How much quality time do you spend together?

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Selinacroft, Oct 13, 2015.

  1. Selinacroft

    Selinacroft Registered User

    Oct 10, 2015
    I live with Dad and do all his meals and sort out his tv and everything else to do with home and garden and appointments etc, but we hardly ever "talk"
    Dad is deaf, can't follow anything I say, mishears, goes off on a tangent or says he doesn't want to know, why does he need to know that, nothing to do with him etc etc. Besides the usual , "Here is your dinner/tea/clothes etc etc and sorting out his daily problems we never "chat" and I find myself escaping all to often to another room, or out somewhere.
    I wondered how people with loved ones , manage to pencil in "chat time" on top of the "getting by" caring jobs?
    Dad seems to have lost touch completely with the outside world and if I tell him I'm going out shopping, the last couple of times I get back and tell him I'm back, he says "I didn't know you'd gone out".
  2. Bod

    Bod Registered User

    Aug 30, 2013
    It's a lonely job.
    Just be sure to make some "Me Time" you will need it.

  3. sleepless

    sleepless Registered User

    Feb 19, 2010
    The Sweet North
    My husband can no longer take part in normal conversation, but I do still prattle on when we're together, but no longer expecting appropriate responses. He very often does respond, in his own way, and I take my cue from him to answer in what I think is the expected response.
    Thus we do converse, but not in a way anyone listening would understand!
    When he is in a talkative mood some of the phrases he uses are quite lengthy, and it is a joy to listen, especially when he is giving me advice, ever so kindly.
    If asked, 'How are you?' he politely replies 'I'm very well thank you' and if doctors or nurses ask him if he minds having his BP taken, he says 'Not at all'
    I sympathise with everyone whose loved ones can no longer speak with them. Reading about this on TP makes me more appreciative of what we still have, and as with so many aspects of dementia, prepares me for what may lie ahead.
    I might add that when my husband is at the day centre, I do talk to myself. I'm so used to his company, it seems odd not to be speaking all day!
    Hearing problems obviously impact on conversations, but I think it's a good idea to just talk to the person, at any opportunity.
  4. CollegeGirl

    CollegeGirl Registered User

    Jan 19, 2011
    North East England
    When I'm with mam and dad, and dad and I are having a conversation about something, I try to include mam in the conversation by looking at her and making eye contact with her as well as at dad when I'm speaking, just as though I believe she understands what I'm saying.

    She doesn't usually, sadly, but will often respond in her own way with something nonsensical, and I try to show her that I've heard what she's said and make an appropriate response. That way, I feel she thinks she's contributing and then doesn't feel left out, even though she makes no sense. This approach seems to make her happy.

    I also try to have a few minutes where I give her a hug and a kiss and tell her I love her, or we have a little sing and a dance (sort of). Following a prolonged period of aggression towards me, it's now possible to do this, as that phase is gone, thankfully.

    However, I'm not mam's main carer and so it's probably easier for me to do this as I haven't had any of the daily frustrations that full-time carers have. I can imagine when you are at the end of your tether with all the practicalities of caring, that things like trying to have a bit of quality time can easily go out the window.
  5. Optomistic

    Optomistic Registered User

    Jul 24, 2014
    My husband has Alzheimers it affects his speech a lot and he cant always find the words. We have a conversation and i try and fill in when he cant finish a sentance sometimes. I take him out every single day he still plays bingo but sometimes cant always keep up with the caller. I took him to Malta for a week in June my youngest son helped me and organized the holiday. We go for a day out round the shops and have a meal once a week he has a good social life. Its worked because he is still interested in reading and playing on the x box this keeps him alert.
  6. Shedrech

    Shedrech Volunteer Moderator

    Dec 15, 2012
    #6 Shedrech, Oct 13, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2015
    I really recognise what you describe. Before dad went into the care home I spent most of the day with him and thought we talked - we went out every other day for a walk and coffee and cake - or I thought we did!
    Actually I realise I was wandering about the house doing all the chores, just popping into the living room where he usually sat for a quick check he was OK - and latterly he was less mobile so we didn't get out and if we did, stayed out less and less time. And most of our 'contact' was doing his personal care.
    We did sit and watch TV of an evening and 'chat' by commenting on whatever we were watching - but it was mostly me commenting and he'd make some general response of the right kind but not really engaged.
    I did get dad to help make sandwiches or cut up some veg etc when I was cooking (very careful what task I gave him) so that we seemed to be cooking together. And we played dominoes or card games - less so as I had to tell him what to do more and more.
    I found it hard as he became less responsive and more unaware of what was happening around him.
    I hoped there'd be 'quality time' when he went into the home and we do have some lovely moments - but 'chat'? not really. Still he's happy to see me and is comfortable in my company most of the time. So I witter on about nothing, we look out of the window together, and listen to music, which is companionable.
    Sorry - rambing!!
  7. sleepless

    sleepless Registered User

    Feb 19, 2010
    The Sweet North
    College Girl, knowing what you have been through, this is so good to read.
  8. Pear trees

