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Answers on a post-card.......

Yorkshire Girl

Registered User
Jul 16, 2014
What on earth do you say when your 85-year old mum with mild dementia (and who knows about her diagnosis) asks "I'm not really going daft am I?"

Bless her, mum's asked this a couple of times now and it's caught me by surprise. I don't want to lie, but I don't want to scare her. Any ideas?


Registered User
Aug 29, 2011
I would say "No you're not...but if you do, we'll go daft together"...in a jokey way but truth in there.


Registered User
Nov 13, 2014
Hi Yorkshire girl
Your post really resonates with me. My mum is 86 with mild dementia, and she says things like "I think I'm going mad" and "if only I had a memory" and "it seems like a foreign country". She also says there is nothing wrong with her and refuses to see a doctor or take any medication. I just have to reassure her as best I can. Now she has a huge malignant lump on her breast, but there is still "nothing wrong" and she refuses treatment. I reckon it's her body and not up to me to force her to be treated against her will, but it's not easy to go along with the pretence.


Registered User
Jan 30, 2009
I used to say to my mum "well you can still......do the crossword, do the shopping.....have a good conversation" or whatever fitted the bill at the time and try to point out the stuff she was still ok at. I think it helped but I couldn't take away her underlying fear, which if you think about it is quite justified.


Registered User
Jun 6, 2011
I used to talk about Mum having "some memory problems" in her early days of dementia. She seemed OK with that. I also said it to other people, in front of her, so they would know.

Old folk really don't like the word 'dementia' because it's so close to 'demented'. A lot of dementia isn't like 'demented' at all, though it can go that way towards the end, and for some people earlier than that.

In her younger days, Mum said "if I go doolally when I'm old, put me in a home". It's almost a delightful word.

As it happened, the sequence was at-home, hospital and then heaven.

Rageddy Anne

Registered User
Feb 21, 2013
I agree with Owly. I rarely mention Dementia in conversations that my husband hears. Memory related problems or difficulties seems more acceptable.


Registered User
May 20, 2014
my mum says this sometimes, or she will say" if I forgot that I would be going mad".. how can you confirm that?? I generally make light too, and say much the same..we will both go daft together. that is part of the saddest parts of it, mum hasn't a clue how bad she is-but has enough insight to sometimes query something that she has done, or has forgotten. she too says as long as she can get her dinner and a cuppa etc all is OK, I tell her I am remembering all the boring practical stuff that needs doing so not to worry - often she does say remind me if anything needs doing or its someone's birthday as her memory is bad.
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Yorkshire Girl

Registered User
Jul 16, 2014
Thank you lovely people for all your suggestions. I definitely like the idea of telling her all the things she does manage ok (such as the 200 mile journey she did on the train to come and visit us this weekend :)) And I think she would like the thought of us going daft together.

Bless her, I have heard her telling people (usually shop-assistants, chemists etc) that she has "this problem between my ears" which makes me smile.

She has insight and is very good at taking all her medications and quite happily goes along to the local Dementia Cafe (though we never call it that). But we have never discussed the full implications of this wretched disease. I'm not sure if she realises: and if she doesn't then I am happy to keep it that way.

Thank you all again, this forum is such a wonderful place.