My husband is getting harder to carry on a conversation with. What do I do?

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He has lung cancer stage 3 and he understands our conversations most of the time. But there are times when we just don't connect. Even when I talk slower and plain. He is 84 this month. He has coped emphysema also.

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Even though we really can no longer converse, my husband still enjoys his Benny Hill tapes (yes, we still have a VCR) and loves tape of Roy Orbison in Black and White..
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It is very difficult. I talk a lot to my mom when I visit, so she doesn't have too. I try to be cheerful and upbeat. I think she is just happy I am there. But I also think she understands a lot more then it seems at times.. If it is something important, I just say her name firmly and look at her and she snaps out of it. But I feel her drifting father away. I just want her with me as long as I can. It's very hard.
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I'm sitting here now watching TV with Mom. It "is" hard to have a conversation with her. Her thought process is slow. Not sure if its her hearing (won't wear her aids) or she doesn't understand the words but a lot of repeating. I just don't have the patience when I have a husband extremely hard of hearing. Have a hard time dealing with both.
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My mom is going through this with my dad. He has dementia and pretty much lives in the moment or in 1960. It's breaking her heart. And he's getting stubborn about every little thing. She's 84 and it's hard for her to learn how to steer him, validate thoughts etc., but she's doing pretty well. I'm out of state but I talk to them both every day and try to help her navigate his dementia. I've learned so much from this site. I wish you the best with your situation.
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With your husband's issues it is possible that the cancer has spread to his brain or the lung issues make it difficult for enough oxygen to reach his brain. it is my understanding he does not have dementia so he probably does understand most of what you are saying as long as you don't ask difficult questions, but he is just too tired to make the effort. Keep talking and loving him that is the best for him. Keep him up to date with events but don't expect him to remember or even answer but the sound of your voice will be
very comforting.
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I'm praying for your situation. I have worked with Elderly people, and Developmentally Disabled Elderly and love it. For you husband, always remember, even when he is confused he know you are there. Try using "one word" sentences, or questions. If it appears that he is hungry say, "eat, or hungry" if it appears he is sleepy, say "nap, or sleep". Hope that helps, and God bless you both.

Ava
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Mt husband (89) has COPD and dementia, and he has wandering thoughts a lot of the time. I just ask him to repeat what it was I said so I can determine what he understood. Don't worry about it. Much of what is said is dribble anyway when you are facing death. My best to you both.
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I often wondered why my mother wouldn't speak if things didn't go her way. But then I understood she was becoming more like a child and I was now her parent. As I've said before, roles reverse.
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Sorry that you are going through such a difficult time and kudos to you for wanting to continue meaningful conversations with your husband. My husband has advanced dementia so very difficult to communicate with and he tends to mumble his responses. I have learned to just dominate the conversation and rather than to ask him questions that require a more involved response, I pretty much formulate my sentences to him with a yes or no response required. Example - rather than say what did you have for dinner, I will ask did you have a good dinner? Your talking to him is I am sure very comforting to him, so just keep it up .
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I keep talking to my husband and read him stories although he often does not even understand simple requests any more, like "please lift your foot", It makes me feel better to keep communicating and his smiles seem to indicate that he enjoys the attention and closeness of me.
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