Recommended thread Compassionate Communication with the Memory Impaired

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by Grannie G, Jan 24, 2011.

  1. TimT

    TimT Registered User

    May 11, 2015
    Don’t reason.
    Don’t argue.
    Don’t confront.
    Don’t remind them they forget.
    Don’t question recent memory.
    Don’t take it personally.

    Thanks for these guidelines!
    That's where I'm going wrong. I do all these. At some point you understand the futility of it all and it gradually sinks in. You learn the hard way.
  2. Rageddy Anne

    Rageddy Anne Registered User

    Feb 21, 2013
    Specifically, asking to go home..

    Been trying to distract and all the rest, but my husband has spent the whole evening getting more and more agitated because he wants to go home.
    It didn't matter how I answered or what I said, he carried on demanding to be taken home. I asked him to remind me what home was like, and it seemed to be his childhood home, but the people who he wanted to see were our children, and former friends from work. No matter how much I tried to distract, he became more angry, demanding that we start out NOW!

    This has been happening evening after evening, and I'm at a loss, because changing the subject, distracting, everything comes back to another demand...PLEASE take me home now.

    How do you answer this question? Any suggestions?
  3. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    There was no way I could get round it either Anne.

    My husband had the mobility to get up and go and we went through this almost nightly and I can`t remember how long it lasted. It seemed to be for years.

    There was nothing I could do to stop him so I let him go and then followed him, with house keys in one hand and mobile in the other.

    Sometimes it wore off and he thought he met me by chance and came home with me. Sometimes it was so bad I had to phone my son for help. My son took him to his house which luckily was near and he managed to calm my husband down.

    It was strange because however many times my husband didn`t know me, he always knew our son.

    It was a nightmare and I hope I never have to go through anything like that again.
  4. Rageddy Anne

    Rageddy Anne Registered User

    Feb 21, 2013
    Thankyou Granny G...that's exactly how things are here, but it gives me comfort knowing I'm not alone in facing this particular doesn't go on all day, it's in the evenings, Sundowning time, and subsides at bedtime....
    The consultant has accepted my plea to try Citalopram, which others on here have recommended, and that starts today. I don't think it will make an immediate difference, but maybe over time.

    Sorry to remind you about this, but did Dhiren always know you at the time this was happening? My husband has recently started not recognising me sometimes, and I wonder if he would come home with a stranger. He hasn't actually gone out on his own, but letting him and following him might be better than trying to keep him here. Perhaps I'll suggest we walk home together, but, oh my poor old arthritic knees won't welcome that!

    As a matter of interest, a few months ago my sister in law actually took my husband back to his childhood home, and we think he didnt really recognise it, even though they were invited into the back garden, and he had his photo taken next to a tree his Dad planted.

    In his more aware moments he has actually said the place he wants to go back to is a place where he knows his way around and what's going on.
  5. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Don`t apologise for reminding me Anne, it`s one of the reasons I`m still on TP , to share experiences, as people ahead of me shared their experiences when I was struggling.

    When Dhiren went walkabout he did not know me. He was going home to his real wife and his real family. It was always sundowning even though it often happened in the early afternoon.

    In the early days when he walked by himself I didn`t realise he was looking for home. I was used to him walking for a couple of hours, something he had always done. It was only as he began to stay out longer and and returned home exhausted, I realised he was unable to pace himself and it became a worry.

    As the dementia progressed his stamina and mobility became affected and he didn`t go as far.

    Many times we would have dinner , return to the living room , sit for 5 minutes and then he would say, `I`m going home now. I`ll see you tomorrow.` or `I`ll have to go now. My wife will be worried.`

    Once I accepted reasoning was out of the question I had to let him go.
  6. lin1

    lin1 Registered User

    Jan 14, 2010
    East Kent
    I thought I would give this thread a bump to the top
  7. Crunchy

    Crunchy Registered User

    Feb 21, 2016
    Thank you for bumping this for us newbies!

    My mum asks the same questions about the family over and over again, so I've got in the habit of always showing her photos of them on my phone. Whenever my kids spend time with her, I take quick photos of them together, and my mum loves looking at them and occasionally genuinely seems to remember the event, even though she wouldn't know if it was yesterday or months ago.

    Once I accepted that she lived in the present moment, it became much less traumatic to chat with her. If she becomes distressed about her memory loss, I reassure her and say no-one minds that she can't remember.

