I have just returned from our holiday cruise and have read the thread about the Q&A loneliness topic last week which I was notified about. I couldn’t join in that but do have some thoughts to share. To be lonely is a very individual experience and I had an example during our holiday. Sensible conversation has more or less gone, and one day at lunch a gentleman whom we had already met came to sit at the group table. A very interesting conversation began and I was overwhelmed by a feeling of great sadness and loneliness in the midst of the group because my dear husband could no longer even begin to understand the ebb and flow of the discussion and I realised that I was ‘alone’ when with him now. He couldn’t remember meeting this man either. The constant repetition, reassurance and careful watching that he requires now is full time except when he is resting or asleep. I don’t feel ‘lonely’ but I am alone coping with his increasing dementia because nobody else can at the moment. It was a wonderful cruise, perfect weather, calm waters and a beautiful ship with plenty to do. It cruelly exposed my husband’s limitations, his inappropriate comments, inability to judge correct social behaviour and the complete collapse of his short term memory. Fortunately I took a lot of photos and he loves looking at them over and over again and it does remind him of the trip. We celebrated his 80th birthday and he has completely forgotten about it and even how old he is at times. I felt that I was ‘on duty’ all the time with an afternoon break when he went to bed. Was it worth it? At times I thought never again but at other times I thought yes I can do this. He absolutely loves the cruising, watching the sea, ate very well and I got him to be far more active than usual, by just telling him he was doing it. My final thought was that I was glad to get him safely home without any mishaps, but had a close call on one shore excursion when he simply couldn’t physically go on. The worst thing is trying to cover for him even while explaining that he has memory problems. Dementia is still the unspoken disease out there in the wider world even though everyone is aware of it.