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Hard to make conversation

Cariad 42

Registered User
Dec 18, 2018
17
We are two and a half years into the diagnosis of Alzheimer's for my other half who is only 67 and I'm 56. In the recent weeks it has become increasingly difficult to hold a conversation with him - he doesn't understand what I am saying and I have to repeat myself all the time, and then I have to guess what he is trying to tell me. By the end of the day I'm exhausted, barely able to think for me, let alone think what he is saying. He is still fairly fit though I notice he sleeps more and is less inclined to want to do anything, I think I'm just having a moan, feeling somewhat fed up...... Just need some encouragement and inspiration XX
 

nae sporran

Volunteer Host
Oct 29, 2014
7,216
Bristol
Sorry @Cariad 42, I am in the same boat and can't give much encouragement or inspiration. The carers support centre have set me up with a zoom course to help me in about a month, but that's it. Would your other half be happy to listen to music and would that give you time to rest and think. It sometimes works with my OH.
 

Agzy

Registered User
Nov 16, 2016
1,628
Moreton, Wirral. UK.
Welcome @Cariad 42 from another in the same boat and am struggling to hold it together mentally but thankfully a fair bit older than you and your partner and so have had many many good years prior to her diagnosis nearly 6 years ago. @nae sporran is right about escaping for head clearing walks if you can but accept not always something that can be done. Best I can say is what was said to me recently, “hang on in there, things will change.” What wasnt said was “for the better!”
 

Agzy

Registered User
Nov 16, 2016
1,628
Moreton, Wirral. UK.
Welcome @Cariad 42 from another in the same boat and am struggling to hold it together mentally but thankfully a fair bit older than you and your partner and so have had many many good years prior to her diagnosis nearly 6 years ago. @nae sporran is right about escaping for head clearing walks if you can but accept not always something that can be done. Best I can say is what was said to me recently, “hang on in there, things will change.” What wasn't said was “for the better!”
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
13,907
South coast
Hi @Cariad 42 , I think the loss of conversation is the hardest thing.
OH now cannot understand most of what I say and I have to keep repeating myself and even before then he lost the art of conversation with the to and fro flowing of ideas. If I dared to voice a different opinion to him he took it as a personal criticism or me telling him what to think.

I have now realised that loss of conversation is a reality and that it is pointless to try and engage him in something that he can no longer understand, just frustrates and makes him angry. Now, I only tell him things that he needs to know, or ask him questions that I need to know the answer to. I never ask about his opinions on things, unless its something that he is still able to consider (like whether he likes the style/colour of an item of clothing). Once upon a time we would be discussing the pandemic and different countries responses to it, the American election and climate change, but now it is all gone.
 

lollyc

Registered User
Sep 9, 2020
71
i think this is the thing I've found hardest to deal with (so far.) Mum and I usd to speak most days on the phone - she didn't live with me then - laugh at something we'd seen on TV, discuss mutual friends etc. Now that's all gone. She simply can't grasp what I'm talking about, and I end up wishing I'd never started. Like @canary I stick to the things which need an answer. So very sad.
 

jennifer1967

Registered User
Mar 15, 2020
1,245
Southampton
my husband is getting like that with other people and admits he cant always follow conversations and even follow tv programmes that he used to enjoy. when someone phones he will talk for a few minutes then hands over to me. its hard when its just the 2 of us but i had to learn to accept it as hard as it is just to get the most out of the day.he tends to tire easily if he tries to make an effort
 

big l

Registered User
Aug 15, 2015
63
Oh do I know just what you're saying. You get up, go through the necessary motions, and sit. And try to generate something interesting, birds on the feeder, something - anything in the world, he is very unstable on his feet and can't walk more than a few yards, so walks are out, but you're right, it's impossible to 'entertain' him. I am all too aware my OH can't take conversation on board, he closes his eyes and withdraws. Is that because he isn't able to interact so closed eyes offers him solace - peace? - I hope so for him. All I know is that I feel it's the loneliest place in the world.
 

