I’ve learned to stop asking questions, if possible. Mom’s vocabulary is very limited now. She simply does not understand most questions. Especially two and three part questions. You might be surprised to listen to yourself when you speak. So many of us ask a number of questions before the person can even process the first.
“What would you like for lunch, mom? Maybe you’d like a sandwich? Maybe just a half of a sandwich today, huh? You didn’t eat the whole thing yesterday.”
In the meantime, mom is still trying to figure out what lunch is, never mind what kind or how much. When my mother is up against this type of confusion she starts cussing. Her favorite words are ‘shit’, ‘god damn it’ and ‘jesus christ’. She’ll storm off into another room, maybe throwing something before she goes. Usually she throws her tissue, always in her hand, or sometimes, she’ll toss a nearby chair. At this point, it could be another half hour before she calms down enough to come back and eat lunch.
Asking one question at a time, and making sure she understands it before moving on, smooths the entire conversation over and allows for a relaxing, enjoyable lunch for all.
“It’s lunchtime, mom! I’m going to make you a sandwich. Could you come help me?”
Now, I’ve got mom into the kitchen and she’s watching me put out the lunch ingredients on the counter. Working together, we make our sandwiches. Mom watches what I do and then she does the same thing. (It’s much easier if we are both eating the same lunch.) We spread out mayo, lay the ham nice and neatly on the bread, then cover it with the second piece of bread. I cut the sandwiches in half. Mom loves yogurt now. She’s happy to choose her own if I show her where they can be found in the refrigerator. I add some chips and we head out to the porch to sit down and eat. She appreciates the help and always says thank-you.