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Some quick advice for tonight please!

CollegeGirl

Registered User
Jan 19, 2011
9,525
0
North East England
Hi everyone

I find myself having almost exactly the same conversations with my mam over and over because her short-term memory is so bad.

I end up talking about the weather, her ornaments, and most of all, the old days ... I'm sure this is very familiar to you all. I really don't mind all that much as long as she's enjoying the conversation but sometimes I really struggle to think of things to talk about - I can't ask her questions as such because she struggles to answer them, she can't remember if she's been out that day, for instance.

Any ideas for conversation openers anyone?!
 

Jo1958

Registered User
Mar 31, 2010
3,724
0
Yorkshire
Hi,
Does your mam have a memory book, photos and memorabilia, that anyone can look at to start a conversation. If her memory is still good for the old days then it's a good idea to take in as many photos, over time, as you can find and get her to name people and places, write them on the back so that the information isn't lost.

Have a lovely visit, I hope you can relax, holding your mam's hand while you sit in silence can be a good visit too.
With best wishes from Jo
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
73,477
0
Kent
Hello CollegeGirl

Every time my son visits his father he has the same conversation.
His work.
Our grandchildren.
Manchester United.
My husband`s Sunday Lunch.
 

DaveH

Registered User
Aug 18, 2010
30
0
Berkshire
Why just talk? Try doing something with her instead. Could be making fairy cakes, singing along to some songs she knows, doing a simple jigsaw or even sorting buttons.

She won't remember afterwards, but that doesn't matter. I took my Dad to Carer's Group recently while my wife made simple little cakes with my Mum who apparently became very animated and involved. There was a lovely smell when we got back and I said to her "I'm looking forward to trying those cakes" to which she replied "What cakes?"!
 

CollegeGirl

Registered User
Jan 19, 2011
9,525
0
North East England
Hi Sylvia - I know, it gets really monotonous doesn't it! I've got to do something different!

Edit - oops, cross posted with other replies! Doing something also sounds good - last week I tried a crossword which didn't work out too badly but it was an extremely easy one and mam still struggled, but not too bad at all really. I'm not sure about the book or magazine although thank you for suggesting it - I think mam would think it was a bit strange if I did that, maybe save that one for a bit further down the line - although I had thought about talking books from the library that we could both listen to perhaps?
 
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CollegeGirl

Registered User
Jan 19, 2011
9,525
0
North East England
Just thought of something - years ago mam used to enjoy listening to plays and things like Woman's Hour on the radio. Are there still things like that on the radio, and if so, what station and what frequency etc could I find them on?
 

gigi

Registered User
Nov 16, 2007
7,788
0
67
East Midlands
What about old songs?

Singing along together can be good fun!

Or watching an old or favourite film together? That was always a popular choice with my husband..especially musicals...:)

Love xx
 

DaveH

Registered User
Aug 18, 2010
30
0
Berkshire
Just thought of something - years ago mam used to enjoy listening to plays and things like Woman's Hour on the radio. Are there still things like that on the radio, and if so, what station and what frequency etc could I find them on?
Good idea, as long as she still has the ability to remember what the story was about by the time she gets to the end. My Mum can't, any longer, I'm afraid, so stories, especially new ones, make no sense to her. She is happier watching the same gentle TV programmes over and over - wildlife, travel programmes about places she's been, etc. She's very fond of things like Country Ways, if you've ever seen that.

Anyway, check Radio 4 (92.4-94.6 FM) listings here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/programmes/schedules/fm

On Radio 4, there's a 5-part serial each week, 9:45-10 every morning. Then there's a serial on Woman's Hour at 10:45, repeated 7:45 pm. Most afternoons there's a 45-minute play at 2:15, and there's always Book at Bedtime at 10:45 pm. There are plenty of other programmes that may interest her.

Perhaps she'd like The Archers? You really don't need to have a clue what's going on! She might just enjoy listening to the characters.

If you miss programmes, you can download podcasts here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/podcasts/

Or catch up using the iPlayer, perhaps recording programmes on a laptop so that you can play them to her later:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/radio
 

Onlyme

Registered User
Apr 5, 2010
4,992
0
UK
Scan/copy the photos and take those in rather than an album. Mum put a load of hers in the bin and I know that others on here have had their mother rip the photos into little bits.
 

CollegeGirl

Registered User
Jan 19, 2011
9,525
0
North East England
Thank you so much everyone for your suggestions, a lot to check out and try, all very much appreciated.

Unfortunately last night's visit didn't go too well. Dad was supposed to be going out for a couple of hours to see his friends but when I got there he was pretty much at the end of his tether and too agitated himself to go.

So I tried to keep mam company while he at least had a break in another room, washing up and reading through some papers etc. Unfortunately every few minutes mam kept getting up to go and have a word with him. I couldn't persuade her to stay with me until at last I jogged her memory about the old days and then she left him alone for 45 minutes while she told me all the old stories.

