My mother seems to have early signs of dementia. What should I do?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 12, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My mother has been living alone for twenty years since my father died. In recent years, her hoarding has become worse (it is now impossible to sit in her apartment) while she keeps saying she is going to take care of it. I wish I could clean her apartment for her, but she is strongly opposed to it. More recently, her phone has been cut off because she was unable to use her phone and refused to pay her bill (to her it is the company's fault). She has also lost a number of credit cards, and apparently her bank has refused to issue her a new one. She refuses to let me make inquiries, she hates the idea of losing control. She seems aware that things are not quite right in her mind, and she is terrified about it so she lashes out at me whenever I visit. I have no idea what to do. I do not want to upset her and make her condition worse. Thank you for your help.

Expert Answers

Hello Anonymous, Thank you for submitting this common caregiving question. I'm sorry to hear about your mom's health. Here are a few resources from that may be helpful as you plan your caregiving trajectory:

  • Steps & Stages is a free, customizable resource for dementia caregivers with tips about how to care for you mom in ever step of the way: This is not meant to replace the advice of your mother's doctor, but a guide for caregiving throughout the stages of dementia.

  • Our online support groups may also be a great place to speak to other caregivers who are caring for a parent or loved one with dementia:

You may also consider looking at what care options you have near you. Our Family Advisors are here to talk to you about your mom's situation and any care communities that may be right for your mom down the line. You speak to a Family Advisor here: (866) 824-8174 or you can look for assisted living in your area online.

I hope this information is helpful to you. Feel free to get in touch with member of our Family Advisors when you're ready. We're here for you!