Mum is in a nursing home and her dementia has swept away her physical health at an alarming rate. A doctor from her group practice who I had never met before came Monday to see her while I was there and it was a really worthwhile visit for me as I like straight answers as it helps me to cope. While I was away for 8 days she had almost stopped eating and is incredibly slow to drink sips. She has rallied a bit (thank you M&S milkshakes!) but I was asking the big questions. Mum's hearing isn't great but I did say to the doctor "perhaps we shouldn't be having this conversation here" but he and the nurse thought Mum was unable to follow what we were saying as we had stepped away from the bed and were talking quietly. She was subdued yesterday when I visited but I thought she was just tired so sat quietly by her bed after a few attempts at chatting to her. She suddenly turned her head to me and said "I don't want to die yet". I covered my shock and guilt by offering her the drink and explaining that she needs to eat and drink to get well as she has been very poorly. I genuinely thought she had just given up the fight and was too tired to keep on living. I will never know whether she heard and understood part of my conversation with the doctor, or she may have heard staff saying something yesterday during her personal care when they have assumed she isn't hearing/understanding. I will certainly be following the factsheet advice in future - never assume that your loved one can't hear and understand what is being said about them.