As Linda Bernstein mentioned in her article, 8 Things Not to Say to Your Aging Parents, dealing with aging parents as their memory fades can prove frustrating. Despite our best efforts, we sometimes lose patience while listening to the same stories over and over, trying to track when conversations ‘go rogue’, and teaching the same skills repeatedly.

Here are a few tips that we’ve learned, while caring for older adults, for how to handle these situations in a loving and compassionate way.

When hearing the same story for the umpteenth time
Say “I remember you saying that before, which lead to…”  This lets them know that you’ve listened to them, and allows them to leap forward and add additional details or a relevant connection to the current conversation.

When teaching a technology skill
Instead of just showing the skill once, create a document with screen shots that can be referred back to when your parent attempts the task on their own.

When reminding about a name or elusive word
Ask them for a description instead of the exact word or name.  Often, they can come up with “Edith’s son”, but not the name.  Or, they can come up with the usage of a spatula, for example, but not the label.

I hope that these suggestions help you to turn your best intentions into reality when dealing with your aging parents.