How do you have conversations with someone who has dementia?

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This person was once very active in community events, very creative with crafts, and has a lot of friends. There were only a few times where she kept in contact with her extended family at least that is after she got sick. She spent more time with them before. She has always had regular contact with her children. She has no interests, wants, or desires to be active in any activities or programs, or doing any crafts, Any help is appreciated.

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I just listen and ask lots of questions, trying to understand what Mom is saying. She has her own language but it is amazing how I can understand her. I touch her and reassure her. I just sit near her and give her eye contact and just listen. I want her to know she matters to me!
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The only way to help is visit when they are most receptive or coherent. Go with the flow, be the listener, even if you've heard the story a million times. Don't try to correct her, bring her into reality. You don't have to agree or disagree with anything she says as she probably won't remember. Just go along with the conversation and redirect if she seems scared, agitated or frustrated or gets in a loop over an issue.

This could be my mom. They withdraw from activities and become increasingly isolated from friends and socialization. You can invite her on an outing and pick her up and accompany her. Other suggestion is "be where she is" rather than taking her out of comfort zone. Take her for a drive or walk around the block. Bring over lunch from a favorite take out, coffee and donuts, have a picnic in the backyard where you set it up and have paper plates, lemonade, etc and you can share childhood memories.

Bring over a book or magazine, offer to look thru her photo album and have her tell you about a picture.

I applaud your effort to help. Many get frustrated and give up on these elders -- all my moms friends have as she became hateful and ungrateful to their efforts. I don't know how you solve that. I've tried to take her to some functions and reintroduce her to friends and activities and she is okay when I'm there and enjoys but won't continue when I leave. I live long distance so outings and visits are increasingly less often. I find it difficult and exhausting to keep her engaged. I tolerate the hatefulness and distrust aimed at me but everyday it gets harder and harder. I'm now trying to be all things, daughter, caregiver, friend but she makes it's very hard.
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Kedwards "flew out of the house on a broom" really made me laugh. A life long narcissist with delusions of grandeur, entitlement, the whole world revolved around her ... all the bells & whistles that go with it ... my mother has always complained about the NH staff who are absolutely wonderful. They weren't nice enough, quick enough and didn't see to her needs before anyone else - but that's been life long so it's par for the course.

Apart from the dementia in high gear, yesterday at Walmart I had to be careful where I pushed her as if she got near any display she tried to grab it. Didn't want it, just grabbing at everything. In the almost 4 years I cared for her she fell a lot but refused to use a walker. I'm sure the EMS had our location on speed dial on a GPS and every hospital and emergency room in that city has a chair with my name on it.

After her final bad fall, blood everywhere and EMS carting her off to hospital at 2 a.m., I knew I could no longer cope and asked the family doctor for advice. He said very firmly that so long as you stand there with a smile on your face the hospitals will just keep throwing her back at you and you're on your own. Having said I would no longer take her back she spent a month in hospital while I scrambled to find her a NH spot. Found a wonderful place out in the country and I bought a wee cottage on 2 acres out in the country for me and the pets.

She's been there a year now and until she had the last stroke she was screaming at me down the phone on a daily basis. Nowadays she just calls occasionally to beat me up over something I'm doing or have done which is all in her imagination. I make sure her bills are paid and visit once a week or so. The stress of the past few years has aged me and my hair is starting to fall out. There has to come a time when you say enough is enough to preserve your own health and sanity.
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Just like kedward460 says..............
My MIL also paints every single caregiver as evil. I hardly ever leave the house these days but when I have to leave - I have a wonderful friend who will sit with her for me. BUT my MIL is becoming increasingly nasty. When I walk in the door, MIL screams that the caregiver threw her on the floor and beat her up and then kicked her. (This is appalling to my dear friend - who by the way - is 1/3 the size of my MIL).
I think it's a way to punish me for leaving. MIL is burning all my bridges to the outside. I have determined to draw a line in the sand on this one - however, it's really hard to find a caregiver willing to put up with this. :(
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They don't live in our world anymore, with love and compassion we go to theirs... doesn't mean we don't get frustrated and impatient with the same questions over and over....

I've always wondered what is really going on with their thinking??? Do they think we are the ones with the problems because we just don't understand them sometimes? They do recognize when we are getting impatient and just simply tired of hearing it.... wonder what goes on in their minds , do they know they are stuck like a record.....???

There was an awesome gentleman that was on here about a year ago, named 'MeNoHardy', who had dementia.... it was one of the most fascinating reads ever... he would share about his difficulties and his perception of his daughters responses.... unfortunately he passed away ...... He had to work really hard at his posts... with his daughters help.... I so wish they could tell us how to help them.....I hate ALZHEIMERS/DEMENTIA..... HATE IT....
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Ashlynne you are giving me further insight into what lies ahead for me. My mom was diagnosed w Parkinson's in 2008 although in 20/20 hindsight she's had it yrs before the diagnosis. I think since like 1997. She too is getting to the nonsensical stage. She hears phones ring that aren't ringing, dreams up conversations we've had that never happened. Her latest development is that "all the home care people are bad". Mom comes up with more things these ppl who are no longer here b/c mom is burning them out have done and everyday more is added to the list of things she 'remembers' they did to her I wouldn't be surprised if tomorrow she tells me the latest one we got rid of flew @ the house on a broom. To give mom credit there are times when she's lucid but the good days or turning more into good moments. I just go along with her b/c trying to reason her only causes more problems for ME. Fake it to make it. It's hard especially when home care is needed and as of now we are without it AGAIN b/c they are all so bad and mean. Hang in there B2twod, just don't try to pick sense out of nonsense or you WILL lose your mind.
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My mother is in a NH home. She's had Parkinsons for about 15 years, increasing dementia for a number of years and a history of stroke. She had another stroke a couple of months ago. She can no longer sit up or stand by herself and the dementia has increased to the point she makes no sense at all. For example yesterday she went to Walmart on the NH bus and I followed behind in my truck. On leaving Walmart she was insistent I came on the bus and couldn't understand why I couldn't leave the truck behind.

We also had "why do you have a truck" because I live in the country and need a 4x4, "why don't you have a truck with no back" because I have dogs, "Well, why don't you have a van" because I live in the country and need a 4x4, "so why do you have a truck" - we went round and round on that one for ages.

She also berates me for imaginary things, like being crazy for having white fitted carpet with dogs in the house - I don't and have no plans to have anything other than wood floors with area rugs. It's to the point that there is no conversation at all, just questions, answers and more of the same questions on and on.

She frequently refuses to go for meals, sticks to her bed and sleeps most of the time. I don't know how much longer she can go on and, frankly, I hope she passes soon as she's just an empty shell with no quality of life at all.
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My Great Aunt was always active in her community, church, etc. When she got dementia and had to move to the NH, I would let her lead the conversations. For instance, once she thought her mother had left her car in another town and she tried leaving the NH to walk there. They fitted her with a tracking device around her ankle. She told me it was a band-aid because she had been bitten by a dog. That did happen, many, many year ago. So I asked her to tell me all about what happened. She could reminisce about her past, and seemed to enjoy telling the stories. She thought I was her cousin, so I just left it at that. She thought she called her mother all the time. Mostly I just listened and asked her questions about whatever she was talking about.
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