How to talk to a Parent with Dementia
I am not certain when mom got dementia. We live together and spend a lot of time together so I honestly did not notice it for a while. I am sure I was and am in denial at times.
Turn Anger into Compassion
The majority of mom’s life was caring for her family which involved cooking, cleaning and taking care of us. She is such a great mom. The first thing I noticed in this journey was she would get aggravated with me if I did not eat what she cooked. I am 57 years old and began a low carb diet a year ago. The majority of what she cooked was bread, potatoes, pasta. If I said to her “mom do not cook for me as I am trying not to eat carbs.” Well, she kept doing it and the conversation kept repeating.
Tips for Meaningful Conversations
First of all, I try to respect mom at all times. Her brain cells are dying and she cannot help how she acts at this point in her life. Focus on how you say things. This is difficult if you are tired and annoyed. I fail many times with this. Keep a calm voice and control your facial expressions. Do not give them many choices. This is something I did not understand at first either. Offer two things or choose for them. I know what she likes to eat or where she likes to go for the most part. Asking her too many things with choices gives her anxiety. Make sure you face your loved one when you talk to them. I have to raise my voice as my mom cannot hear well. Female voices are harder to hear than male voices.
Do not ask someone with Dementia a lot of Questions
When mom first got diagnosed with vascular dementia I found myself testing her by asking questions. I honestly thought I could make her snap out of dementia. It turns out this causes embarrassment for your loved one.
Working on my Approach
I am working on how I communicate with my mom. It is something I have to practice over and over. I want her to be happy and free of anxiety. You have no idea how many times I pray this is something she can snap out of and that is when I say the wrong things. When I am off work on the weekends she does so much so better. She stays calm and does not worry as much.
Keeping it Happy and Fun
I cannot allow myself to think about the future as it makes it too sad. When I look at my mom my heart is full of love and I miss the woman she was last year. I can see this disease is slowly stealing my mom away. When I go there and let sadness in I find it hard to snap back from that. I am lying to myself and sometimes I have to lie to her.
Extra Large Day Clock with Day of the week and date.
Never Argue with someone who has Dementia
I hear this over and over. I still do it at times and it does not turn out well. Deep inside I think my mom will snap out of it. I pray that I will always be patient and kind. I will tell you this dealing with this is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I love her so much and I want her back.