Cariad 42

Registered User
Dec 18, 2018
17
Thanks so much to responding - as with so much on this forum it is reassuring that we are facing the same challenges.
  • I would love OH to listen to music, but he prefers to watch the TV. I get concerned that this isn't very stimulating, but as we are all saying it's so hard to find other "entertainment" This week I packed into the loft all the family board games we have enjoyed over the years as he can't now play them. Will invest in some new ones that are easier.
  • I have this evening been for a walk. 45 minutes of me - wonderful.
  • I have also given up on "complicated" conversations and try to keep things simple. As this makes me quieter, I get accused of being moody!. Can't win!
As we come out of lockdown again (I'm in Wales) I worry about the effect the lack of socialisation will have had on him, and whether others will find it difficult to converse with him. So far most of our friends have been amazing. I so hope this continues as I get a break when he's with them.
 

jugglingmum

Registered User
Jan 5, 2014
5,958
Chester
This week I packed into the loft all the family board games we have enjoyed over the years as he can't now play them. Will invest in some new ones that are easier.
When mum was first diagnosed (she was a few years into the illness then) the children played connect 4 and snakes and ladders with her, they were way past snakes and ladders and as time went on mum was a bit confused about going down snakes and up ladders but they gently guided her.

She still understood connect 4 and was the only person who could beat my son.

She no longer recognized snap cards and wanted to use a normal set of cards to play snap when diagnosed.
 

margherita

Registered User
May 30, 2017
2,574
Italy, Milan and Acqui Terme
Hi everybody ,
As most of you say, any attempt to have a conversation is only useless and frustrating .
I have also stopped asking him any question about the food to eat or the clothes to put on, just as I would do with a one year old child. Also in this field I stick to what I have read on here , that we should do what our PWD needs, not what they want, since , in my husband , at least, there is no ability to make decisions left.
 

Catherine C

Registered User
Oct 15, 2020
15
Since the beginning of the first lockdown we began having video chats with relatives and I think this was prob more helpful for me...although every now and then there would be some recognition from mum. The other thing is singing which Mum enjoys and still seems to respond to..and is a way to be together.. but it’s true having random and irrational conversations is very tiring.... going for walks helped
 

nae sporran

Volunteer Host
Oct 29, 2014
7,216
Bristol
Since the beginning of the first lockdown we began having video chats with relatives and I think this was prob more helpful for me...although every now and then there would be some recognition from mum. The other thing is singing which Mum enjoys and still seems to respond to..and is a way to be together.. but it’s true having random and irrational conversations is very tiring.... going for walks helped
We're all dealing with similar things. I'm sure it is equally tiring whether it's your mum or your partner.
 

spandit

Registered User
Feb 11, 2020
133
My father was boring before he had dementia. Now he's even more so. He's never played games, done puzzles, jigsaws etc. Never been into music or reading. Never done sport. Never had any interests aside from wine (I think he has been an alcoholic for years which has contributed to his condition). He'll chat to his carers about holidays he's been on (where he left my sister and I with relatives - fed up of being told how great Disneyworld was when he never took us) but barely speaks to me.

Now he sits in his chair all day and complains that he isn't getting any better because his legs ache. I ask him how he thinks he might improve them and he says "exercise" but then won't do any. I pester him to drink (he has chronic kidney disease) but it makes me feel like the bad guy whenever he does. He just sits there, open mouthed (despite having a chair and telly in his room) staring at the television.
 

TNJJ

Registered User
May 7, 2019
1,825
cornwall
My father was boring before he had dementia. Now he's even more so. He's never played games, done puzzles, jigsaws etc. Never been into music or reading. Never done sport. Never had any interests aside from wine (I think he has been an alcoholic for years which has contributed to his condition). He'll chat to his carers about holidays he's been on (where he left my sister and I with relatives - fed up of being told how great Disneyworld was when he never took us) but barely speaks to me.

