I hate those conversations. I phoned Dad in the home where he now lives. I woke him (his nap times are so erratic I can't be sure of avoiding them) and he was disorientated and distressed because he was. I explained where he was ("in your apartment in the retirment home in Such-and-such Road") and tried to reassure him that it's something that does often happen to him these days and that I think it's because he sleeps very deeply after lunch so doesn't wake fully. (Better that than "It's because you've got dementia, Dad." It's also fairly true.) He wanted to know where everybody was and one minute he understood where he was and another he didn't. But the heartbreaking thing was several repetitions at intervals of "Do you know where she is?" and "Give me a ring if she gets in touch." "She" probably refers to Mum who died many years ago. I usually manage to deflect the question without answering it, using phrases like "Everything's fine. It's nearly teatime. Have you got a cup of tea there?" (He will always have some tea left in his cup and it's a useful reminder that he hasn't been abandoned because there's no kettle in sight so he can see that he didn't make the tea himself.) I used to use a phrase someone recommended - "she's not with us". It worked for a long time both as a euphemism for "she's dead" and as an implied "she's gone out for a while", so according to what he did or didn't remember, it worked. I stopped using that after one day he asked what I meant then simply collapsed. (I only just managed to catch him.) It's now reached the tipping point where telling him that she's dead, to induce fresh grief at finding out "for the first time" that he has been bereaved would cause too much pain, but where I can't yet feel safe to him explicitly lying that she's still alive in case he suddenly remembers and loses his trust in me, because trust is essential when you're relying on someone else to re-orientate and reassure you. But that question "where is she?" will, I think, haunt me for the rest of my life. To be widowed is dreadful, to forget and wonder why your wife isn't around when you need her, why she isn't looking after you, is a terribly cruel aspect of dementia. At least when he thinks I'm Mum, that's bearable.