Can't Even Have a Conversation Anymore

I'm the caregiver for mom, age 94. I'm 56. We can't converse about anything anymore because she can't remember one sentence to the next. She can't hold a thought, it's like sand running through her fingers.

No matter how slow, simplistic, calm and purposeful I say it, the very next thing out of her mouth shows me that none of what I said, stuck. It's gone the moment I say it.

I watch her scrunch up her face and it looks like she is listening really hard and comprehending, so I say a couple words and let that filter in, then I try a few more words.

When I'm done I ask her, did you get what I said? I don't say this sarcastically, I just ask the question. Every time she says yes and may even respond appropriately for that brief moment, but within 30 seconds she will start the whole conversation over and I realize nothing stuck.

It's like that old joke, "who's on first?" by Abbot & Costello.

It's so aggravating, annoying, frustrating and even though I try to remain calm and stuff my anger, I just want to scream!!!

I know it's not her fault and she really has no memory of what we just said, but having to live with her I'm either totally stressed by trying to communicate with her or totally lonely by living with someone and never being able to even have a conversation.

It's gotten so bad that we go whole days without much more said than hi mom in the morning, what do you want for lunch, I'm going to the store or goodnight mom. I feel bad seeing her sitting in her chair all day just watching TV and I try to get her out of the house but to not be able to talk with the person that you make your home with is so awful.

And of course she is totally unaware of the whole situation and if you dare say, I just told you that, don't you remember?? She will say of course I remember, all indignant, like I'm just being mean, and then goes on to say something that has nothing to do with what we were talking about!

It's a lose-lose situation for me, I can't win either way because she doesn't even know there's an issue to be resolved nor is she capable of resolving it.

Anyone else dealing with this and how are you dealing with it? Because I'm not dealing with it well at all.

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I understand how you feel
by: Anonymous

Yes, my ex-husband's mother is exactly like your mom. She is 94. Remembers nothing said 30 seconds before, asks the same questions over and over at least 50-100 times a day, talks about stuff that happened 80 years ago like it's happening now, refuses to bathe or change clothes without a fight.

But it's not their fault.

It's very, very sad. And it's a lonely, depressing, emotionally draining, tormenting, exhausting existence for the caregiver who undertakes this responsibility 24/7.

I understand you, but people who've never gone through an experience like this cannot relate -which causes deeper feelings of isolation. Sitting around watching a parent you love waste away and can no longer have a conversation with, is not on many people's list of a having a good time.

It's a sad reality, though, one many of us never thought about in our youth. Please know you're not alone!

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