Now he sits in his chair all day and complains that he isn't getting any better because his legs ache. I ask him how he thinks he might improve them and he says "exercise" but then won't do any. I pester him to drink (he has chronic kidney disease) but it makes me feel like the bad guy whenever he does. He just sits there, open mouthed (despite having a chair and telly in his room) staring at the television.
That could be my dad! He liked music holidays and cars! Nothing else!
 

Weasell

Registered User
Oct 21, 2019
750
I went on a training course on communication. It Stressed non verbal communication.
I always start our first contact of the day with a happy comment.
it’s a lovely day !
how lovely not to have to do anything on a day like this!
Keep your body language ‘ happy’
No one can see inside your head.
Pin on a smile !
My conversation is a mass of Cliches. None of which demand
an answer. They are delivered with relaxed body language and a smile.
If it works don’t knock it!
 

Blondie61

New member
Dec 2, 2018
4
Oh this strikes such a chord! Mum is maybe three years in since obvious signs and diagnosis, but more like six years since early symptoms. I ring her twice a day, morning and evening, and it’s SO depressing to have the same conversation twice a day. How are you, have you eaten, how was your night, nice/horrible weather today. But that’s the extent of her communicatio. If you try to have anything more meaningful, she either contradicts everything I say (No, I’ve never done/said/had that etc etc) or doesn’t understand the subject you’re talking about! Yesterday she said I’d interrupted her washing up, oh I said have you stopped using your dishwasher? I haven’t got a dishwasher she said. Probably wrongly (because I know you’re not supposed to contradict them) I eventually made her go in to the kitchen and tell me what was next to her washing machine?? A dishwasher she said, but I could tell from the tone of her voice she’d forgotten why we were having the conversation!! I’m beginning to think I don’t know how much longer I can do this - it’s just me (no surviving brothers or sisters) and it’s bl**dy hard, but unlike a lot of you I can at least retreat to my own home.
 

Bellaboo24

New member
Sep 16, 2020
3
I agree it's so hard when you and your other half have bounced ideas and plans off each other, and now it just seems to be more statemented sentences.
I worry about distressing him when I'm not sure what to do, I miss his input and ability he was such a clever practical man, now he struggles to even paint walls. I keep him as active as I can but find I really have to push him most times.
 

Maddiebd

Registered User
Oct 27, 2020
22
Good morning. The sun is shining and the birds twittering😊. Today that may well be as good as it gets. Mum has dementia and many other illnesses but today we are already on with ‘the Princess Diana book is missing. Someone has taken it!’ Mum doesn’t live with me , still wants her independence at 92, so if I am not with her I phone several times a day for chitter chatter. These conversations are diminishing quite quickly and we end up cataloguing missing or taken items. That seems to be the only thought process mum has😞.
I long for the days when we dissected The Wars of The Roses, Henry VIII lives and loves. When we both read the same books and gossiped about the shenanigans of a local family.
conversation is therapy for everyone and losing it is sad.
 

CardiffGirlInEssex

Registered User
Oct 6, 2018
217
Good morning. The sun is shining and the birds twittering😊. Today that may well be as good as it gets. Mum has dementia and many other illnesses but today we are already on with ‘the Princess Diana book is missing. Someone has taken it!’ Mum doesn’t live with me , still wants her independence at 92, so if I am not with her I phone several times a day for chitter chatter. These conversations are diminishing quite quickly and we end up cataloguing missing or taken items. That seems to be the only thought process mum has😞.
I long for the days when we dissected The Wars of The Roses, Henry VIII lives and loves. When we both read the same books and gossiped about the shenanigans of a local family.
conversation is therapy for everyone and losing it is sad.
It is so sad, @Maddiebd , like you I used to have great phone conversations with my mum. Due to the disease plus her increasingly severe deafness, any phone contact is now just a one way rambling complaint from her, no interaction of actual conversation is possible at all. I really feel for your and share your sadness.
 

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