My mother is quite good at pretending to understand what's going on around her. People who only see her briefly don't realise just how far out to sea she is.
This morning she insisted on putting her watch on before going downstairs. She never does that. It's a a tiny thing- but put it with all the other tiny things and it becomes evidence of how she's losing her grip on her own routines and rituals.
She still spends the morning with her newspaper. Increasingly she'll hand it across the table to me to have me explain a story or a picture. I'll say my piece, hand the paper back- and a minute later she'll repeat the request. We take her correspondence off her after she's looked at it once or she'd go over it again and again.