where to get advice


Registered User
Feb 11, 2007
North Yorkshire
My mother was diagnosed as having dementia some time ago and which seems to have progressed fairly rapidly recently and I now find myself in the position of trying to care for her on my own, I am male and am finding even some of the routine day-to-day stuff very difficult to deal with and I was wondering if there is anything like a help-line available for people who haven't got a clue about even the mundane things like coming up with (simple) meal ideas etc.
A woman from the local community mental health team calls now and then but all I ever get from her is that she is 'looking into' or 'thinking about' doing something and that is as far as it gets, social services have assessed us and do not think any physical help is needed at the moment, district nurses have called a couple of times and they are very helpful but there does not seem to be any way of getting to see one regularly.


Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
SW Scotland
Hi Eustace

Welcome to TP. You've come to the right place for advice and support.

First port of call -- Factsheets! Look at the top left hand corner of the page and click the factsheet button -- lots of useful advice.

Second: Is there a local branch of Alzheimer's Society? You'll find they have lots of local information, plus support groups for you and your Mum.

Third: Alzheimer's Society helpline for specific questions.

Fourth: Princess Royal Trust for Carers. They'll provide support for you.

Fifth: Social Services. You have to keep nagging them if you need anything. Local AS and PRT will help with this.

Sixth: TP!!!!! This is the best of all. Ask any questions, and you'll get loads of answers.

Good luck,

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Hi Eustace,

Welcome to TP.

I can`t add to any of the excellent advice from Hazel but hope you don`t mind if I ask a couple of questions.

Are there any extnded family members who could help out while you are finding your feet?

Would you consider Meals on Wheels for your mother?

Have you thought about asking Home Carers to visit your mother during the day?

I hope you find useful information from the various organizations Hazel has identified to you.

Please let us know how you get on.

Regards, Sylvia

Gill W

Registered User
Jan 31, 2007
Co. Durham

Just wanted to say that I'm a recently-joined member here, but in the short time I've been here, I've had so much help, advice, support, understanding, and caring I just can't put it all into words.

This IS the place to be when you have trials and tribulations with Alzheimers.

I was planning on joining months ago, never got round to it. Now that I have, I've never yet found unconstructive replies. Everyone here is either going through it, or has been through it all, and as such, I think the forum is the most important place to get your help and support.

We've had so little help from SS with my Grandma, but this forum more than makes up for it.



Registered User
Feb 22, 2006
sort of north east ish
Eustace said:
I was wondering if there is anything like a help-line available for people who haven't got a clue about even the mundane things like coming up with (simple) meal ideas etc.
Sounds daunting Eustace. Don't know of a help line, though there's more or less everything you likely to need on the net. I guess meal ideas largely depend on your and your mother's tastes. I tend to live on 1001 variations on same recipe: get a collection of different veg, fry them in a bit of oil, add a cook in sauce or a thick soup. Cook until veg are done. Serve with rice, pasta or baked potatoes (if the latter try cooking the veg in a dish in the over rather than on the hob, it saves fuel.

Good luck :)


Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
Meal Ideas

If you have a freezer and a microwave I recommend Wiltshire Farm Meals


You can order online or on the phone and they have a good choice.

But also tell Social Services when you need more help, e.g. a carer to help her wash and dress. As long as you appear to be coping they will probably just leave you to it.


Eustace said:
I was wondering if there is anything like a help-line available for people who haven't got a clue about even the mundane things like coming up with (simple) meal ideas etc.


Registered User
Feb 26, 2006
Hi Eustace

My approach to food is that anything mushy goes down well. Mash potato, pasta (well cooked) with gravy is fine and I have to avoid anything chewey, i.e. meat ( except mince). Mary loves carrots and anything that is brightly coloured so I tend to serve what she will eat and to hell with healthy eating. When she was in hospital having suferred dramatic weight loss amongst other problems I asked the dietician what I should feed her and the reply was "calories". Nuff said!

Good luck



Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
social services have assessed us and do not think any physical help is needed at the moment,
They may not think that , but do you ?

Can your mother wash , dress herself ? if you don't mind me asking .

They should
Refer you to your local AZ group if your mother would go? Do you think she would?

If so they put her on a waiting list and when a vacancies come someone from your local AZ |group visit you and your mother ( that how it works in my area ) its you that got to keep pushing for it with SW , it give you a break .

