Compassionate Communication with the Memory Impaired

Grahamstown

Registered User
Jan 12, 2018
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East of England
Hello again @Grahamstown

Does your friend have family or a neighbour who can help her?
Yes she has a very supportive family who are taking good care of her although she can manage well living on her own. I don’t think they consider anything to do with dementia because they didn’t with their father. They just keep a close eye on her and her main problem is the memory loss otherwise you would hardly realise she has anything wrong. She functions well otherwise as far as one can tell. I guess seeing her once a week with worsening memory and obvious behavioural tics such as repetition of the same thing over and over, forgetting notable events, brings it home to me. Internet is an obvious area for difficulties to become obvious and the trouble is she forgets that I have suggested that she doesn’t start the conversation. My problem is how to deal with it and the fact that I have to do so means that something is wrong and that is upsetting. I shall have to be very careful and aware now to avoid doing the wrong thing.
 

Grahamstown

Registered User
Jan 12, 2018
1,747
0
84
East of England
Another chat today and it went much better although the combination of seemingly perfectly well together with extremely poor memory was challenging. Tried to keep the guidelines in place and mainly succeeded. It’s just so hard to avoid rational discussion though. I used a mutual reminiscence and old photos to enable her to have something relevant to say. And her long term memory was good enough for our lively conversation.
 

SeaSwallow

Volunteer Moderator
Oct 28, 2019
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Another chat today and it went much better although the combination of seemingly perfectly well together with extremely poor memory was challenging. Tried to keep the guidelines in place and mainly succeeded. It’s just so hard to avoid rational discussion though. I used a mutual reminiscence and old photos to enable her to have something relevant to say. And her long term memory was good enough for our lively conversation.
That is so good to read @Grahamstown. Yes the guidelines are hard to follow but they can help. Reminiscence is such a good way to have a meaningful conversation with our loved ones.
 

Littlewreck

New member
May 15, 2024
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I must say a lot of the compassionate communication is also in the Specal book.
Yes I first read very similar too in the book 'Contented dementia' and the Specal method. Definitely worth a read. Keeping on track and being constantly kind and positive is the hardest part, my husband has Alzhimers and LBD and I find it quite exhausting at times just to keep him happy, especially when he goes on and on about driving and the new car he's going to order. Not being able to drive has been the most difficult aspect for him to accept. It's over a year now since he lost his licence but he still insists he wants to go to the post office to get a new one! At the beginning of this journey I tried to never lie to him until I read about the 'Specal method' and Contented dementia' and realised being honest is not always the kindest route to take. However I still kind of try to answer honestly where I can, e.g. when he asks where is brother is, rather than say he's dead, I generally say he's not here, can't come today etc and try to change the subject, sometimes it works sometimes not, especially when he insists he was talking to him earlier in the day! It's a difficult journey, but if I can keep him relatively happy it's easier on me. But I'd be lying if I said it was easy - it can be very exhausting.