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Conversation....hard going

mandyp

Registered User
Oct 20, 2004
150
Glasgow
Hi

Dad and I are finding conversation with Mum is like pulling teeth....very one sided. Has anyone else found general conversation a problem?

Haven't seen anyone else mention it. As Mum is still 'early stages' I wasn't sure if this was common or not?

We've always found (in the good old days) that Mum never shut up and it's really bothering both us and we wondered if she's depressed rather than it actually having anything to do with the AD?

They're due back from their holidays today and Dad said that an Irish couple tried to join them and she told Dad that she wanted to leave the bar they were in (saying 'they'll think I'm weird') This is so unlike Mum....Dad and I are the antisocial ones:) She's always been so chatty.

I'm wondering if she's too worried to talk in case she says something 'odd' and I'd prefer to try to put her mind at rest if that's what's wrong....or is this a normal symptom of AD?

Thanks for any advice!

Mandy
 

Brucie

Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
12,413
near London
Hi Mandy

it is quite normal for several reasons:

- growing lack of confidence in themselves
- a beginning of fear of people - strangers at first, later, their loved ones
- in a strange location

conversations do become more one-sided as they become very introspective.

depression does happen as they realise their condition [even if it is not names as Alzheimer's - they DO know what is going on] . Antidepressants are often prescribed.
 

Fran

Registered User
Jul 8, 2005
7
60
Hampshire
conversation

Further to Mandy's message, conversation does become more difficult as AD progresses. Initially I found it was coping with the repetition and lack of memory that made things awkward but now as Mum is deteriorating she hardly speaks at all - which is even more distressing. I try to talk in general terms rather than asking her specific questions so she doesn't feel she's 'on the spot' in case she can't remember an appropriate response. Certainly reminiscing is the best way of communicating and looking at old photos seemed to give her a lot of pleasure. Too many choices is definitely a no no, there is almost a look of panic in her eyes as if it's too much information to take in. Oh dear, its so difficult isn't it.
 

Nutty Nan

Registered User
Nov 2, 2003
790
Buckinghamshire
I agree with Fran: it is hard and very tiring to keep conversation going. My husband and I always had so much to chat and laugh about, but recently it has become a very one-sided affair. Sometimes I am aware that I am getting 'automatic' responses which don't always make sense, and I am aware that much of what I say simply doesn't register or sink in. It's a bit as though I am speaking Chinese, even though I try to be precise, clear and slow.
Last week, after I had repeated the same simple sentence 3 or 4 times he looked at me so 'lost' and said "what are all these words you are saying .....?". I felt really sad. It must be awful to be bombarded with words without being able to make sense of them! - Thank heavens we still have music to keep us going.
 

mandyp

Registered User
Oct 20, 2004
150
Glasgow
Thanks for all the replies.

Mum & Dad had a nice holiday, place was a bit quiet and Mum only fell asleep once and had one funny turn.

I guess we'll just have to try to encourage her to get a little bit more confidence while she still can. She still has her moments, but it can be hard to talk when it's so one-sided. It's very sad and hurts to notice this as another decline.

Maybe encouragement will help for now....old photos is a good idea, I'll dig some out and have a natter when she's down here at the weekend.

She is laughing at some of the things she did on holiday (it seems when Dad advised her to put some sun tan lotion on....she applied the whole bottle and he turned round to see something very bizarre).

Mandy
 

connie

Registered User
Mar 7, 2004
9,519
Frinton-on-Sea
Whilst Lionel has his 'moments' speach has become a problem for him.
He does try so hard sometimes, but othertimes just does not attempt to say anything.
I was looking through the Alzheimers catalogue tonight at dinner. Lionel would not talk, and whilst he still likes his music, will not have any distractions whilst he is eating. Makes dining at home very lonely sometimes. Connie
 

Michael E

Registered User
Apr 14, 2005
619
Ronda Spain
Mandy hi,
The impossibility of having a normal conversation is what I find hardest to cope with. One of the things I found so delightful about my wife was that she would 'chat' away to me - be a wonderful listening/sounding board for me - now that is all gone. Very difficult to have the simplest discussion about anything- she cannot understand choice - and of course cannot always find the right 'word' - having just read 'Dancing with Dementia' I almost find that problem charming......

