Possibly similar to other questions, but how do I talk with Mum when she cannot express what she wants to say?

Oxfordshire

New member
Sep 22, 2023
5
0
Mum has been in a care home for a year and 5 months now and her Alzheimer's is deteriorating rapidly - my sister and I thought it was, but it has also been echoed by the carers at the home.

Mum went through several months of being very frustrated and angry, frequently hammering on doors with her fists to get out until she hurt herself, and a couple of times pushing other people in her desire to get out of the home. So she is now on rispiradone which has taken so much of her personality away. We (my sister and I) feel that it is better for her to be on the drug and reasonably content and accepting life, rather than being constantly angry and frustrated as she was before, but it is heartbreaking to see.

I have noticed that more and more she does not make sense when she speaks - she clearly knows what she wants to say, but she cannot get the words out in a coherent sentence. I find myself having to try and guess what she is trying to say and reply to her accordingly. I feel so inadequate that I can't help her communicate, is there any way that I can do better at this?

She cannot read a book or even follow a TV programme any more, so my visits are pretty much a monologue from me about what I've been doing, about my dogs who come with me (Mum loves dogs), about anything really. I noticed this time I opened the curtains so she could see out of the window and she wanted to ask me questions about where she was, but she couldn't get the words out. I'm in tears even typing this, as I am sure you all know it is so difficult.
 

yoy

Registered User
Jun 19, 2022
282
0
She sounds similar to my mum. She's been in her care home around a year, had a period of getting upset/agitated/violent, and was put on risperidone. I too agree that she is better on the drug, rather than feeling the way she did before it (frightened, paranoid etc). Plus there's other residents and staff safety to consider as well, they can't be put at risk due to someone's behaviour.
Mum can't follow a tv programme, or anything much else really, and our conversations are rather stilted and revolve around the same things every time I visit. But I think she'd end up like that anyway, risperidone or no. That's dementia.
It's tough. But I just try to put on a smiley face and try to find things to say that are upbeat or might make her laugh if I can.
Best of luck to you and your mum.
 

Oxfordshire

New member
Sep 22, 2023
5
0
Thank you - it really helps to know it isn’t just Mum, I mean I didn’t think she was any different but it’s something we haven’t experienced before. I think I need to be better organised and almost go with a list of things to talk about 😊
 

Neveradullday!

Registered User
Oct 12, 2022
3,355
0
England
Yes, @Oxfordshire - a lot of guessing goes on here, too. Short phrases are fine (my mum's just said "look at that, beautiful innit?" (the bright sky)).
Longer sentences are a real struggle, like your mum she knows what she wants to say it just comes out wrong.
My responses are along the lines of "Oh yeah, I know what you mean" - "yes, I completely agree" etc.. and she accepts this.

As with @yoy I try to keep it upbeat, and her sense of humour's still there so that's a plus. One mistake I still sometimes make is asking her to repeat herself - she normally just repeats the same thing only louder!
You do get used to it.
 

Izzy

Volunteer Moderator
Aug 31, 2003
74,335
0
72
Dundee
Welcome to the forum @Oxfordshire.

I’m so sorry to hear about your mum. It must be very upsetting for you. I wondered if there would be anything in this link which would be of help -

 

McSuffolk

Registered User
Feb 12, 2023
72
0
@Oxfordshire
My mum is the same, so my sympathies go out to you re the difficulties we are experiencing with conversation. I find myself making agreeable responses to pretty much any nonsense sentence that my mum makes. What I notice is that she says the (
’nonsense’ just as sincerely and meaningfully as she would a coherent sentence which makes me think she is not aware that her sentences are wrong 🫤 it’s only when she cannot find the odd word she wants that she seems frustrated.
It is quite demanding, bringing a cheery chatty me to my visits but mum loves dogs too so we often go where there may be some (park or beach) and talk about them …. A lot!!
You’re not alone.
 

Oxfordshire

New member
Sep 22, 2023
5
0
Thank you so much to everyone who has replied - I really appreciate it, just knowing I’m not alone has helped so much. I’ll have a look at the link, thank you @Izzy

It’s almost more sad that Mum does know that she isn’t making sense - she will quite often give up trying, saying ‘oh I can’t say it, ignore me, I’m stupid’ Of course I always say ‘no of course you aren’t stupid, it’s fine, I love you’ but I’m not sure if that sounds patronising. Mind you, Mum would certainly tell me if she thought it was 🙄😃