• We're currently experiencing technical issues with our newsletter software, so our Dementia Talking Point monthly updates have been put on hold for now. We hope to restart the newsletter soon.

    Find out more >here<.

Other people's children.

Rageddy Anne

Registered User
Feb 21, 2013
My husband has been gradually losing the ability to judge how his behaviour can affect strangers who are unaware of his illness. Most people are a bit surprised but many are wonderfully kind.

Lately he's started to relate to babies and toddlers, I think his mental age reflects theirs in some respects. In cafes he will often make faces at nearby babies and wave, which might be rather sweet to begin with, but then he won't stop, and I'm afraid some parents won't understand and will get cross. Sometimes he will approach a small child, maybe throw back a ball or something like that, but I worry that the parent or parents could misinterpret his interest.

I know we have the option of finishing our coffee and leaving, but sometimes we are with friends and an abrupt departure would look odd.

Does anyone else have this problem, and does anyone have any suggestions about how to deal with it?

Wendy C

Registered User
Jan 29, 2012
West Midlands
My Mom was the same. When we could we used to take her shopping and she always headed to children. It got embarrassing as parents were not particularly understanding. Obviously they did not know her condition. Unfortunately Mom is now very far advanced so we don't have that problem any more. xx

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Both my husband and my mother were the same.

My husband never bothered with other people`s children pre dementia but with dementia talked to any child he set eyes on. It was quite embarrassing because today`s children are not encouraged to be too friendly with strangers.


Volunteer Moderator
Aug 31, 2003
Oh Anne that brought back so many memories. Bill was very much like that. I used to hold his hand tight going through shopping malls etc in case he wandered off and started talking to a child. Nobody ever complained but my heart was always in my mouth.

I'm sorry I have no solutions for you. With Bill it just went as the disease progressed. He still waves at child in a pushchair or will watch wee ones playing but it's now obvious that Bill has his own problems. Parents now often get their wee ones to wave back to him or say hello.


Registered User
Feb 19, 2010
The Sweet North
I can echo what others have said.
It seems to me that at a certain stage, the inhibition of not responding to children for fear of it being taken the wrong way is lost. It is so sad that we feel the need for this inhibition, but that's how it is.
To see a child respond with beaming smile to my husband's equally beaming smile is always a pleasure, and most parents are OK with that, but I made sure he did not attempt to touch the child, out of consideration for the parents.
But children, babies especially are appealing. They appeal to us all, and it is the most natural thing in the world to respond to that (I think David Attenborough once alluded to it, as a way to bring out our nurturing, protective nature -- almost all baby mammals are cute, and look helpless) and I feel that people with dementia respond in this wholly natural way, as would we all if we weren't now so afraid of being seen as someone to be feared.
I am not saying parents are over protective though. I would have the same wariness now, if I had young children.
Last edited:

Rageddy Anne

Registered User
Feb 21, 2013
Thankyou for your replies...it seems being drawn towards babies and very young children isnt unusual then, but sad that nowadays parents might feel they should be wary....


Registered User
Nov 28, 2005
Would handing out a small card to a parent, saying something like 'my husband is ..... and he is suffering from dementia. He is a kind man and does not intend any harm (or whatever wording suits you)?

There will always be some who will run a mile but as you say most folk are very kind indeed. I know my daughter and family would more than understand, but then they have experienced their father going through dementia!

Just a thought!


Registered User
Aug 8, 2012
My mum used to do this too. She loved children pre-dementia but obviously had no social boundaries with dementia. I used to smile at the parent, just to try and give them an indication of what the situation was, to try and make them understand there is no threat to their child.

The only other solution was trying to distract her.

It upset me greatly when people used to look at her like she was odd when really she just wanted to show her affection.

Forum statistics

Latest member