Advanced psychotherapist and clinical hypnotherapist CLAIRE GASKIN sees clients in Essex and in London's Harley Street.

She is now bringing her expertise to the problems of our readers as our Agony Aunt. If you have a problem you'd like Claire's advice with, e-mail

For more details on Claire's work, visit


I’M worried about my friend’s husband. We’ve known each other for forty years and we care about them as if they were family.

It’s so upsetting to see how different he is every time we visit.

He used to be really outgoing and always had a funny story to tell but now he just sits there in his chair.

He makes excuses to stay indoors, and if we try to raise his spirits by bringing up happy memories from the past he doesn’t seem to know what we’re talking about.

He looks vague and confused a lot of the time.

I keep trying to talk to my friend about it but I just don’t know what to say.

I think she knows something is wrong because she doesn’t seem like her old self either but I don’t want to upset her, or for her to think I’m interfering.

Do you think he has dementia? Should I say something?

CLAIRE SAYS:  THIS is a difficult and upsetting situation for you all.

It is possible that your friend’s husband has a form of dementia but there may also be other reasons for his symptoms.

Only his GP can say for sure. If he is suffering from dementia his condition will deteriorate so it’s essential that they access the care and support they both need.

Sometimes, it takes a serious incident before a doctor gets involved so sooner is better than later.

Gently tell your friend you have noticed their husband seems to be behaving differently, and appears confused and forgetful.

Ask if she has the same concerns. Don’t say you think he may have dementia but do add that there could be any number of explanations. Your friend may be relieved to talk about it.

Or, she may deny that anything is wrong. If the latter happens give specific examples and say it would give everyone peace of mind if they arranged to visit their doctor.

Agree on a plan of action and reassure her that you are there to help.

A diagnosis can be frightening and have a huge impact on everyone.

For further help and support contact the National Dementia Helpine on 0300 222 11 22