Do we sometimes forget that older people have ears and feelings?

Please remember that even though an elderly person may be experiencing some dementia, they still have ears and can hear. They still have feelings, and they still struggle to hold on to some self-respect and dignity. Follow the wise saying which my mother taught me many years ago: “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Recently, my husband and I visited a friend, Betty, who is her 80’s and experiencing some dementia. Betty’s daughter was also present and dominated the conversation with little regard for her mother’s feelings.  She talked, right in front of her mom, about her mom’s memory loss giving one example after another. One of her cruel illustrations was to ask her mother the name of her new granddaughter. Betty struggled to remember, and she just kept looking more and more rejected and sad.

When I had the opportunity, I turned to Betty and started a conversation letting Larry listen to the daughter.

We should remember the wise old adage: “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”  We should also remember that older individuals do have ears and feelings.

Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder is the founder of the Wisdom of the Wounded ministry. She lives in Holland, Michigan with her husband Larry.


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