The worst thing is there is so little to talk about at meal times - when I have prepared a meal and we sit across a table from each other.... so little to say other than the pleasantries... I am trying to make the house more comfortable for her - having a shower put in - bathing has become an issue - big problem but in the boat a few weeks ago a couple of times she showered with me and seemed to find it a good experience. I have noticed that she really does not actually 'watch' the television - I begin to wonder if I put it on in the evenings for me in order to sit with Monique and not have to find things to say.......

Most of Monique,s life is spent sleeping - having dreams and interaction with imaginary folks - her long dead mum is dominant in her life - our Son who lives in the UK is 'talked to' a lot in her imagination - sometimes she does not know who I am or where she is - all good stuff - There is anger sometimes - but in it all a total inability to cope with anything as far as I can see.... Very determined about things she will and will not do - and why not? Except sometimes there are things I need to do and as I cannot leave her alone for more than an hour or two unless she will come with me I am screwed....

All not really a problem but just sometimes I really want someone to talk to.... To discuss what is best.. what colour I should paint the room I am doing up. Am I doing the right thing? I got cross with her the other day - lost it a bit - in retaliation she refused to eat the dinner I had cooked and went to bed in the spare room - I had a couple of drinks and went to bed in our bed and had the first undisturbed nights sleep since - whenever.... but the next day she was so sad - unhappy - did not remember the row just that I was cross with her - and she loves me so much - felt like a real *******...... Just needed to write all this in agreement that it it the lack of communication skills that really get to you...
Mind you I read this forum daily and some of the posts bring tears to my eyes - if it does nothing else it reminds you what truly dreadful situations others are in and how lucky I am in so many ways.......
 

Brucie

Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
12,413
near London
Hello Michael

I can relate - albeit some years ago now - to all you say. Each stage has its unique sad side, and you are in a difficult place. However, you do have contact still at a variety of levels, so please make the most of that.

There will be times of misunderstanding but just try to forget them. Count each positive thing - a smile, an expression, a conversation, a kiss, a shared laugh, a shared meal, whatever - as a blessing of the moment. Write them down to remember them.

If you don't have a digital camera then get one now and record the moments, or a nice cake you ate together, a morning mist you both saw, pictures of your wife - or your wife and yourself together. You'll be glad you did, later on. That's how I moved from 35mm to digital photography and I'm so glad I did. Ok, so I well up when I see pictures I took five years ago, but they augment my memory of the times we shared.
 

Nutty Nan

Registered User
Nov 2, 2003
790
Buckinghamshire
Michael and Bruce,
you are both so right. Sometimes I don't know what is worse: the sadness of having lost the bright, happy, clever, witty, charming, wonderful husband I have shared so many happy years with, or the sadness of what I know is likely to await us as we go further down the road of AD.
I guess it is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all!!!
 

J McK

Registered User
Aug 10, 2005
2
Pgh. Pa
an Alzheimer's Poem

Michael - Here's a poem that I read every day to remind me of what we confront every day as caregivers. "Do not ask me to remember, Don't try to make me understand. Let me rest and know you're with me. Kiss my cheek and hold my hand. I'm confused beyound your concept, I am sad and sick and lost. All I know is that I need You To be with me at all cost. Do not lose your patience with me. Do not scold or curse or cry. I can't help the way I'm acting, Can't be different, though I try. Just remember that I need you, That the best of me is gone. Please don't fail to stand beside me! Love me till my life is done. by Owen Darnell - J. McK
 

mandyp

Registered User
Oct 20, 2004
150
Glasgow
It's so unbelievably sad for all of you....I don't live with Mum and know that Dad hides things from me.

