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Care Home Conversation


Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
This intended to be a big of a lighter thread than many, but there is a real problem. How do you sustain a conversation with a care home resident? I take my Dad to see my mum in the care home, but she has not and does not want to take part in activities so she really has nothing to talk about. Nor does my dad, and owing to lockdown, nor do I, I haven't exactly been having a riotous life. Sometimes I can make jokes that make her laugh but I am not good at comedy.

So I wonder if others have tips for making conversation flow?
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Registered User
Oct 21, 2019
Raid the ‘old photos drawer’ and take some with you ?
Do you remember conversations can work.
That is my only tip.
I struggle so badly!
The weather
The weather
Im done !


Registered User
Nov 1, 2016
It’s so hard isn’t it! Mum struggles to see photos through the Perspex screen due to light reflections but it uses up some time. The sound quality through the intercom is very poor especially as mum does not speak directly into it so most of the time I can’t hear her so just nod or agree with her.

I’ve started taking some cake in with me and hand it in to the care home staff when I arrive, they give it to mum with a cup of tea while she is in the pod so she eats on one side and I eat mine on the other. It’s a bit weird but again, passes some time.

We only get 30 to 40 minutes anyway so it’s not too bad but I’m trying to think of a way to interact better.


Registered User
May 21, 2018
When I was visiting mum, much of the time was taken up with manicures and looking at pictures in magazines but of course none of that is possible at present. Even during "normal visits" conversation was generally about what was in the room, what mum was wearing, what I was wearing, what could be seen out of the window (weather, flowers), what the tea was like, what the cake was like. Everything in the moment. It can be a bit of a strain and very much more so in a pod I am sure. This may sound daft but have you tried singing so she can sing with you? Reading some favourite cheerful poems that your mum may remember? (Pooh Bear is unusually good for a smile).


Registered User
Mar 2, 2017
Where I meet my wife, behind perspex, is next to the lift in her care home. She reads out the numbers and letters on the keypad. We talk about that. Staff come and go. She greets them with a smile and tells me that they are 'canny really'. We talk about the staff. She reads out loud the sign that says 'fire assembly point' for the umpteenth time. We talk about that. She wonders when her Dad will be home. I divert to talking about tea and Swiss roll. I compliment her on her hair and appearance. She asks if we can go to see her grandmother. She sees some people behind me and we talk about their imaginary lives. She reads the lift keypad again. Fire assembly point. She doesn't respond to normal conversation and seems to mishear what I say. I just say yes when her answer is completely beyond my comprehension. She reads the keypad. Fire-assembly-point. We pass 45 minutes together in companionable nonsense conversation. It has been a good visit.
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Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
My son said when he went to visit his dad he had the same conversation every time.

It was about our grandchildren.
It was about our son`s work.
It was about the football.

My granddaughter used to bake a victoria sponge and my son took a slice on each visit. It pleased my husband his granddaughter had baked specially for him.

I used to take some special food, fruit he particularly liked and was unlikely to get in the care home. A special sandwich, home made pate, smoked salmon.

These provided us with something to talk about.

And this was the routine.

My son and I agreed we would not visit together because my husband would then sit back and we would end up talking to each other.

Of course, most of this would be impossible now and my heart goes out to those who have to visit behind barriers.


Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
Some good ideas here, but of course very difficult to do with a screen and 2m distance. My mother has very serious speech problems ( dysarthria ) that make her unintelligible, limiting conversation even more, and my father is quite hard of hearing too. Photos are a good idea but pictures would need to be poster size to be any use through the screen and she has shewn little interest in a book of photos that we had printed for her at Christmas.. Like others we go over old ground a lot, what sort of biscuits to bring next time, does she need any clothes, has she been eating properly etc.

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