Two women friends

I did really enjoy my recent visit with my sister-in-law…she seemed more content and responsive. There were some crying moments but they didn’t last long. I comforted her as best I could. I wish I knew more about how to fill in the gaps in the conversation with her. What should I do?
-Christine

Try to keep the conversations light and as you would always have. Before seeing her, make a mental list of things she usually is interested in and have some stories to share. When there is a lull in your conversation, revert back to one of the topics you are prepared to discuss. Maybe you can share something that happened at church or work or a recent trip you took. Bringing up past times together can also be a nice way to include her in the conversation and give her the opportunity to participate instead of just listening. If she is able to walk, when there is a break in the conversation, you can ask if she would like to go for a walk which can bring more ideas for chit chat as well. The main thing is to just be present and keep her company. She may not even remember the conversation or that you were there, but don’t we all just like having someone to sit with us and know they care?

4 thoughts on “My sister-in-law is living with dementia. How can I fill in the gaps in our conversation?

  • Denise Evans

    Go visit with a plan in mind. Take a photo album. Plan an activity. Take music and sing together. Keep conversation simple and limited to her vocbulary. Never ask her “do you remember”. Just let her know you love her and give her hugs and hold hands. Touch is very important. God bless you.

  • Monica

    Why bring up the past?
    Won’t that frustrate the individual dealing with known memory issues????
    Just bring a deck of cards, or a checker board. Providing a hand held distraction may prove to be quite beneficial.

  • Sue Peterson

    Cannot recommend enough. “Creating Moments of Joy” by Jolene Brackey. Wonderful practical ideas. You will be encouraged.

  • Eileen

    Bring old photographs when you visit. She may recognize faces from her past and be able to talk about them

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