You got to tell them what you want , what you feel your and your mother needs are


Registered User
Oct 9, 2003
Birmingham Hades


Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
You might also want to lay it on the line reagrding the personal care aspect: whether you do or do not feel comfortable doing this for your mother (and whether she feels OK about it as well) I feel very strongly that this is an area where professional carers should be provided (whether they would be is another matter, but I think it does no harm to expect SS to explain WHY your mother shouldn't have that type of care).



Registered User
Jul 10, 2006
south lanarkshire
Hi Eustace
Wiltshire Fam Foods provide frozen meals 1 per day. For every meal you can get a soup or sweet free. They are delivered once every two weeks.
If you arrange this service through Social Services it is cheaper
Wiltshire farm Foods also can loan a freezer and a thermo oven (if no microwave) to cook the meals, which means if you get carers organised, which you should, they can then serve food.

I have appetito meals delivered by Wiltshire Farm Foods for my parents, but I live in Scotland, I don't know if it is different in other parts of the country

In my experience social services will try to do the least they can get away with. Don't let them, insist you need help


Registered User
Feb 11, 2007
North Yorkshire
Phewww... thanks for all that, I'll try to go over a few points.
I tried the fact sheets and though there is a lot of useful stuff there I am the sort of person who needs more specific info, what do you say to someone when they get you out of bed at 3.00 AM to go shopping and they refuse to believe that it is the middle of the night, I get lost for words by a lot of things like that, this is how I found out about this site, I asked the CPN for advice and just got told to look at the fact sheets here.
I will have to check-out the other organisations etc., mentioned.
I have a sister but she does not really want to know, my cousins would help but they live too far away, my mother always seemed to have a large circle of friends but this has now shrunk to two, neither of which are in a position to give much practical help and my partner and I have gone our separate ways over this.
My mother refuses to eat most types of ready prepared meals and she does not even seem to like a lot of the stuff she used to eat regularly plus my cooking skills are very limited, the xmas dinner was a real disaster, I couldn't believe a turkey could get that tough and I only gave it another half hour just-to-be-on-the-safe-side.
I have tried taking her to day-care but she will not stay and she is very insecure, she does not like to be left alone for too long and does not like strangers coming, though the imaginary people in the house do not seem to bother her.
It took several months of pestering to get an assessment from SS, I usually get passed to some other person/department and just end up with another leaflet coming through the post, the person that did the assessment was not from the local office and came quite a long way which I think may have been due to the intervention of one of the district nurses I spoke to, but they just ended up giving me phone numbers for some private agencies as they say she would have to pay for care herself due to the value of her house etc., my mother also has some mobility problems and SS have been promising to supply some hand rails etc. for ages but nothing ever arrives.
She can manage her own personal care but she does not seem to bother about it much and gets very annoyed if I go on about it, also she puts very few clothes out for washing and I am not sure how to approach these (and many other) problems.


Registered User
Aug 9, 2005
Just a few suggestions regarding meals - please feel free to disregard if they don't suit you, your Mum or your situation. Often what works well for one family won't work for another. Years ago I discovered that Dad was living on McDonald's for the time Mum was in hospital because he "didn't like pasta" (I'd made a few pasta meals to help out) and "Wouldn't eat that rubbish!" (I'd put in a stock of instant meals for him to just heat and eat). I might add I had asked first what he would like and he'd said "Oh, I'll eat anything!". He didn't have dementia - just old and set in his ways!

Anything you can find in your Mum's cookbooks that you remember her cooking - her age group usually had a selection of meals (either cut out of magazines or in an exercise book). She may not have used these recipes for years (because she knew them off by heart) but you might find them if you look.

Simple "nursery" food - stewed fruit (tinned) and custard (bought); porridge; jelly; soup (tinned); mashed potato; grilled chop or sausage (if she can still chew well); steamed vegetables; simple salads (tomato, lettuce, cheese, etc).

