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Advice on what and what not to remind mil about?


Registered User
Nov 2, 2014
Hi there.

My mil has recently been confirmed has having vascular dementia. I correspond with her by email on a daily basis. I have had several emails in the last week about things she has clearly forgotten about with regards to me and the kids.

How do I decide what I tell her or do I just answer her questions, which is what I have been doing so far?



Volunteer Moderator
Jul 14, 2006
Hello and welcome to TP.

Gentle reminders would be good but not mentioning the words 'do you remember'. So if you are talking about her grandson doing something put it in your email as your grandson John passed his exam today or your granddaughter Marie has a cold.

Answer her questions and again gentle reminders such as what a busy week you have and then list the things that make it a busy week. No one with dementia wants to be constantly told 'don't forget'.

Keep using the emailing for as long as you can, it is a great way to communicate because you are giving her written information that she can look at again but sadly there will come a time when how to access her emails will not be easy for her.

Take care and I am sure there will be lots more suggestions to help you help your MIL. Look forward to you joining us on the forum,



Registered User
Nov 13, 2014
I find it easier to only tell my mum what she needs to know although I do miss having general day-to-day conversation and joking with her. She takes everything literally now. I find it difficult though because if I want to tell my partner anything I have to wait until we are alone and then I forget!!


Registered User
Nov 2, 2014
Thank you very much, this is reassuring in many ways as I have been doing what you say and just checked my emails and see that I don't say "Don't forget". My mil does also take you literally on what you say, and I do have a son called John lol.

It is more historic things that are being asked about like have I met someone who was actually at my wedding or forgetting things that are a big part of us, like my hearing impairment for example or activities my boys have been doing for years. We haven't seen my mil since last Feb and seeing her at half term so I can see it's not easy for her, why would she remember certain things.

Someone had said to me, if she has forgotten it, does she need to know it whilst another friend said I could end up wearing myself out filling in the blanks...


Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
South coast
I dont think you would ever be able to fill in the blanks - and she would forget as fast as you did :(

Id keep on doing what you are doing now and just answer her questions.
I would endorse the idea of describing who/what people are.

I try always to do it when seeing Dad. I never go in his room without saying "hello Dad". Never just "hello".

So when I refer to people, I always attach a status/role.

I also love that wonderful technique politicians have of answering whatever question they're asked with whatever they were going to say anyway: a journalist asks "Will your party increase tax on beer?" and the politician replies "I'm glad you asked me that. Tax is very important to voters and we plan to ensure that decent, hardworking taxpayers are better off under our government."

It might as well be "Will your party increase tax on beer?" "I'm glad you asked me that. We plan to triple the amount of rhubarb grown in the UK by 2017."

However, what works with the usual politican answer is that they pick up on just one word and use it to link into their prepared spiel.

So I'm trying to feel my way round this. Let's say you can't hear much at all and you're asked:-

"Do you still go to concerts?" [you never did]

Option 1:-

"I don't go to so many concerts these days because my hearing's not so good." [no mention of the fact your hearing was never good]

"I wonder whether when we next meet we could talk about maybe going to [insert visual activity such as museum/park] together?"

Option 2:-

"Concerts can be really enjoyable, can't they? The other thing I've been enjoying this week is painting."

I work hard at the "I'm glad you asked me that" approach but I'm not always quick enough off the mark with live conversations and I don't exchange emails with Dad.


Registered User
Nov 2, 2014
Thank you both. I like the attention to detail and will certainly both keep answering questions and be careful with my answers.

Reading these posts has been very reassuring.