Newbie - Nan confused with bins

Hi everyone,

My name is Lauren and I’m 23 years old my grandmother is my favourite person in the world and I think she might possibly have the start of dementia, she’s been hallucinating a bit and forgetting her family. She has refused to see a doctor or even do a urine test to see if it could be a infection, I’ve notified the doctor and they are doing an annual review of her medication on the 20th so will hopefully find some more information. Anyway my biggest problem at the moment is bin day. My Nan hasn’t got a clue how to recycle anymore and has 3 bins in her kitchen all black bags, she is ringing me all the time fretting that the bin men are not taking her black bags, I’ve explained calmly that they will not take them if there is recyclable items in there but she Justin does not get it and the bin bags are piling up is here anything I can do? Ps (not much family are around to support myself and my Nan so it’s pretty much me here 24/7 apart from when i work 12 hour shifts)

Thanks again, Lauren xxx

Hi Lauren,

welcome to the forum.

Dementia isn’t my area of expertise, but how about labelling exactly what goes in each recycling bin. You could do this in writing or with photos. Be very specific e.g. if she eats yoghurt and drinks milk from plastic bottles - then label the plastic bin - yoghurt pots and milk bottles.

Make sure the GP knows to dip test her urine (write to him/accompany her.)

If she worsens, then contact the surgery and request the appointment is brought forward if at all possible,


Hi Lauren,
Good move-alerting her GP to the possible problem.
Re the bins. Colours/pictures/labelling might be a way forward with Gran’s rubbish problem. Can you stick pictures on the bins in the kitchen? Perhaps have one for paper, card and tins, with labels in big print as appropriate. Another for plastic, so that you can go through it and take out the ‘wrong’ plastic which she probably won’t understand (I struggle myself) and the third for waste food and wetter rubbish. Or even just a dry bin and a wet bin.
As for the bags that have accumulated you might just have to get the rubber gloves on and go through them. You could try a call to the council and explain the problem to see if they have a way of dealing with the situation. I know my own council will come into the garden and take the bins out if they have been informed that the occupier is old and frail. Otherwise, if they are not on the pavement they just get left. I don’t know about ‘unable to sort’.
Is her council particularly keen on checking bin contents? I notice my refuse collectors might peep inside the recycle bin for a quick check but the land fill bin just gets emptied into the cart. We take bottles to the tip ourselves.
Maybe you can get the GP to ask her for a ‘sample’ as part of her check up?

Join and try the above forum.

Your nan will not have much recyclable rubbish so just have a
single landfill bin. I’m sure the council would understand.
Eventually, with dementia, I’m afraid that photos or labelling would not help.

Thanks everyone for the advice I really appreciate it! The bins are the last of my worries at the moment as I’m just using black bags and forgetting about the recycling as it’s a lose lose situation, my Nan has been tested for a UTI infection and blood tests as they think it could be somthing to do with her B12 deficiency and she has injections for it and we find out the results on Thursday, it’s just such a cruel cruel disease and I hate it. Thanks all x

No one can really understand the real cruelty of it, unless they are the full time carer watching an intelligent brain slowly disintegrate month by month.
My wife had a degree in German. Nearing the end it was nigh gone.

Prior to that she used to say a few words in German and I believe it was
to demonstrate to herself that her memory of it was good.
Cruelty indeed.

That is so sad and I’m so sorry for you’re loss

I’ve always thought of sad times I’ve experienced but I’ve never quite felt this sad in all my life, I’m 23 and haven’t really experienced a lot in life yet but this is world shattering and I’m truly heartbroken.