Mum visits me at weekends, I live a 5 minute walk away so she comes to us on Saturday and Sunday during the day. Sometimes we lunch/go for coffee/cake. We always have even before the AD. I know that it saddens me to see her decline, Mum had a razor sharp tongue and wicked sense of humour that I miss, but it's true that this will only get worse and both Dad and I need to try to cherish what we have.

Michael, I've seen several references to Dances with Dementia and haven't had the courage to read it. I worry that it will depress me more and worry me more.....that'd be the selfish side of me, but spoke to Dad about it today and he has the same concern. I reckon we have to bit the bullet if it'll help us understand what she's going through.

I was initially worried that she wasn't talking through fear of saying the wrong thing and it horrified me that Dad and I may be intimidating to her......I mean can any of us imagine even for a second how frightening it must be and I can't bear the thought that she's 'frightened' to talk to us.

Thanks for your replies everyone......will get the book.
 

Norman

Registered User
Oct 9, 2003
4,348
Birmingham Hades
Hi Michael
Some days I do not speak to a soul except my wife an Alzheimer's sufferer for 7 years.
We don't have conversations as such any more,most of her answers are "I don't know what you are talking about"or "I don't understand any of this"
Trying to discuss arrangementsare a waste of time in fact trying to discuss anything is a waste of time.
This is not my wife but the AD.My wife shines through at times and we can look at the garden together and pass comments about the beauty of the flowers.
So I have to settle for the mundane little "conversations"like looks like rain- suns out today- did you see many people when you went to the shop?
I find at time I am quite lonely and for me this is why Talking Point is such a great blessing.
We still get a cuddle and a kiss and sometimes she tells me that she loves me and I have our beautiful memories so i'm lucky really.
best wishes
Norman :(
 

Nutty Nan

Registered User
Nov 2, 2003
790
Buckinghamshire
J McK, I hope you don't mind: I have copied your poem. It says it all, and it will help as a reminder when I am tempted to get cross or impatient, and when my own needs or plans seem more urgent or important than my husband's!

Memories are precious, but they are so much better when someone's there to share them and re-live them.
 

Lin

Registered User
Mar 12, 2005
8
Hertfordshire
Hi JMck

What a beautiful poem very sad but so true and meaningful, I have copied it down and like you will read it often, thankyou.

Lin
 

Michael E

Registered User
Apr 14, 2005
619
Ronda Spain
J.Mck hi,

Smashing poem, thanks for sharing it....

It says a lot of things that the 'dancing with dementia' book says - what it must be like inside the head if you have this affliction - and the book reminds the reader that it is the sufferer and not the carer who has the terminal problem.....
 

Norman

Registered User
Oct 9, 2003
4,348
Birmingham Hades
Hi JMck
What a beautiful poem.
It made me so sad because although I try so hard I lose my temper and do all the things the poem asks not too do.
After readind the poem i will try even harder not too lose patience.
Sad thoughts
Norman
 

Norman

Registered User
Oct 9, 2003
4,348
Birmingham Hades
J McK said:
Michael - Here's a poem that I read every day to remind me of what we confront every day as caregivers. "Do not ask me to remember, Don't try to make me understand. Let me rest and know you're with me. Kiss my cheek and hold my hand. I'm confused beyound your concept, I am sad and sick and lost. All I know is that I need You To be with me at all cost. Do not lose your patience with me. Do not scold or curse or cry. I can't help the way I'm acting, Can't be different, though I try. Just remember that I need you, That the best of me is gone. Please don't fail to stand beside me! Love me till my life is done. by Owen Darnell - J. McK
Dear Rosalind
I do really try to follow this poem although I fail at times.
I blow uo and it is soon forgotten by Peg,but not by me.
We are only human and it is a very stressful,wearing experience =caring.
Do your best the one consolation is that your partner will not remember you losing your patience
Norman
 

bel

Registered User
Apr 26, 2006
757
coventry
before dementia

i have got cross and angry
but kept it in now i let it out a bit more
i have too or i would get really cross with bob especialy when he gets angrey and agressive verbaly
seeing top consutant on wednesday
love bel x