RESPOND to the emotion your loved one is expressing even when the words don’t make much sense. Laugh with them when something strikes them as funny, even if you can’t understand the joke. Or if you can tell that they’re anxious about something — even if you can’t understand what, exactly, is worrying them — you can respond to the anxiety with general reassurance that you’re taking care of things. Prioritize the emotional response over the logical one.
Or sometimes you do understand the anxiety your loved one is describing, but it’s not a reasonable fear. Instead of arguing about facts, trying to convince your loved one that they’re mistaken, address the emotion. It’s the emotion that’s most important.
COMMUNICATE as much in emotions as in thoughts. Your loved one might not understand everything you’re telling them, but they will understand the tone of your voice: your interest, your amusement, your earnestness, your loving concern. Emotional communication is often possible when logical communication is not.
REMINISCE about the past. Don’t say, “Do you remember...” and don’t ask questions. Just tell stories. Share the funny, the loving, and even the sad memories of your life together. In this way, you can tap into the emotional bond you’ve built over the years. The details may have slipped away, but it’s the emotions that matter most.