Alzheimer’s: The One Sided Conversation
Have you ever tried to talk to someone who never answers back? Have you noticed how hard it is to keep up the conversation?
I’ve been realizing that the last few weeks when I visit Mom. She will speak now and then, but not often. Mostly she will just gaze at me, or look at something else. I will carry on a conversation, but there are days when I quickly run out of things to say.
It’s surprisingly difficult to keep talking when there is no interaction, no questions, no nods or shakes of the head. It’s easy to start repeating what you said. Then I ask myself if she knows what I’m saying. Perhaps in her mind she is thinking that I surely repeat myself a lot.
Is Reading a Connection
Some days I think I should read to her. Mom was always a reader. She loved mysteries, adventures, suspense. It might be another way for her to know I am there with her, conversing with her. I’m planning on trying it this week, so I will let you know how it goes. Even if she dozes off, she will know she is not alone.
I wonder at times how much she (or any of the residents in her facility) understands. If I chat on and on about something, does she wonder why I am doing that? Does she think I’ve gotten a little nutty? There is a tendency to speak to an Alzheimer’s patient as though they were a small child. But even though a person doesn’t talk, it doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t understand.
Thinking about that, I’ve tried to mature my conversation with those I speak with, to speak in a more normal tone. The goal is simply for them to be happy. Yet their dignity and self respect is essential as well. It is hard enough for a soul to be unable to care for themselves. It’s frustrating for them to lose a word they wanted to speak.
I guess I just wish I knew how much of mom is still in there. Maybe she would prefer I just be quiet!