The art of conversation

For issues specific to caring for someone with dementia.
My OH seems to have gone in to another stage now. He just doesn't speak to me or the family, sits staring out of the window and accepts food and drink. His morning helper manages to get a word here or there and the evening one tries hard but often gets no response.

This is even worse than his loss of memory, we can't get him to go out of the flat and if we mention it he almost becomes hysterical.

Just wondered if anyone else has experienced this as I am really trying to communicate but having no success.

Hi Iris,

Mum and I either have completely silent days or she just uses made up words so that I don't know what she is on about. This has been the situation since last August and it is unfortunatley another stage of Dementia. Depending on how tired I am, I either just sit quietly too or ramble on all day about nothing just to try and keep her mind active, but I don't really think there is anything that can be done. Our situation is different as Mum is not mobile at all, so I don't have the problem of getting her out of the house.

Have you tried looking at the Alzheimers website, they have a forum called talking point and although I don't post on there, it is very interesting and helpuful to read. Maybe people on there can help you about leaving the house or if OH is on medication for the Dementia.

I've realised that Dementia is a terrifying illness and very difficult to live with as sometimes you just cannot do anything to help someone's mind, its harrowing to watch and be helpless.

Take care
Blue xx
Thank you Blue for your help. I have had a visit from the Alzheimers Society but not used their site. I will do so soon. Thanks again


I am the full-time carer for my 69 year old wife, who has Alzheimers, she as just gone into the
little conversation stage, caring for someone full-time can be lonely experiance, but it is made
worse by the silence. The only thing I can suggest is to keep talking, make eye contact and smile.

Citygent thanks for replying as you say it is a lonely experience. I now have help morning and evening plus a sitter for 4 hours a week so I so get more conversation than I did. Strange thing is that visitors are scarce (except family) I believe that some people find the situation embarrassing.

Never mind the sun is shining now and things always look brighter then.

Thanks again Iris
It is hard isn't it Iris ? My Mum complains all the time that she never goes anywhere, never sees anyone. But when we do out (4 / 5 times a week actually) all she wants is to go back home again; and when people do visit she can't wait for them to go - it's a no win situation. Some days I really have to think hard for subjects to talk about to keep her interest - on top of everything else she's almost deaf now so I think that part of her problem is that she just can't hear what is being said (and she won't wear her hearing aid 'cos she says it makes everything too loud !!)
Thanks Susie, I keep getting told that OH shoould get out more but he just refuses to go. He has a wheelchair but almost goes mad when we try to get him in it. The only time he does go out is for hospital appointments and then my daughter and myself are completely shattered with the fight to get him there ans back. He won't even get out of his chair to go to the window and look at the flowers in the garden.

It is good to hear from somene who understands thanks again to all of you.

Iris, what about moving his chair to a different place in the room ie. near the window so that he can see out? Maybe move it after OH's gone to bed or he might see you doing it and get agitated about it being moved. OR instead of coming straight home after a hospital/GP appointment, why not go for a drive, have a detour off the major roads and explore some of the B roads and lanes? You can always put some drink in the car or a thermos or something like that for OH and yourselves. If you 'go off' for a bit after the appointments, they won't seem like a drag and the struggle to get OH to them wouldn't seem so bad. Our spinal unit is an hour's drive away, so we just 'make a day of it' when we have to go. On the way home, we always take the long way round, see some different scenery/houses/roads whatever, makes it more interesting and less of a chore to go. Just a thought. Love Fran xxx
Frandrake thanks for the advice anything is worth a try. Although I have been caring for family members since the 80's this is the first time that I have had to deal with dementia. I am on a learning curve now though and any new idea is helpful. Thanks again Iris
Frandrake thanks for the advice anything is worth a try. Although I have been caring for family members since the 80's this is the first time that I have had to deal with dementia. I am on a learning curve now though and any new idea is helpful. Thanks again Iris
Hi Imp - I got hold of a book from BUPA called "Caring for Someone With Dementia". It's free and you can order it through their website. I found it to be quite useful it has lots of useful suggestions for coping with someone with dementia; many of the things they suggest we already do - like keeping a diary and only talking about one subject at a time. It also tells you what to expect at different stages of the disease.

The website address is
best wishes