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Old 07-04-2014, 06:21 PM
 
Location: Tucson for awhile longer
8,872 posts, read 13,545,637 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by in_newengland View Post
I like the suggestion about asking her what she did yesterday or today. You could also say, "Let's not talk about the past, let's talk about now."
This is a good suggestion. I have to employ it all the time with my mother who is closing in on 90 and lives with me. She loves nothing more than to talk about her childhood, her school career, her early dating days, etc. She wants to talk about specific dresses she wore to certain events, her favorite teachers, the games she played in the old neighborhood. As if I couldn't relate these stories myself as I have heard them all a hundred times, in the nine years she's lived here, if not before that.

I've made a rule for myself. I sit with her for at least an hour early in the day when her mind is sharp and then again at night closer to her bedtime. She knows she has my undivided attention at those times (not that she doesn't have my attention at every other hour, but I might be trying to get some work done simultaneously). When she starts in on the old days, I interrupt and say, "It's OK if you want to walk down memory lane, Mom, but shouldn't we talk about planning your meals for the rest of the week?" or "What did your sister have to say when she called you this morning?" or some other topic actually pertinent to the present. Those kind of cues usually snap her out of the reverie she gets into. Sometimes it obviously annoys her, so I throw in something like, "Anyway, I already know the story about how you got into first grade a year early, so tell me what you read in the newspaper today." That lets her know I'm not rejecting the thing she wants to tell me, I already know it. Because she really does seem to think she's never before told me this ancient history.

Or perhaps the OP can speak with her friend more often, but keep the calls shorter. Call and say, "I can only talk for 10 minutes, Marge, but I just wanted to check in on you." Two shorter calls a week instead of one long one can let this friend know you care without giving her the message that you have unlimited time to indulge this habit a lot of elders seem to have.

Personally, I don't even think it's good for elderly people to go on and on about old memories. While it might be pleasant for them, their brains are on automatic pilot when they're doing it. They aren't connecting to their current surroundings, which is the thing that actually keeps them healthily engaged. The only difference is if they are relating something no one ever heard before. Then it's important for us to listen.
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Old 07-05-2014, 12:10 AM
 
14,258 posts, read 23,979,216 times
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My initial reaction is when you have friends from years ago, how do really keep a long on-going relationship when your lives are very different?

For example, if I call my high school buddy, the three topics are:

Have you seen any of our old classmates?
How are the wife and kids??
How is your practice gone?

Once you get past that, I don't have much else to talk about.
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Old 07-05-2014, 08:29 AM
 
Location: in the miseries
3,302 posts, read 3,578,241 times
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I have a friend from when we were born in the hospital at the same time.
Our parents were neighbors. While we are not as close as we were, we keep in touch
Weekly. Have quite a bit to text or say.
Very comforting to know someone who KNOWS where I come from and
I can call with any emergency.
Neither one of us has dementia yet.
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Old 07-07-2014, 11:53 AM
 
Location: USA
1,815 posts, read 2,242,275 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jukesgrrl View Post
This is a good suggestion. I have to employ it all the time with my mother who is closing in on 90 and lives with me. She loves nothing more than to talk about her childhood, her school career, her early dating days, etc. She wants to talk about specific dresses she wore to certain events, her favorite teachers, the games she played in the old neighborhood. As if I couldn't relate these stories myself as I have heard them all a hundred times, in the nine years she's lived here, if not before that.

If I could, I would visit your mother and sit with her. These are the kinds of stories I love to hear from older people -- the dresses, the games, her dating years, just how their day to day life was in their childhood and early adult years.
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Old 07-08-2014, 11:39 AM
 
Location: SW US
2,218 posts, read 2,034,108 times
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I love learning about life when my mother was growing up. She never talked much about it until she got very old and seemed to remember past times more than the present.
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Old 07-08-2014, 12:37 PM
 
2,429 posts, read 3,222,625 times
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I'm wondering wether it's early dementia as well.

Life can be boring that still doesn't mean you bring up the same topics again and again, or keep talking about the past.

But even so, the OP has been given some great suggestions on keeping the conversation 'current."
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Old 07-09-2014, 06:07 AM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,969,510 times
Reputation: 15649
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jukesgrrl View Post
This is a good suggestion. I have to employ it all the time with my mother who is closing in on 90 and lives with me. She loves nothing more than to talk about her childhood, her school career, her early dating days, etc. She wants to talk about specific dresses she wore to certain events, her favorite teachers, the games she played in the old neighborhood. As if I couldn't relate these stories myself as I have heard them all a hundred times, in the nine years she's lived here, if not before that.
I've coached the memoirs of four elderly people—all about growing up (two on unique kinds of farms during the 20s and 30s). They were all age 80+ when we started the writing. Two of them wrote the whole thing with just some of my prompting and editing. The two others I sat with and they reminisced verbally while I wrote their story. We made them into attractive illustrated (photos, etc) books printed in limited quantities for their families and friends. Three have since passed away and their books are a legacy. There's lots of info on the Net about how to help elders write their memoirs. It's a good idea to keep a focus, or the material gets out of hand very quickly. Growing up on the farm, my life as a teacher, my travels, etc.
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Old 07-09-2014, 06:10 AM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,969,510 times
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Sorry to have gone off topic, above. But it kind of relates to the OP. I'd much much rather talk to a friend about her life experiences, especially her years growing up, than about trivia and gossip. I also like to see a friend's photos from the past (NOT their grown kids and grandkids, but photos from when they themselves were young). It creates a special kind of bonding. But that's rare; few people want to share their real lives with others.
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Old 07-09-2014, 09:33 AM
 
496 posts, read 520,987 times
Reputation: 1626
Communicate via email....hit delete, no more problem and no hurt feelings
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Old 07-12-2014, 05:00 AM
 
Location: in the miseries
3,302 posts, read 3,578,241 times
Reputation: 3810
If I get get an email I'm sure I won't like I just delete it.
If I don't read it I won't be upset for days.
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