I need tools on how to speak to my mother when she gets all mixed up.

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My mother is 87 years old. My father passed away 5 yrs ago this April from complications of Alzheimers. My mother's common sense and logic are not visible anymore. She will get upset and mix up different events that have gone on and talking to her in a logical manner doesn't reach her needs. I need tools how how to speak to her when this occurs.


You are on the right track in recognizing that meeting her needs is the important part of communicating with your mother. Try to enter her reality. If she mentions how beautiful Aunt Edith's hat was and how she envied her, it doesn't really matter whether she wore it to a christening or a wedding or a cocktail party. Try to get her to describe the hat, and talk about her own favorite hat, etc.

Logic and reasoning are seldom going to get through to her when she is in one of these "mixed up" frames of mind. Fortunately, logic and reason are seldom necessary to carry on a pleasant conversation. If she is upset that she isn't getting the details straight, you can reassure that the details aren't important right now, and you'd really like to hear more about .... " whatever topic you can pull out of the tangle.

She needs to trust that you are logical and have common sense and can take care of her. She doesn't need to be helped to be logical herself, because in most cases that isn't possible.

This is a very difficult journey. It sounds like you are approaching it in love, and that will take you a long way.

Can you remember how your mother talked to your dad after he became mixed up? Was it effective or would you like to improve on it? How about how you handled conversation with him?
Jeannie says enter theirr reality, I say, go to their world, and as was said, the fact you are approaching this with love will help both of you...
Logic and reasoning are gone. all they have is their past, and even if it gets scrambled, it's still their memories... and in the long run, it doesn't matter if the facts are straight... they need conversation just like anyone else.. sometimes I just listen and watch and try to see where the conversation is headed as Sonny doesn't always have the words for what he is trying to say.... sometimes I fill in the word, I can tell by his tone if he is asking a question or telling me something... the more we talk, the more he comes out of that Alz. isolation... and we laugh a lot. I will say things about something going on and he'll laugh.. when he laughs I do, because for just for a few seconds he feels ''normal'... I just try to follow his lead. I never correct him, never argue with him, and touch him a lot. Sometimes when he is getting flustered because he is hunting for a word, I will just take ahold of his hand, sometimes that redirects him... I am very blessed that Sonny is very sweet and still recoginzes when someone is showing him love and support. It won't always be this way, so am very grateful for the time I have with him.....
I'm going through the same thing with my dad who has stage 4-5 Alzheimer's. Especially in the afternoon. You are a wonderful & loving only child!
Great idea Lily, educate yourself, and take in as much as possible.. No two are the same but the more information we have the better it is for all involved... thanks for sharing the link...
Hi. Though thankfully mom doesnt have Alz, she does mix up or use nonsense words at times, or confuse events. I have lived with this for so long I often know what shes saying or asking even if it doesnt male sense to others. I find when shes tired or upset or anxious (watch body language, ask yourself have they eaten? been sleeping poorly? are their hands balled into fists ? ) this aggravates the situation. I try to change the subject, have her disconnect from the confusion by chnaging rooms or doing something like lets go wash face and hands and have a little juice. sometimes this snaps her back again. Also touching or seing familiar things that can trigger memoreis seems to re introduce reality and events such as a oicture or photo album or discussing past family events. sometimes you just have to smile say its ok and be patient. the more they realize they arent making sense the worse it gets so disconnecting from it for a few minutes has worked here but I cant say it will or wont for you. But its worth a try.
There are various kinds of dementia. Although she does not have Alzheimer's, dementia is dementia. They have great advice on communicating. Good luck, hope this helps.

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