    Pear trees Registered User

    Jan 25, 2015
    My mum and I have never had a relationship where I can chat like I do with my daughter and now grandchildren.
    My mum would only talk about herself even before dementia, she was never interested in any thing except what she was doing, totally ignoring her family.
    Now she just asks the same questions about her lunch club, money and food endlessly, and runs me down repeatedly for not doing anything for her.
  9. lizzybean

    lizzybean Registered User

    Feb 3, 2014
    This time last year when I was feeling down I went to see my GP I was explaining to him how I don't "enhance" my MILs life. He said he doesn't always enhance his wifes life let alone his mothers! I think sometimes as carers we feel we have to strive very hard & sometimes we don't always achieve the right balance.
    Some days when I visit she is being very repetitive or she is in a negative loop & I can't wait to get away. Other times she seems fine & we can have a good old chat.
    We are different everyday too & quite frankly if I am tired I just can't be bothered making the effort! However I've been, satisfied myself she is OK, delivered shopping or whatever. If that takes 20 minutes so be it, another day will be a longer visit.
  10. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    How much quality time do you spend together?
    None, just 24/7/365 time.
  11. beverrino

    beverrino Registered User

    Jan 12, 2015
    My mum is no longer really capable of a 'proper conversation', our time together generally is my talking away about everything and anything I can think of just to distract her from 'why am I like this?' and 'will I ever be normal again?' 'what am I doing?' and those kinds of questions.
    I try and involve her and talk about her flowers, her garden, the weather, the birds and those sort of things she can answer simply.
    Bless her - I miss her so much, we always had long conversations and had so much in common.
  12. Selinacroft

    Selinacroft Registered User

    Oct 10, 2015
    Thanks everyone for your comments- always good to hear of others' experiences. It is such a gradual decline that it sort of creeps up on you.
    I'm sure Dad sometimes thinks I'm away all the time but his room is boiling hot, uncomfortable to sit in and he has junk tv on nearly all the time. When I speak, he can't hear so turns the tv off and I start all over again, when I witter on to myself or dog, he complains he can't hear the tv etc etc so time in room getting less and less . When we watch something that we both enjoy , I make myself watch it in the hothouse!
  13. Selinacroft

    Selinacroft Registered User

    Oct 10, 2015
    Hi Shedrech- yes that almost exactly describes me . I think I'm one step further down the road now and can't really let Dad help with food or drinks. He's broken lots of cups, spills everything and I wouldn't let him near a sharp knife anymore.
    Dad not interested in games anymore , and music no good as can't hear it.
    Like you say I spend most of my time wandering around house/garden and pop in every now and again, usually to be grumped at for either making a noise, interrupting his program that he is busy listening to, opening the door and letting in cold air, watching him or some other misdemeanor.
    I don't even talk much to him over meals now as he complains he is concentrating on eating and can only do one thing at a time.
  14. Selinacroft

    Selinacroft Registered User

    Oct 10, 2015
    Hi Lizzybean
    You do make a good point there or rather your GP did. I think we expect to much from ourselves as carers. We get so used to being in this heightened superhuman mode that when we go off duty for a moment or two we feel we should have done better.
    Time for a reality check to think about how little other folk offer or help versus time and effort we put in.
  15. lizzybean

    lizzybean Registered User

    Feb 3, 2014
    It sounds to me from reading your later post that you need quality time with people other than your Dad. He seems ok in his own little world & you are interrupting him!! Try & get sitters in & get out amongst the rest of the world for the odd hour or two.
  16. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    SW London
    If I'm honest, from my own POV there was very little quality time with my mother once dementia was past the very early stages. She very soon lost the ability to follow any sort of conversation, and was not at all interested in anything I told her about the family or our own doings. She soon became very reluctant to leave the house at all, and would be fretful and anxious if I ever did manage it, so even our trips to Tesco's, with a coffee and cake thrown in, were a thing of the past.

    To me, 'quality time' with her was any time she was relatively contented and in a good mood, and not endlessly obsessed with something that was usually in her own head (neighbour's son had 'stolen' her garage, etc.). That was when I could enjoy my time with her, though of course it was never at all the same as pre-dementia.
  17. MrsTerryN

    MrsTerryN Registered User

    Dec 17, 2012
    Yep I totally agree. If I can have laughs and giggles with mum that is quality. It means she is content in her world
  18. Lindy50

    Lindy50 Registered User

    Dec 11, 2013
    Totally agree with this, Witzend :cool:

    Any time mum is content, is quality time in my book. If she smiles as well, that's a wonderful bonus xx
  19. Selinacroft

    Selinacroft Registered User

    Oct 10, 2015
    Hi Lizzybean

    I think I do get out and about enough. I work in the morning (caring so busmans holiday) and I walk dog every day so chat to dog walkers. I try to get to the gym/exercise class every so often and use my treat vouchers from SS for different things. Meet friends for lunch once or twice a week and involved with a couple of charities. I don' t think I have time for much else!
    I just need more hours in the day

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