Anything made with mince! You can chop up heaps of vegies very small and add them to mince for a healthy and tasty meal. Buy first quality mince if you can afford it (fat levels are lower). Add chopped vegetables - onion or shallots, tomato, celery, zucchini, carrot (grated is best), egg plant, capsicum, finely cut cabbage, cauliflower or broccoli, mushrooms, etc. etc. etc! You can also add tinned food (tomatoes, mushrooms, etc.) or frozen (eg. peas, beans). I usually add a generous helping of pasta sauce (bottled) to give extra flavour, but this depends on taste.

You can serve the mince alone, on toast, with pasta, rice, mashed potato -etc!

If your Mum needs calories, try milk drinks (Milo, Ovaltine, etc.) and / or "smoothies". I put a banana, a spoon full of yoghurt and a cup of milk into the blender and make up a thick and delicious drink that way. You can vary the fruit and add honey if extra sweetness required.

Tinned fruit (preferably canned in its own juice rather than in syrup) with icecream, if she can manage the cold of ice cream.

Try baking in the Weight Watchers way: a chicken is a good start - place the (defrosted) chicken on a small wire cooling tray in a baking dish. Add water to just below the chicken. Cook in a moderate oven (180 degrees C ) for about 1 and 1/2 hours (or more, depending on size of chook!). On a separate shelf in the oven you can bake some potatoes, carrots, sweet potato and pumpkin - just prepare and wrap in foil. This is a "low fat" way of cooking bt easy and healthy and tasty. I don't peel the carrots or potatoes - just give a good scrub. Pumpkin and sweet potato need peeling though!!

You can bake all sorts of meat in the above way. Also don't overlook grilling, or "dry" frying using a non-stick pan and perhaps a little cooking spray.

I realise you may well be doing many of the above (if not all)!! (I apologise if I've been preaching to the converted!!)

My main advice is to find a few things that are successful for your Mum and repeat them often! Don't feel you need to be a "gourmet cook". Even if your Mum won't eat pre-prepared food, she might like packaged desserts (yoghurts, sweet creamy puddings, etc.) and don't forget the cake shop!! The occasional meat pie or apple pie are cheap and make life easier when you are rushed!

Good Luck!! Nell


Registered User
Feb 11, 2007
North Yorkshire
OK, thanks, I've certainly had the "Oh, I'll eat anything!" quite a lot but then I get "I'm not eating that" when it is in front of her.
I thought I knew what she used to eat fairly well but she won't touch a lot of it now.
I had a go at 'cottage pie' one night, don't know if I was doing something wrong but the mince smelled awful when I started cooking it so I 'binned' that and haven't tried it again.

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Dear Eustace,

If you`re really in despair about cooking, why don`t you try ready meals for the short term.

The better supermarkets and M&S do some good quality meals, including Cottage Pie. I know they are a bit pricey, but sometimes needs must, and it seems to be one of your biggest problems.

Nell, you did him proud.

Love Sylvia x


Registered User
Apr 26, 2006
Welcome to the club Eustace.

I have kitchen nightmares just like you. When I started cooking for myself and wife the results were horrendous but I am determined to get to grips with it. I am very fortunate to have a dog that clears up the messes that I have made.

According to the cookbook I have (circa 1950) "presentation is 90% of the meal". I take no notice of this at all and try to keep it simple, basic, without embellishments and adding drops of this or lumps of that.


Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
Sometimes tough love works. What happens if you tell her kindly but firmly that she can't have her own way all the time?


Registered User
Jul 25, 2006
Romford Essex
I agree with Lila13 about tought love, it feels awful when doing it, but it does work sometimes, my recent experience of mum not wanting to use the shower (its a wet room) meant that I had to get really upset and stroppy, lead her into it and help her, then 2 days later there she is managing perfectly well. Her concern was that the water would flood the rest of the flat (new sheltered care flat), even though I stood in there running the water on several occasions and she could see it was going down the hole.... lets hope it lasts or next time I may have to stand there naked in the shower (perhaps a cossie would be acceptable) with her checking that the water is running away.....


Registered User
Feb 11, 2007
North Yorkshire
I'm afraid she wont touch ready prepared stuff, she says you do not know what is in them and she wanders around wanting to see what is going on so it is not possible to give them to her without her knowing where they came from.
The 'tough love' type thing can cause problems, after one disagreement she was acting very strangely for days and the CPN got a psychiatrist to see her , he said it was possibly that which had "triggered a psychotic event" which she is now on tablets for but I try to avoid confrontations 'just in case'