I’m new to the forum. My mum is 83 and has Alzheimer’s and she lives with my 93 year old stepfather (who I’m sure has some form of dementia). It’s a long story but the relationship between us has completely broken down due to my stepfather’s unreasonable and controlling behaviour. He has fallen out with 3 out of his 4 children.

I have sent an Easter card, a note and quite recently a gift saying I was thinking of them but have heard nothing.

I feel perhaps I ought to ring them but don’t know if I could stand the rejection if they won’t speak to me as I’m in a fragile state of mind.

I would be grateful for any advice.


I know that you might not like to read this but I think that you have done all that you can. Is there anyone else who can help or not?

Hi Angela,
welcome to the forum.

It sounds like a tricky situation.

Just some suggestions;

Are you in contact with the your Stepfather’s children - the one he is still talking to might be able to let you know how they are.

If you are worried, then you could contact social services safeguarding team to alert them to the situation or contact the police as controlling behaviour comes under the banner of domestic abuse.

Is there a time when your step father has a nap? That might be a good time to ring your Mum if you want to speak to her and don’t want to face a confrontation with your stepfather.

If it wasn’t lockdown, would you still be in touch with them? If so, how?

You could refer them to the local Covid-19 mutual aid group https://covidmutualaid.org S and I deliver food parcels to people who are referred by someone else (as well as those who self refer.)



To be honest I think that’s what I do want to read. My sister talks to them twice a week and my stepfather speaks to her, whereas before all this he never would.

Social services are involved and they keep a check on them

Hello Melly

I was in contact with my stepfather’s son but he’s now fallen out with his father when we all tried to help to get my mum into a home. The one he speaks to lives in Scotland and apparently he speaks to her twice a year

My sister has been ringing them and he speaks to her, whereas he wouldn’t before all this.

Social services are involved as there was a safeguarding issue but was never fully sorted out but they contact my mum and stepfather once a fortnight.

I’m not sure if I would still be in touch with them but it would be easier to go over there to see them than it is now.

He is a very independent, quite controlling man. Thank you for the link but as far as I know they are getting some meals and he goes to the shops even though he’s 93!

Hello, Angela. I am inclined to agree with Thara; it sounds as though you have done all you can. However I can understand why you are unhappy with this situation and perhaps feel helpless.

You say your stepfather is controlling. Is he controlling to your mum, or anyone in particular, or to everyone? I am looking to see if someone can mediate.

Do you wish to have closer contact with your mum, without stepfather getting in the way? If you know when your stepfather goes to the shops you could phone mum at those times.

You have your own life to live and maybe you would be better to get on with your life and not divert too much energy to people who reject you. I know it is hard when a member of a family cuts off - I have experienced it - but its is best not to take such rejections personally. Just try to make occasional contact, via other relatives if necessary, and keep in touch with any developments in the situation.

Have you considered whether mum would be better off in a care home? If not right now, the time could come before long.

Hopefully when this lockdown is over and people can be more mobile, possible solutions will emerge.

Whatever you do, do not consider any arrangement whereby you would live them. Many contributors to this Forum have done that and regretted it. Easier in than out!

Hi Denis

Thank you for your advice. Everybody has been so helpful.

My stepfather likes to be in control of everything. He asks for help and when you do he doesn’t want it. He said he couldn’t cope which is when we tried to get mum into a care home. He got funny about it and said he was fed up with the family interfering and wanted to be left alone and he would sort it out himself. This is when he fell out with his son and I stopped speaking to them.

I think you are right, that I need to concentrate on my own family and try not to take the rejection personally. I had shingles earlier this year which, I am sure, was down to my stepfather and the way he was with me so I don’t want a repeat of that.

Thank you all for your replies again.


I am not happy about no one being in touch with mum, he has managed to totally isolate her from everyone, and that is setting my alarm bells ringing. It’s a very difficult situation, and if anything horrible should happen, you don’t want to end up blaming yourself for not having done more.

Is the doctor’s surgery doing anything to keep an eye on mum?


My sister speaks to them twice a week. My stepfather wouldn’t speak to her before but does now.

Social services speak to them once a fortnight and they are in touch with their cleaner. The doctor was involved before lockdown but I’m not sure now. [

Hi Angela
You don’t say how far away you are from them geographically?
Or what their living arrangements are, do they live in their own home that they have been in for a number of years, since they were more able?
My experience of social services in the London Borough where my mother lives and my late aunt also lived before she had to go in a home was that they were spectacularly useless, beyond useless

We found that unless you have power of attorney, including medical, the GP would not talk to us about our aunt, even when she was spiralling out of control. My mother was her registered next of kin but that apparently made no difference…

We had power of attorney but not medical.

What you have to realise is you are not alone. Stay with it



A very difficult situation and you do have to think of your own mental health. Personally, I would write to Social Services and your mum’s GP expressing your concerns (same letter). Her GP may well refuse to deal with you but they would read a letter. I had to do this myself to get my mum’s GP to take my concerns seriously. It may not have any result but as they are clearly known to Social Services, it may keep your mum’s case on their radar screen.

Really I think that is all you can do. It is good that your sister is at least in contact but a very sad situation for all concerned.

I wish you luck,

Hi Vince

I live about 13 miles away from them. Yes, they’ve been in their own home for some time. Social services haven’t been great to be honest.

I have got power of attorney jointly with my stepfather but because my mum has some capacity still there was nothing I could do to get her in a home. I have also got permission to speak to mum’s doctor but because my stepfather wants to be in control and my mum sides with him I’m helpless.

Thank you for your help.


Hi Anne

I’ve had to tread very carefully because of my stepfather. They have told social services that they don’t want the interference from the family and want to be left alone to do things their way (or really my stepfather’s way).

I think it may be a good idea to write to mum’s doctor.

Thank you for your advice