A man was reduced to tears after a "heartbreaking" encounter with an elderly couple on a flight.

Caolan Mc Aree was on returning from Malaga to Dublin when he noticed a couple in their late 70s sitting near him on the almost empty flight, the Irish Mirror reports.

He observed that around one hour into the flight, the woman "appeared to become agitated, shouting and trying to get out of her seat while the man was trying to calm and reassure her".

Mr Mc Aree explained: "I was trying to mind my own business but the man caught my eye and stared at me like he needed help, so I asked him was everything OK.

"He shuffled across his seat and leant into my row 'She's got dementia' he said, full tears in his eyes now.

"Things made more sense so I stupidly said, 'Let me know if you need help with anything'.

Mr Mc Aree was returning from Malaga in Spain to Dublin in Ireland (

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Getty Images/iStockphoto)

"After a while the woman settled and dozed off, him holding her hand."

The pair got chatting, with the man explaining his wife's condition and how it had deteriorated recently, all the while with tears in his eyes.

They ordered a drink and "chatted about lots", but mostly about the couple.

"He told me the two of them had been going to Nerja in Spain for 30+ years, her favourite place," Mr Mc Aree said in a post that has since gone viral on Twitter.

"This time she was very confused for most of the trip, but he wanted to bring her one last time and said he was still glad he did.

"When the plane landed I helped them with their suitcase down the steps onto the tarmac. I put out my hand to shake it and he pulled me in and hugged me thanking me for being kind, more tears in his eyes.

"I'd been holding it in for the full flight but I lost it too and stood there crying with him."

He then watched the couple being assisted through the airport by staff, then ran into the Terminal "bawling behind my sunglasses".

Mr Mc Aree was reduced to tears by the couple (stock image) (

Image:

Getty Images/iStockphoto)

He added: "Don't really know why I'm sharing all this but I've been lucky enough to never really experience dementia first hand. My heart goes out to anyone who is dealing with it now in their lives, it's fucking heartbreaking."

The heartbreaking post concluded: "I keep thinking about the two of them and welling up.

"But I also keep thinking of them in happier times, laughing together at their favourite little wine bar in Nerja."

The thread has received thousands of shares, replies and likes, with hundreds of people sharing similar stories of living with or caring for someone with dementia.