The daughter of British former prime minister Margaret Thatcher tells how her mother's dementia has left her struggling to remember the simplest facts.
Carol Thatcher wrote that, on her worst days, her mother struggles to finish sentences; sometimes, though, she still shows occasional glimpses of her old self, particularly when talking about her time in Downing Street.
"I had always thought of her as ageless, timeless and 100% cast-iron damage-proof," Carol Thatcher wrote in her memoir, "A Swim-On Part In The Goldfish Bowl", which was serialised in the Mail on Sunday newspaper.
"Whereas previously you never had to say anything to her twice because she'd already filed it away in her formidable memory bank, Mum started asking the same questions over and over again, unaware she was doing so."
Repeat the bad news
She also wrote of how her mother keeps forgetting that husband, Denis, died in 2003.
"I had to keep giving her the bad news over and over again," she wrote.
"Every time it finally sank in that she had lost her husband of more than 50 years, she'd look at me sadly and say 'Oh' as I struggled to compose myself. "'Were we all there?' she'd ask softly."
Carol Thatcher also recalled how when a friend asked her mother about Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, "she snapped back into Iron Lady mode and was utterly engaging".
Thatcher, nicknamed the Iron Lady, was Britain's first and so far only female premier and was in office as head of a Conservative government between 1979 and 1990.
Now aged 83, she gave up speaking in public in 2002 on the advice of her doctors after a series of small strokes. – (Sapa-AFP)
Description of dementia