My mom has medium dementia but what makes it worse is she has really bad hearing. We buy her hearing aids and she won't leave them in her ears. She has lost numerous pairs at great expense. We have tried all types of boxes for storage and she still loses them. She refuses to wear any kind of head sets or microphones on her body. She can no longer hear the television or hear anyone. I don't know how to help her anymore. Her lack of communication just isolates her more.

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A lot of people with dementia lose the opposite, which is their ability to communicate using words. When I have a person with dementia who has aphasia (doesn’t speak or has great difficulty speaking) we “communicate” by way of gesturing and nonverbal, physical motions. I once had a resident who mimed laughing, which was funny in its own way. Maybe you can find some way to communicate with her using what you do have: physical touch and eyesight, to get your point across. Honestly, when it comes to TV, a lot of people with dementia can’t follow the storylines, anyway!

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

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