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I moved to FL from PA about 6 months before my mom was placed in the nursing home. My siblings are in PA and go to visit our mom weekly. I call when they are visiting so I can talk to my mom. I am struggling with what to talk about. She doesn’t remember that I moved, how old I am, that I have a husband and grown children ... she has trouble even forming a complete sentence but I love to hear her voice. What can I talk to her about?

I had the same problem with my mom until I started to ask her about her childhood. I would say something like "Was your mother a good cook?" or I hear that you won a dancing contest when you were 10. She would perk up and tell me the same story. I would just listen.

I stopped trying to get her to remember the things she no longer did but encouraged her to talk about whatever she wanted.

Good luck
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Reply to lulugirl
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The past. Get her to talk about her past, and yours You will treasure those conversations when she's gone. And besides, she won't remember what happened yesterday or this morning. But 40 years ago will likely be no problem.
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Reply to DoingbestIcan
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I talk on the phone with my Mom almost every evening. I love to hear about when she was a child, what her parents were like, the big garden they had, how she met my Dad, etc. Her memories of the distant past are quite strong, while she also cannot remember what she had for dinner 20 minutes ago. Two years ago I started a journal of these little conversational memories of hers--just 3 or 4 lines in a word document. For some Alzheimer's seniors a time comes when they no longer have language. I didn't want to lose this special aspect to our relationship. It is so precious to me to be able to remember her past through these short entries. I know when she is gone, it will become even more precious.
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Reply to daughter22moms
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Anything and everything. And since she doesn't remember, you are not limited in how often you can call.

You meet a neighbor on the street - what do you talk about? Same thing here. Anything and everything is appropriate until Mom gets too tired to stay on the phone.

My DH's last 6 months were very difficult for him. He got a bout of pneumonia and it took much of his memory. So when his son called, I could tell from our end that Ray said the same things every week. So what? They were still talking.

One of the things Bob asked was, "what have you eaten today?" Did you go outside, did you walk, did you see anything on TV that you liked/hated - just anything that pops into your head will do. What are you wearing, did you get a walk today, have you been outside - mention your siblings, have you seen "so & so" lately. Is there anything you could send to her that she wants? You just talk until she is tired and wants off the phone.

If it helps, pretend you are talking to a small child and do the same kind of conversation.
Bless you for wanting to speak with her! DH's other 2 children couldn't be bothered even trying.
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Reply to RayLinStephens
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jacobsonbob Mar 5, 2019
...but you probably wouldn't want to "baby talk" to him/her or otherwise "talk down", either. Maybe it's better to think of the parent as a "middle-aged" child--such as one about 8-10 with whom you might ask fairly simple questions while using a voice and manner quite similar to that used for adults. I've heard staff in nursing homes sometimes speaking in a tone of voice that would seem condescending and offensive to anyone having any remaining mental abilities.
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Let her direct the conversation. That’s what I did with my mom. If my mom wanted to talk about how she went to the farm to buy eggs, butter and cream with her mom “yesterday”, I went along with it. I didn’t spend time trying to convince her she was 95 and in a nursing home now. It’s not a satisfactory conversation in the way that she’s talking about current events, friends and family, but you’ll still be hearing her voice.
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Reply to Ahmijoy
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Yes, I agree with Ahmijoy. Let her direct the conversation. Don't correct her because in her mind thats where she is. When she talks home, it could be where she grew up. My Mom forgot my Dad, a person hard to forget. Her kids.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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I’ve learned that it’s too frustrating for Alzheimer’s patients to answer questions about what they’ve been doing.
Ask the facility to give you an update on what your moms been up to and then ask them for a schedule of upcoming activities before calling your mom. You can then talk to her about what she’s been doing based on the facility report and also talk about all of the upcoming events.
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Reply to Qwerty
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It might work to talk about your childhood, without reminding her that you are the same person as the child. You could sing a little song you remember and ask her if she remembers singing it to her children. You will be happy to hear her voice talking about times past, so it’s one thing to try.
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
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Involve your siblings in conversation if possible. Stay in the moment with her, tell her you love her. Let her guide the conversation if possible. Talk about anything she may find interesting.
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Reply to trudy6234
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Sing with her. If your mom has favorite old songs that she taught you as a child, she may even join you in the singing. My aunt loves for me to sing hymns with her, and amazingly she can recall all of the words and the notes! Music is a wonderful gift that sometimes people who are aging seem to miss (but don’t know it). When my dad was actively dying, I put a radio station on (using my Kindle) and placed it near his head. He played the radio consistently as I was growing up and when the songs came over the airways, he would join in the singing. Two days before he died, I saw him mouthing the words to one of the old-time hymns that was being played on my Kindle. It thrilled my heart, and I think it comforted my dad.
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Reply to busymom
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