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I agree that offering options that she can pick from may be easier
than asking her to formulate a reply. For people with memory
problems finding the words can be difficult and embarassing.
sometimes it helps to make the questions more specific.
Instead of "how do you feel" I might ask
"are you hungry", "are you tired", "are you too cold",
"are you too hot", "does anything hurt", "are you angry"
"are you upset", etc. And I try to wait a bit for the
reply to each question, instead of rushing through the
list. I find it also helps to pick the right time to ask
her opinion about something we might need to do.
My own mother starts sundowning soon after lunch
and has difficulty understanding my questions. So
I try to discuss things in the morning when she seems
to have all (or most) of her faculties working. If she
seems to be having trouble thinking about the question,
I might talk about the pros and cons for a while, and
I might ask her to think about it and suggest that I
will ask her again tomorrow. Even if she does not
recall the discussion the next day, it gives her time
for it to percolate in her subconscious and the next
day she may find the issue more familiar or more
emotionally comfortable. What seems like a
simple question to me (eg would you like to visit Emma?)
may be more difficult for her to consider calmly. So
I also try to ask about possible activities several days
before a decision needs to be made.
I have also found that my mother is afraid of
being pressured into a decision, so I try to remind
her that it is up to her, that she can refuse my suggestions,
and/or that we can talk about it at another time.
I try to ask about concerns that she has
expressed in the past. For example, she might
not want to visit Emma because 1) it's too far
2)it might rain 3)Emma's too busy; so I ask
about each concern it turn and suggest how
we might handle the concern she is anxious
about and ask if that approach is okay with her.
Of course, some people are naturally
reluctant to communicate, regardless of age.
Sometimes you simply have to make the
best decisions you can, and hope that
you get it right most of the time. Keep
asking your mother the questions, but don't
push her too hard; eventually she'll
know that you are asking out of concern for
her, and that will be a comfort to her even
if she doesn't answer the questions.
Helpful Answer (1)

My Mother lives with me.She is 92 with advanced dementia. I share most of the
problems i read the comments on. It is comforting to read ,days of others from
the caregivers. All of us should take a moment and give a big hug to us. Thank
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Thanks for the advice. As far as getting more info, i believe it's just mom's personalitty, goes along w/things. Never had much of an opinion bec of my dad, he was very controlling she just felt it easier to go along w/what ever he wanted. Guess it's just frustrating for me bec i was hoping for better mother/daughter relationship since she is now living w/me. It's a very repeatitive conversations. Does anyone think that being w/people her own age will benefit her???? or just me?
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I start by asking my mom about things in the past then lead up to todays questions. Sometimes, her talking about past things gives me hints about how she feels now.
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It's so hard to feel good all the time about choices you make for parents. My dad is 97 and if I ask the question in the wrong way he says, "it doesn't matter to me" So my best approach is giving him two choices of TV programs, kinds of cereal, frnech toast or eggs and toast. He does much better if he has something to pick from. I also tend to hurry him and I need to slow down, take a deep breath and wait for an answer. I think when we hurry and they feel your tension or whatever comes across, they are bound to think that you really don't care what they think. At least this is what I am going through. MKay
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Looks like we need more information. Are you saying your mother will not talk, cannot talk, or does not talk about the things you want her to?
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Yes I have some input for you~
To begin with has your Mom any medical conditions that can possibly cause her not to speak? Once this is determined you can perhaps find some answers. Example-if she has a dementia--something called an aphasia can be the culprit. This I think you need to get to the root of the problem.
Yes it must be frustrating, as you are not sure what she is trying to say or what she actually means.
With my Mom-I went thru something similiar-where her words were jumbled-and I had to put it together to make sense out of what was being said.
In my opinion-you need to seek out some medical or neurological advise-and for the sake of everyone, do this sooner rather than later.
My best to all~
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How about the 85 year mom who had a stroke three years ago and insists she isnt hungry when she is, already bathed and hasn't, and never has to use the bathroom yet wets herself all day. Whe wears pads but refuses to wear depends.
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If you ask your mother her preference and she does not respond; if you give her a calm place to talk and give her enough time to respond and she still does not - then I would make the necessary decisions and always say
"If you want something different, Mother, you can have it, but since you have not said, I am doing ______________ because it seems the best plan to me"
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