Ask Sam letter


To Sam

My mum and dad and alzheimers

i've never done this before but i couldn't find any other way to basically let my feelings out.
I live with my mum and dad and we're happy, well were, I am really looked after well and love to the highest standard. they love me like any other parent would. but there is a problem
my mum was diagnosed with alzheimers disease (dementia) probably about a year or two ago. the doctors said she was young to get it as she was only just in the middle of her fifties. i hate how the disease has gotten worse over time and it's very noticable, i am only fourteen and it is ripping my family appart!
my dad had to change his work hours so that he didn't leave my mum on his own, he is now the only one working in the house. me and my dad get up ruffly round about the same time when i have school and he has work, my dad is always stressed in the morning. this is because my mum finds it hard to dress herself in the morning and even put on her own shoes, this stresses my dad out and he always shouts and swears. my mum goes to a day care centre so she isnt alone when no one is in the house, she goes there five times a week. i sometimes hate coming home from school because i never have peace, there is always my dad shouting and my mum asking me things i dont understand and getting mad at me! it's horrible and i hate it! i never get any sleep and neither does my dad so we are usually angry or stressed out, im not exactly the most liked person at school and people tend to tease me. i have only told my really good friends about my situation, because i am affraid if i tell someone who hates me they will tease me! i get so stressed out and ive had a little break down once. since im studying for my GCSE's in school i need full concertration but i can't when i have to much things on my mind. when people tease me i sometimes think to myself try and walk in my shoes you wouldn't last a minute. i hate my home and i hate living there, i don't know who my mum is anymore and that makes me really upset! my dad sometimes sends my mum to over night care for maybe a week, so me and him can do stuff together and he can relax and sleep i love it! i love it when it's just the two of us and no-one else, i hate it when mum comes home again. my dad says maybe in a year or so she will have to go into full time care and im happy about that because at least i will get my dad back. i loved christmas this year because my mum sort of knew what was going on and i got lots of presents :) last year was terrible because my mum started crying and saying she didnt know what was going on and she hated it.
the reason i am writing this is because a few moments ago my dad had a arguement with my mum because she kept getting up and wondering about, now he is on the sofa. i had tried to block out the noise by covering my ears but i couldn't and i started to cry but no-one heard which was good! i wish everything was fine again, but i know she will never get better. i need help, i have tried councillours at school but it never helped. i feel like i am the only one in this situation but i could be wrong. again i am very loved and things it's just im not living in the house i want to be in or was in! i am only fourteen! that is not the age to watch your mum slowly drift away! i dont like living anymore! i want my friends to stop over but with my dad shouting it would be really embarressing and maybe scary to them. i hate it. i just hate living.
Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thanks for writing to me and sharing your experiences and feelings. It’s really good to hear how loved and looked after you feel by your parents.

I can really hear that mum’s Alzheimers makes it feel like you’re losing her although she’s still with you. It’s really good to hear that she was aware of what was going on this Christmas and that you were able to have a good time together. From your email, I can see that things aren’t always so good and that mum can become very confused and upset at times which can incredibly difficult for everyone involved. 

You’ve done a really good job of describing the ways that mum’s condition affects your family. You mentioned how angry and frustrated Dad gets and what it’s like for you to see and hear that. I can see that a lot of things have changed for you over the last in the last year or two: dad is more angry, it feels like mum is fading away, home is very different and you don’t feel like you’re able to have friends come over because of how they’d feel or the possibility of them making fun of you because of how things are. That’s a lot of difficult things and changes to have to deal with and they can be hard to accept and understand.

You’ve said that you sometimes hate coming home from school because there’s no peace, it can be frustrating when peace is hard to find at home.  It sounds like you feel like you’re the only person in your situation and that you feel very alone at times; it is normal to feel this way and important for people in this situation to know that they are not alone.  Young Carers’ groups are organizations that exist to support young people who look after or help to look after a family member who has an illness or disability. The reason they exist is because they recognise how difficult it is to care for someone and know that it can affect young people in lots of ways. If you go to the Young Carer's website, you could check to see what support is available in your area.

The time that you get to spend with Dad when mum goes for over-night care sounds really important to both of you as you get some quality time together and perhaps some rest too. You’ve mentioned wanting to have friends over. Do you think this is something that you could do when Mum is away?

In your email you said that it feels like you don’t know Mum anymore and it sounds like she has good days and bad days. How would it be to keep a scrap book that you could work on with mum on the good days? It could be a way of recording the happy times or important things you do together (like this Christmas) and could include things like photos, quotes, your memories etc. It might be that having a scrap book filled with positive memories of mum, could help you to hold onto the good times you have with her when things are more difficult.

You’ve spoken about how the situation at home has affected your concentration at school and the pressure that you’re under with your GCSEs.  Some young people find it helpful to talk to a trusted adult, like a teacher, at times like this. It might be that they’re able to offer you some extra support. It would also be OK for you to tell them that you are teased at school. Teasing is bullying behaviour and it’s not OK for anyone to bully you. Your school has a duty to protect you from any bullying that happens there. You have a right to feel safe at school.

You’ve spoken about such a lot of things in your email and it might be helpful to begin  talking things through with a ChildLine Counsellor about your feelings You’ve mentioned that writing to me felt like a good way to let your feelings out and I’m really glad you’ve been able to do that. You can do the same with a counsellor at ChildLine any time you want to, either on the phone or on a 1-2-1 chat.  They really want to be there to support you. Also, the message boards on the website could be a good place to talk to other young people in similar situations who are also carers.

Take care and thank you for writing to me.


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