<img height="1" width="1" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1124406241028611&amp;ev=PageView &amp;noscript=1">
Ezra Home Care: Unwavering Support for Israel Against Hamas Terrorism and Its Backers
facebook twitter linkedin

How Do I Communicate with Mom When Her Dementia Affects Her Memory?

For years, she gave you life advice, but now she can barely remember the days of the week. How do you re-establish your communication pattern with your mom, when she can no longer remember simple things?


When forgotten words or a misplaced key turns into more serious memory loss, it can be difficult to re-establish how to communicate effectively with your parents. Some memory difficulties can be considered a normal part of aging; forgetting a word or name momentarily, only to remember it later, or making an unusual error while balancing the checkbook, for example.

But when daily functions become more difficult and illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer's start to impact ordinary life, it's time to develop a new communication strategy to ensure your mom (or dad) is safe and well cared for. Knowing what you're up against in advance will help create smoother conversations, with less frustration for you both.   

3 Tips About How to Talk to Your Mom Who has Dementia

  1. Give Mom your full attention

Don't try and talk to your mom from another room or while you're busying yourself cooking; sit together and make eye contact, minimize distractions (turn background television and radio off). These small, but important, steps will set the tone for a successful conversation.

  1. Speak clearly and succinctly

Try and stick to the “one sentence, one point” rule. If you have an important topic to chat about, such as managing Mom’s medication or appointments that need to be remembered, don't overwhelm her with information. One big topic is enough per conversation.

  1. Be patient - give time and then more time

When it's Mom's time to talk, make sure you give her the time she needs to finish her sentences, even if it's taking longer than usual. Feeling that you are being heard is important at any age, and conversations should be a two-way street. Remember that the role reversal of telling your mom what she should be doing is going to be difficult for her as well as you, so be sensitive to her feelings.

Dealing with a parent who has difficulty remembering things due to a cognitive illness can lead to frustrating and sometimes very sad conversations. Try not to take the fact that she doesn’t remember important details about your life and other confusion personally; in some moments, your mom may realize that she is not remembering everything as she should and will probably have intense feelings around this too. It is a sensitive time for everyone, but there are tips to maintain frustration-free conversations with your mom.

4 More Communication Tips to Help You Talk to Mom When Dementia Leads to Memory Loss

  1. Reassure and validate rather than rationalize

If your mom is confused and it's making her feel fearful or unhappy, rather than trying to rationalize with her, find out what it is that is causing her upset. Perhaps she is longing to be somewhere from her past, or is upset because she has become aware of her cognitive issues. Reassure her that everything is okay and that you are there for her. Tell her you understand how she must be feeling and let her know that you will work together to manage the situation.

  1. Don't minimize fears or worries, even if you think they are irrational

It's common for older people with memory problems to feel paranoid, suspicious or upset. Sometimes these fears or concerns can seem irrational to you and it's tempting to brush them off as such. But remember that these feelings are very real to your mom. Try to support and validate her feelings, even if you know that there is no real threat or cause for concern.

  1. Don't correct petty inaccuracies

Try to resist from correcting your mom every time she says something inaccurate, as long as there are no negative consequences. Confusing a neighbor's name or remembering the wrong television show in a story are minor mistakes and being corrected multiple times in a conversation could lead to frustration and irritation on both sides.

  1. Minimize pain by being fluid with the truth

As cognitive issues such as Alzheimer's progress, you will likely experience some difficult and painful times with your mom. She may start to forget who you are or talk to you as if you are someone else from the distant past. If, for example, Mom suddenly starts talking about Dad who has already passed away, rather than explaining over and over again that he is no longer here (which could be very upsetting to your mom), it’s ok to go along with Mom’s “reality”, explaining that your dad will be back soon.

Having conversations with your mom now that she is experiencing these memory issues, on whatever scale, is likely to be difficult for you. It can easily become an emotional and physical drain trying to keep on top of her growing needs.

Be kind to yourself, get as much help as you can from siblings and other support networks, and recognize the right time to start getting some more significant help to share the load. Home Care is an excellent solution for those parents who need some assistance to ensure that they are safe in their own home.

When the time comes, consider Home Care as an option; it means your mom can stay in her own, comfortable environment and enjoy a good quality of life while you will have peace of mind that she is coping with her day-to-day tasks.

If your parent has cognitive issues that are affecting her daily life but you don’t want her to move out of her home, it may be time to get in touch with our team.

Founded in 2008, Ezra Home Care offers live-in home care, 24-hour care, and hourly senior care.
All our caregivers are state-certified and provide services like personal carehousekeepingcompanionship, help with medication, and transportation assistance. We've spent 15 years refining our caregiver selection process to ensure families' peace of mind. Reach out for details and quotes.

Contact Us

or call us at 617-527-9000

You may also like to read
Alexander Schechter Jun 13, 2024
Companion Sitters for the Elderly

As we age, we often deal with more than just the issues that are caused by the gradual decline of our health – we are often faced with issues of loneliness, limited mobility and even the need for assistance with activities of daily living. One of the solutions for this issue is companion sitters since they provide both emotional and actual assistance that improves the quality of their lives.

Read More
Alexander Schechter Jun 13, 2024
24-hour Care for the Elderly in Their Own Home

We all age, whether we like it, or not, and while it’s not always the case, we tend to become less and less independent with age. It is important to discuss this issue with our loved ones to act appropriately if we recognize that they cannot take care of themselves anymore. If that proves to be true it is important to create a good care plan and discuss viable options — one of them 24-hour home care.

Read More
Alexander Schechter Jun 13, 2024
The Benefits of Live-In Care

Live-in care is a comfortable solution that many families choose for their loved ones, who have lost their ability to live independently. This type of care has several benefits that make it a more viable option over traditional nursing homes or even assisted living facilities — let's review them.

Read More
Most popular posts