A Conversation.

Sponsored by Memorable Pets

Use code RWONDER for free shipping (up to $50 of shipping costs) on your next order! Click the Memorable Pets logo here to start saving.

Elizabeth* usually cannot speak. Her dementia has impaired her ability to communicate verbally, but she’s incredibly expressive. Often, if spoken to, she’ll make noises like she’s talking, smile, and motion with her hands. Every once in a while, actual words come out, and it’s nothing short of magical.

We “talk” constantly. I always talk to her, even though it’s a pretty one-sided conversation. She mumbles, nods, and sometimes says one word like, “yes” or “no.”

I approached her at dinner the other day and smiled at her. Elizabeth was pushing her napkin around on the table.

“Are you folding this?” I asked her, expecting, as usual, no real verbal response.

“I was trying to,” she responded, quietly.

I was stunned. The last time she had said a full sentence to me was four months ago. I was thrilled to hear her voice. Although she makes noises, I never get to hear what her voice actually sounds like. It was soft, rhythmic, and kind.

The most interesting thing about this is that she responded completely in-context. Elizabeth knew what we were talking about. This makes me think that, even though she can’t usually use words, she is responding to me in context every time we “talk.“

"I’m glad that you’re talking to me! I like talking to you,” I said to her, trying to continue the conversation.

“I do, too,” she smiled and nodded.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on email

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

rachael photo

Rachael Wonderlin has a Master’s in Gerontology and is the author of two published books with Johns Hopkins University Press. She owns Dementia By Day, a dementia care consulting company.

16 things poster
Get the FREE “16 Things” poster!

16 Things I Would Want If I Got Dementia

Get the FREE “16 Things” poster for your personal use—or better yet—your dementia care community’s staff break room!

I wrote this poem years ago, but to date, it’s the most popular piece I’ve ever created.

16 things poster