This essay examines representations of dementia in literary works. It draws a distinction between those representations of dementia symptoms that can be understood as implicit and those that can be understood as explicit. Whereas implicit representations do not treat dementia as a distinct, clearly identified disorder, they nonetheless display a certain similarity to the explicitly medicalized discussion of dementia symptoms. This similarity lies in the fact that dementia symptoms are used to drive forward the narrative action. The essay traces this pattern by analysing different literary works with this feature in common and discusses the significance of this narrative’s dynamic potential for the plasticity of cultural narratives of dementia and old age.