been growing steadily worse over the last 3 years. It began with the occasional forgetfulness but has now got to a stage that she doesn't know the day of the week, can't tell the time, can't remember how to cook or make a hot drink etc. My partner and I do her shopping for her and get into her each day....but we both work so we can't be there 24/7.

But still Mother says there is nothing wrong with her !!!! She borders on agressive if the subject of her health is raised !!!! A year or so back we got Social Services to pay her a visit while we were both there......the lady said there was definitely a problem but as my Mother refused any help there was nothing that Social could do !!! After the Social lady left the abuse we both took was terrible and we were acussed of trying to 'put her away' !!

Do we really have to wait until something terrible happens before we can help her ??...or does anyone have an idea or two that could relieve the situation ?? Our local GP is useless and the condition seems to be worsening by the day.

Sorry to ramble on.....but any help would be most useful !!!!



Registered User
Jun 4, 2003
Hi Steve,

You are in the same position me and my sisters were in a couple of months ago. Our mother, also 73, has been getting more and more confused and forgetful for the last few years. Yesterday she was diagnosed as having Alzheimer's. Until two months ago she became very defensive and angry if we even suggested she needed help. Me and my sisters offered to go to her GP with her to talk about her memory problems, but she refused. Like you, we wondered if something terrible would have to happen before we could get help.

Then my mum had a panic about some medication she had taken (she thought she had taken two doses in one go, but couldn't remember). She rang me and my sister, and NHS Direct and got in a complete panic about it. That was a sort of turning point because she did start to admit there was a problem, and agreed to go to her GP with me.

Luckily, her GP is very good and she really likes him. He did a quick memory test on her and then asked her if she would mind if a 'memory specialist' came to vist her in her home. Because she likes and trusts the GP so much she agreed. The consultant came to visit her and did another assessment, and then sent a psycholoist to do a more detailed one. yesterday the psychologist came to my mum's house to give the results - me and my sister were there too. The psychologist didn't say it was Alzheimer's and my mum didn't ask but it was pretty clear to me and my sister that that was what it was. My sister rang the psychologist later and she confirmed that it was. She has prescribed some drugs (she didn't say which ones, but they're the ones that can delay further deterioration for a while), and is sending a support worker round to visit my mum.

At the moment it hasn't really sunk in and we're all in shock about it, even though we suspected it was Alzheimer's. But at least I feel we've moved on from the stage you're in, which is feeling powerless to do anything. All I can say is that there will probably come a time when your mum admits she needs help, as mine did, and until then I don't think you can do any more than you're doing already.

Hope that helps,


Registered User
Jun 8, 2012
This happened to me too

Hi Steve,
My Mum is also 73 and has vascular dementia. My experiences are very similar to yours. I got my mum to attend one appointment when i expressed concern and they made a tentative diagnosis but she has refused to attend any further appointments since then (that was about 18 months ago). I felt like I was battling on alone with little support. My Mum had and still has no insight into her dementia and becomes very angry when I help her with things. The turning point for us was when I realised she was forgetting to take her medication for blood pressure and thyroid problem. The GP surgery had not noticed that she hadn't had a repeat prescription for 6 months. I phoned the GP to express concern and that seemed to kick start the services we need. We now have a Social Worker and at present my Mum has a 15 minute visit every day from a carer for medication prompts. I do everything else for her, shopping, housework, washing etc..... She needs a lot more care then she is getting but she will not accept it as she does not believe she has a problem, this seems to be a common problem having read a few of the threads on this forum. I cannot get my Mum to bath or change her clothes, this is my biggest problem right now! I wish you well, if you get get a good GP on side then I think that is half the battle. I have learnt to 'manipulate' my Mum a bit to get her to agree to things or make stories up about why things have to be done, it is exhausting though. I even told her that my 3 year old had smeared his chocolate buttons on her jumper yesterday to get her to take it off so I could wash it!! All the best.


Registered User
Jun 8, 2012

Just realised that the original post was made in 2003 so I guess my reply is a bit late!


Registered User
May 11, 2012
Where to start.

These are a few of the things that I found helped enormously when my mum was first diagnosed.

1). I put a small white board, with felt marker pens, up in the kitchen. I wrote on it key dates, appointments and things she needs to know, like how much the milkman needs or when bin day is. Its the "Memory Board"

2). I bought a large clock that has the year, month, day, date and time on it. So mum can look at the "Memory Board" and can confirm if an appointment is today or not.

3). What ever you do, try not to make too many changes around the house. It must look familiar, replace worn out electrical appliances with ones that look as close as possible to the old one. Change is not good for them. I wish I could buy back mums old house and find all the old furniture, but its been 60 years since she was there, and she'd just start wonder where her gran and granddad were, as they brought her up.

These two items gave about 2-3 years of sterling service, but mums condition does not improve, and she still looks at the memory board, reads it to us for re-assurance, but mostly ignores the clock.

Hope this helps



Volunteer Host
Nov 6, 2008

Welcome to TP, don't worry about posting to answer an old post, the questions raised are still valid.

I just didn't want your post to get lost without saying hello, I hope you are going to stay now you have found us.



Registered User
Denial - Refusal to see doctor

Mum remains adamant she is fine, firmly in denial. She became very defensive - said she would know and would tell me if there was a problem. I made a decision to drop the subject to preserve quality time together. I've been helping her in other ways and I've noticed she hasn't declined further during the last year. Suddenly the focus changed dramatically from mum to dad as he wound up his business only last year at the age of 80. He had a car accident all in the same week writing off his car. Spending time with him has revealed his confusion. He is very loving on the one hand, but refuses help with just about everything on the other. House is breaking up: drain block that went on for months, no tv since digital change, no washing machine, countless other problems. Stock saying is 'do not interfere - he'll sort it!' - but does nothing. Sorting out lots of issues covertly. Love them both to bits and they love each other dearly, but what do we do with dementia denial?

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