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Elderly relative - what can I do?

(5 Posts)
kaitlinktm Thu 13-Apr-17 18:40:15

OK, not a parent, but my mother and I are his closest relatives. He has no children or partner. He is 87 and lives about 2 hours drive away (he doesn't drive and neither can my mother now). He lives alone and seems to manage shopping and makes himself food etc, We got a call from neighbours expressing concern about him.

Trouble is, he puts us off visiting him - just says that he's fine and no need to drive all that way, we can talk on the phone (not that he ever phones us - but I think that's his memory). He used to come to us for Christmas and his birthday (in the summer) but he hasn't wanted to do this for some years, which I do understand.

We went to see him without prior arrangement (because we knew he would put us off) and his house was a mess - thick with dust, papers (not newspapers) in piles all around the edges of the room, Christmas cards still up (March) cobwebs, toilet dirty. There were even papers on his kitchen worktops. The kitchen floor was dirty but the cooker looked ok. He had been shopping and was walking back with 2 heavy bags, but he wouldn't let us help him or give him a lift.

The main worry though is his memory. He forgets things you have just told him. I rang to arrange to visit him again but when I rang the night before to ask if we should meet him at his house or the restaurant (we were taking him for lunch) he got very agitated, remembered nothing about us arranging to visit him and really didn't want us to go. He asked if we could postpone our visit, which I reluctantly agreed to because he was getting so stressed, but now we aren't going until the end of May.

He has forgotten things for a while - forgot another close family member was seriously ill in hospital, we kept having to explain it again, forgot that Mum has eye problems and can't drive now, forgets my age and what I'm doing. I got him to write stuff on his calendar, but whatever he wrote didn't help him to remember.

Mum has phoned his GP surgery. She found out which practice it was and he told her that he is on no medication and says he hasn't been to the doctor for years. Of course, the GP couldn't give any medical details but said he would call in on a certain day. However, we don't know if he did this or what happened. If he did, my relative hasn't mentioned it and I don't think he has any recollection.

He doesn't forget where he lives, and he recognises us OK, but this short-term memory loss and surrounding himself with papers is really worrying.

What can I do? Can I ring social services? How much can his doctor tell us if anything? He will be very cross if he finds out we have done stuff like this behind his back, but we are worried.

Any ideas anyone please?

helpfulperson Thu 13-Apr-17 19:42:01

You can contact Adult Services in his local area and they should do an assessment of his needs. The difficulty might be getting him to accept help but they are experienced in that!

kaitlinktm Thu 13-Apr-17 20:20:04

Thank you HelpfulPerson (what an apt name).

Don't they need some sort of referral from GP or similar though? Also my Mum is anxious that he will be told who reported it and then will be annoyed with her (us) and maybe even refuse to see us - and then where would we be?

Still, I think it probably is the best idea - I will google for a number to ring next week.

Would be grateful for any further ideas too - or to hear what has happened to others in similar circumstances.

NecklessMumster Thu 13-Apr-17 20:25:34

No, anyone can refer to ss. I'm an adult care sw. You can tell them about your concerns he will be cross you've referred

kaitlinktm Fri 14-Apr-17 09:33:18

Thanks Neckless - I don't want to tell Mum I have put this on a forum, so will pretend it's my own idea. Will do it after the weekend.

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