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What do you talk about over the phone?

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Cheekycow, Apr 7, 2016.

  1. Cheekycow

    Cheekycow Registered User

    Feb 8, 2016
    15
    I speak to mum every day over the phone but it is getting increasingly difficult to have a decent conversation. I don't like to overload her with talking about what's going on with my day to day life as I don't want to add to her confusion but she doesn't go anywhere or see anyone, and even if she did she would forget, so I just ramble on about nothing really and just take comfort in hearing her voice and being able to tell her I love her.
     
  2. Pear trees

    Pear trees Registered User

    Jan 25, 2015
    441
    My mum can no longer hold a conversation on the phone. I used to speak to her every day but she has recently started putting the receiver straight down without speaking. When she does answer I just remind her repeatedly that her lunch club bus is coming, that she has plenty of money, and bus will bring her back home. She does not know who I am, and I do not talk about anything else as she does not understand, and the carer reports any problems to me.
     
  3. brambles

    brambles Registered User

    Sep 22, 2014
    231
    Female
    NW England
    Hi cheekycow,

    I know just what you mean. I phone mum twice a day and it is getting harder and harder to make conversation.
    She can't now remember if anyone has been or if anyone else has called. She can't remember what she has had to eat or what she has listened to on the radio.
    She can't follow the thread of any news I try and give her although she does like to hear it (sort of)

    So all I can really talk about is the weather and how she is feeling. Still I love to speak to her even on the days I have already been at her house all day, I like to hear her voice and she is always delighted I have called.

    I just keep the conversation fairly brief now.

    brambles x
     
  4. Dunkers58

    Dunkers58 Registered User

    Nov 9, 2013
    65
    Hampshire
    I am the same, i have lots of conversations about the weather, Mum is 25 miles away and so often different weather. I just say what I have been doing. even if been to work. Mum usually cuts the call short by saying ' I'll let you go to get you tea , I don't think she wants to try and think of things to say or can't .
     
  5. mancmum

    mancmum Registered User

    Feb 6, 2012
    396
    Skype is the answers (well for some people)

    During the last two years my father lived with my mother phone calls dwindled to nothing when it was his turn. Now he lives with me he can skype my sister. The extra visual dimension adds a lot for him. Sometimes he thinks she is really there. Doing something else at the same time as a Skype call helps. e.g. sitting down and having a cup of tea together, commenting on a jigsaw, looking at a different cat.
     
  6. Linbrusco

    Linbrusco Registered User

    Mar 4, 2013
    1,585
    Female
    Auckland...... New Zealand
    My Mum used to talk on the phone for hours.
    Even with Mum & Dad living behind us it wasn't unusual for Mum to ring me once or twice a day and still chat for over an hour, sometimes I would ring her :)
    Mum would also ring her Aunt every week, and quite often I would be called to see if Mums phone was off the hook as people couldn't get through. No... just Mum on her 2 hr marathon :D

    My how Alzhiemers has changed that :(

    I still get the odd call. Mainly for " What am I doing today", " When are you bringing my tablets over" or " What time are we going shopping"
    Although last night she rang to tell me she had been sneezing :rolleyes: ... allergies, not a cold.
    Sometimes if I call her, I can get a 5-10mn conversation but it goes round in circles, with lots of reassurances, and repeating myself.
    Mum no longer rings her Aunt or any of her sisters. This has been for the past 2 yrs.
    She tells me now that she doesn't know what to say. She can answer the phone fine.
    One of Mums sisters rings about every fortnight, but she has told me that it is getting more and more difficult to knkw what to say also. She mainly talks about her grandchildren or the latest antics of one of their wayward brothers :D

    I even bought Mum a new phone a few months back as she was having difficulty with her cordless portable one, with numbers pre programmed.
    It has the top 10 peoples names besides a speed dial button. Mum finds it a lot easier to make a call, but it hasn't increased her desire to make one.
     
  7. 100 miles

    100 miles Registered User

    Apr 16, 2015
    109
    Cheekycow,

    I think you need to change your idea of a 'decent conversation'. I spoke to my mum pretty much every night for around five years. The conversations changed as time progressed and the disease took hold.

    For the last couple of years the chats centred around two themes. Boring for me...but at least she had a chance to talk and be listened to (errr...although that was often suitable noises while I explored the internet). She loved hearing about friends at work, and tales of children - her grandchildren, other people's, she wasn't fussy. And she could enjoy the same story again and again.

    I tried hard not to get cross with her when she wanted to impose her reality on me. I mostly succeeded but not always. Sometimes I got ratty even when I knew it would do no good and would only upset us both. (Sorry mum).

    It is difficult - but keep talking. It shows your love.
     
  8. Earthgirl72

    Earthgirl72 Registered User

    Feb 2, 2016
    136
    I feel so much better for reading this! I have to admit that I tend to cope with repetitive phone conversations with my dad by making sure that I have a full batch of lives on Candy Crush.

    We tend to just chat about the weather - always how cold it is. My dad is always cold. Then the weather in general, then dad's usually ready to say goodnight and away we go.
     
  9. CeliaW

    CeliaW Registered User

    Jan 29, 2009
    5,643
    Hampshire
    #9 CeliaW, Apr 7, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2016
    Hi, I spent many hours on the phone with Mum and tried various things over the years. Interestingly, the different "activities" all worked to a degree up to the point Mum went into care and then it was mostly the musical ones that she seemed to enjoy.

    Music:
    This ranged through me playing tunes to her over the phone, us singing together freestyle or me playing a tune in the background which we sang along to. Mum's Mum and Aunt used to sing in choirs and AmDram like Gilbert and Sullivan so sometimes we would talk about that and then play / sing "3 little maids from school" or similar. Mum also had a mouth organ and would play me tunes over the phone. Even when her recall of other things became very poor, she always remembered tunes and loved it when I woud clap and cheer after she sang or played.

    Places:
    I used to look up places Mum would know, mostly on the internet, and then talk about them. I would mention a road near where she used to live and ask things like "Were there any shops in Queens Road / was that near where you used to walk Wendy (dog) etc. " Depending how ingenious I was, the conversation could meander from places to people to what meals she used to have. It was all related to her past as, like you, I found it difficult to have a conversation about current things for any length of time.

    Words:
    We have always played word games as a family and had various ones. The most popular was topics (Boys or Girls Names, Towns, Animals, Fruit, Occupations etc) and you picked a letter and a person to start and then go through the alphabet - Mum: Acrobat, Celia: Ballerina, Mum: Chiropodist, Celia: Diver etc

    There became less and less of everyday conversation but we both got pleasure from the above - maybe they will give you some options. I knew Mum was enjoying it when she would ask for one more song or one more topic etc. Often the bedtime carers would turn up and Mum would want us all to sing together ☺

    Good luck x
     

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