But that's not enough, is it? They're coming round for tea tomorrow and will stay for a few hours' natter etc, and I know they'll enjoy that but I feel guilty that I'm not round there today.

I really wish dad could get some other help coming into the house occasionally, or get mam to go to some sort of day centre while he has a break but I just can't see it happening. I've suggested (via a note) that he sees the GP about getting social services to assess them, but I don't know if he's done anything about it or is even willing to do anything about it. I do understand that it's a very difficult thing for him to do, because mam is resistant to any outside help - she hates even going to the doctor for example - and gets very frightened, and it breaks his heart to see her upset, but I can't bear what's happening to them both.

I just can't see an end to this and it's getting me down again.
 

sistermillicent

Registered User
Jan 30, 2009
2,949
0
If you have a digital radio or a freeview tv or computer (which I know you have but your mum might not)you can get bbc radio 7 which is wonderful with 15 minute topics, readings, plays and lots of the old things like round the horn and dad's army. There are also childrens stories too at about 4pm which are easy to listen to.

I used to find that as long as I talk to mum about something to do with her, or her memories of old shops and tea rooms, the time someone came to lunch and did something silly, you know the sort of thing, she was fine with it. The minute I strayed into something about me or the children or something in the news it became distressing and not interesting.

Now mum can't do that either. I let her rummage in something, I have a biscuit tin that she likes to organise with lots of old bits and pieces in it, a watch, a belt, an ornament, paper napkins, string, buttons, she enjoys arranging it.

Pippa xx
 

dizzydeb

Registered User
Jan 31, 2011
48
0
62
Cheshire
Hi, this is familiar ground i'm on of repeatative conversations. The photo's is the good option, I'm on that one with Dad. He has a stamp collection so i will be bringing that one out to keep us occupied to give Mum a break.
How about have a pamper day, nails, hair, makeup. I love the idea of making cakes too. Or crafty things like making cards or simple knitting of scarves, you can get cheap wool from charity shops, these scarves could go back into charity!
Best wishes.
 

caring fromafar

Registered User
Oct 28, 2008
31
0
My parents sound very similar ... in the end I rang their GP to say how worried I was about my dad. things slowly happened and mam has now been to a Day Centre twice (but says she isn't going again cos it is full of mad people!)
My mam finds it hard to concentrate on TV but likes strange things ...Kirsty's Home Videos :eek:. But they are short clips and for every clip she says "Oh, that could have been dangerous" but she will watch it from beginning to end.

Could your mum play cards? To give your dad a rest could you take your mum out? Even a trip to the supermarket can pass an hour or so.

Good luck
 

Speedy

Registered User
Jul 24, 2010
38
0
Hi

i took in a load of old postcards Mum had kept the other day, she remembered some of the people who had sent them and the places, which was a change from the photos, some people like a hand massage, or their hair done.
 

CollegeGirl

Registered User
Jan 19, 2011
9,525
0
North East England
Thank you all for your ideas and suggestions.

I've tried the hair pamper thing - mam didn't want her hair doing, thanks, she'd rather do it herself (although she doesn't, my dad does it, and not as often as it should be done - not a criticism at all, I know how difficult it is for him) We're now trying to persuade her to get it cut again - always a huge battle. Fingers crossed on that one!

I would love her to go to a Day Centre so that dad gets a proper, regular break, but can't see her agreeing to it just yet. I think she'd be scared and confused when he left.

I try to take her out as often as possible, like you say to the supermarket etc where we usually have a cuppa and a cake. One pleasure my mam still has is to eat - she finds everything absolutely delicious!

I hadn't thought of cards, that sounds like an idea. She can still read, but never picks up a book, magazine or newspaper. But if she finds a leaflet lying around she will often pick it up and read it out - over and over - as if it contains something vitally important. She doesn't seem to be able to tell the time any more, not sure how that works when she can still read - although I don't think their clock actually has numbers!

She does watch tv but doesn't seem to take in what she's watching and it doesn't keep her entertained for long. I don't think she can follow plots any more. My hubby suggested wildlife dvds, also the house programmes are a good idea.

It's easier to take her out than to sit in with her - when I do sit in with her I end up doing housework and she just comes around each room with me and we chat about the old days. The same old days that I've listened to so often that I think they happened to me, not her! But at least I feel I'm doing something useful and practical to help and I know my dad appreciates it.

Sorry for the long post, still feeling very low at the moment, although when I read some of the other posts of people that are in far worse situations than me, I feel ashamed.
 
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cragmaid

Registered User
Oct 18, 2010
7,941
0
North East England
Go to the charity shops and see if you could get a brass horseshoe or something that need s cleaning and ask her to show you how to use the brasso. It could get cleaned six times a week and it wouldn't matter, it would keep her occupied and you can ask her for recipies and write them down they don't have to be accurate but it might one day be the one recipe you really need and would have forgotten. Scrap books are another thought. Good Luck.x.
 

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