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But assuming he can talk and understand what you are saying, talking about the past may be most productive. Do you have photo albums you can look at together? You will do most of the talking, but try to engage him with some of the photos. "Oh, I loved this old car! I was sad when we had to give it up. What was your favorite car?"
I learned not to start my sentences with "Do you remember when ..." with my mother. It sounded like I was giving her a quiz and she often "failed." I got in the habit of saying, "I remember when ..." Even if she didn't remember the incident she enjoyed hearing my memory.
Use everyday events as triggers as much as you can. When you are having coffee with him, say "I remember one time years ago when I had baking soda in the coffee carafe for cleaning it, I forget and put coffee in it. That was the worst coffee I ever tasted and you were trying to be polite and drink it! You are such a kind person! Were your parents kind to each other?"
Are you living with your husband, or is he in a care facility?