    I often think she pretends to remember who the family are, so I always make sure I announce the names of all of us when we arrive to help her, eg: "hello mummy, I've brought B to visit his Nana today!" So then she knows the name and the relationship. Her memory of my kids is of chubby little toddlers, not six foot young men ;)

    One trick I sometimes use if she asks me the same question over and over again repetitively is to make it a bit of a game. I tell her she's asked me that question loads, so can she guess the answer as I think her brain knows it really. Nine out of ten times she answers it correctly, so I make a big fuss of her, which makes her happy and relieved. Obviously I won't do this if she deteriorates further. But sometimes I think she simply is too scared to say something wrong so she asks repeatedly just to check.
  8. Gooby

    Gooby Registered User

    Mar 5, 2016
    you must be a saint

    This is a page from my life with my OH and I often get exasperated ....memory loss I can cope with but the venom and accusations of taking objects/money that he has hidden and then forgotten where he put them. Sausages/quiche hidden under chair cushions not to mention the odd banana and oranges in pockets....Your list is v. helpful though - I now take the blame and it does help. But the few hours I manage to get away into the normal world are invaluable....

  9. SnowWhite

    SnowWhite Registered User

    Nov 18, 2016
    Thank you for posting about Compassionate Communication. It's all quite new to me as Mum was only diagnosed a few weeks ago and I had no preparation, as I guess most of us don't.

    Having read that, I can hear myself doing wrong all weekend when Mum was here. I kept saying things like "you remember" or "I told you that several times" I know it's absolutely stupid of me and I will make more effort in future.

    Can anybody recommend a very basic guide to Alzheimer's to read please. I have such a lot of other things and worries going on in my life apart from Mum that it can't be anything too complicated. Thanks.
  10. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
  11. Ashleolucky

    Ashleolucky Registered User

    Mar 20, 2017
    This is brilliant, thanks.

    Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point
  12. Kerstin

    Kerstin Registered User

    Jun 6, 2017
    I need to retrain my brain now.

    Guess it's time to retrain my brain. I'm sure no one will be able to adhere to all of this in real time. But I'm sure going to try to do my best. I appreciate articles like these because it makes me feel less alone. I'm learning so much from other families.
  13. Iainfortytwo

    Iainfortytwo Registered User

    Aug 7, 2017
    So Usefull...

    This is really great. I can share this with my Step Mum, brilliant!
  14. Tourist98

    Tourist98 Registered User

    Jul 4, 2017
  15. Tourist98

    Tourist98 Registered User

    Jul 4, 2017
    Sorry, you can tell how new I am....I replied within the post! Just wanted to say that this sort of information is invaluable for new members :)
  16. Mum1945

    Mum1945 Registered User

    Oct 17, 2017
    Im so pleased that someone has pointed me in the direction of this post.

    I realise that we've been doing everything wrong and things really came to a head for us yesterday as my mum completely lost it.

    I feel so guilty for getting cross with her, trying to reason, and ganging up on her with my sister and dad over the weekend. I can't help thinking it's led to her turn yesterday.

    I wish I could turn back time and do it all again
  17. LadyA

    LadyA Registered User

    Oct 19, 2009
    You, like everyone on here, are doing the best you can, with the knowledge you've got, and I'm guessing no training. Like everyone else, you never signed up for this caring job. It's like finding yourself in the centre of a maze, blindfolded, and told to find your way out!

    Nobody gets it right all the time. And often, if things go well, it's as much down to random things than anything you have said/done. Your mum's mood, maybe she had a bad dream that's left her edgy, maybe the weather has everyone on edge.... Guilt is just going to pull you down - don't give it house room, or it will come to stay permanently! You are doing the best you know how. No-one can ask more than that.
  18. Mum1945

    Mum1945 Registered User

    Oct 17, 2017
    Thank you @LadyA, it's much appreciated.

    I know you're right. It's just so hard to think that something we might have done triggered her to go to another level.

    I love my mum so much, I just hate to think of her so confused and scared.
  19. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    @Mum1945, please try to remember that you are not the bad guy here. Dementia is the enemy, and to blame, not you.

    Easier said than done, I know.
  20. Mum1945

    Mum1945 Registered User

    Oct 17, 2017
    Thank you @Amy in the US. I really will try. I think the fact that the doctor visit went so wrong today has made me feel so guilty. But I hate the idea that if she accepted help, she might improve a little, but because she won't, there's so little we can do.

    What a horrendous disease.

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