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Mom Wants Someone to Talk To
Dave Cahail
Posted: Monday, July 8, 2019 4:21 PM
Joined: 6/24/2018
Posts: 41

My mother is in an assisted living / memory care facility with EO vascular dementia. Most of the other residents have more advanced dementia or alzheimers. Mom complains she has no one to talk to and carry on conversations except some of the staff, other resident's family members and my siblings, myself and a few other family members and friends. 

I visit her about once a week and talk to her once a week outside of my visit. My sister visits about once every two weeks and also talks to her about once a week via phone. My brother talks to her via phone about once every couple of weeks and visits about once a quarter as he lives in another state. Her sister calls her about once a week and a couple other friends call her every few weeks.  I also have a companion care person that comes in twice a week to do things with Mom. I am wondering if there is anything else I can do to help her have more fruitful conversations. I can't go more often as I have been the one in the past to make it possible for her to go home after hip surgeries and rehab - thus I am the fixer.

I have provided her with a list of family and friend's phone numbers but Mom doesn't call out very often - perhaps due to challenges with sequencing things (dialing phone numbers, following through on steps to do things, etc.) - she sometimes needs guidance and assistance to do these things.

I have talked to the staff and they do what they can to keep her engaged including helping them out with other residents and activities. I have also asked that maybe some of the volunteers who come to help can talk with Mom.

Has anyone else run into similar situations and if so, any suggestions what we might try to help Mom?

I know I am grasping at straws and that I can't fix this situation. But I am open to other ideas and possibilities that may help her. 

Posted: Monday, July 8, 2019 4:44 PM
Joined: 12/21/2014
Posts: 564

Although my dad turned it down, our county's Area Agency Aging would have sent a volunteer "companion" over to sit and chat with dad on a regular basis.  I'm curious to know if perhaps your county has something similar?  If I'm not mistaken, it would have been through Jewish Community Center.

Too bad I can't go ahead and sign up my dad and then send them over to your mom!
Dreamer Lost
Posted: Monday, July 8, 2019 8:18 PM
Joined: 3/7/2019
Posts: 448

Dave, my DH was always the talker in our relationship and still likes to talk a lot, although it doesn't make sense.  I respond if I can pick up on a word or two, nod, laugh, smile and he goes on and on.  If someone says hi at the store or church he immediately responds, laughs and tries to start a conversation with them. Your mom sounds like she was a talker too and misses it. Unfortunately others are not able to respond like a family member does so conversations are kept at a minimum and very short. I like romiha suggestion about volunteers coming to chat, one other poster made a memory book with family pictures and names that visitors could use to start a conversation with your LO. I also took pictures (simple 4x6, no frame) and hung them up in my father's room and staff would comment on them. I would change them whenever we had a holiday or event.  I have also found that my Dh responds better to FaceTime calls where he can see the other persons expression so is more engaged.
Posted: Tuesday, July 9, 2019 10:41 PM
Joined: 7/9/2019
Posts: 2

 Hi all, I’m new here and not sure if I’m in the right posting spot. 

In reference to kindness, I’m having a lot of heartbreaking issues with my mom’s (she has ALZ) so called friends dropping her off of their network. Some have even gone so far as saying they will pick her up for a party, not pick her up nor pick up phone calls and then not say even two words to her at the party that I ended up driving her to. She constantly talks about how she has no friends and before the disease this was never the case. The only friends and family who are wanting and willing to see her are far away (out of state/country). I guess it’s fair to say, we know now who the real friends are. Just heartbreaking on so many levels.

Does anyone have any insight on how to get your affected loved one interacting with more people other than the farmers market/hair dresser/ nail salon? I don’t know if she would fair so well in a daycare facility at this point since she still has many opinions but that may be my own doubts on the situation. She’ll be 71 in August, working on getting her lic removed and lives in the sticks. My dad and I drive her around now. Having her interact with people really uplifts her day. I’m just looking for other options that would keep her occupied and happy. Any insights would be so much appreciated, thank you

caregiving daughter
Posted: Wednesday, July 10, 2019 7:26 AM
Joined: 11/27/2012
Posts: 2126

Your family has banded well to stay very close to your mom. Other ideas are asking the home's social worker as to whether there are volunteers that could visit once a week. You could hire a companion 1-2 afternoons a week. You could bring in several possessions of your mom's each visit. Leave them behind for her to unpack, unwrap, or go through to occupy some time. Bring a small gift that she could open after you leave. Folks with dementia due have difficulty keeping up with conversations at times and become withdrawn. They can't put a finger on what the problem is, rather they just recall how many friends they had in the past. It could be that you mom is unable to initiate a conversations and similarly, other residents are unable to initiate and respond. It could also be that you mom looks at things negatively. My mother was beyond creative; however, would turn her nose up at art activities. So there may be some separating fact from fiction when she says she has no one to talk to.
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