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How to Handle Repetition as an Alzheimer’s Caregiver

It’s common for people with Alzheimer’s to begin to repeat themselves as the disease progresses, including asking questions more than once. If this pattern begins to frustrate you, ask a few questions of your own to determine the best way to handle the situation.

Why is a Question Being Repeated?

Pinpointing the triggers of repetitious behavior can help you understand the people, places or situations making your loved one ask the same questions over and over.

For example, do loud rooms or too many visitors cause your loved one to be distracted or confused? Note the environment and what he or she was doing, watching or talking about prior to the start of the behavior, and identify and remove as many triggers as possible.

How Does Your Loved One Feel?

Since it may not always be possible for your loved one to find the right words to express his or her feelings, pay attention to the emotions that accompany the repetitive questions.

Is your loved one anxious, sad, angry or confused? Does the emotion intensify as the question is repeated? Approaching your response with the goal of soothing these feelings can stop the repetition and help your loved one calm down.

How Can You Answer Effectively?

Frustration or anger is never a good response to repeated questions. Your loved one probably has no idea he or she asked the same thing multiple times already, so answering in exasperation and emphasizing the fact you already answered won’t do anything except make him or her upset.

Instead, respond calmly, and see if you can provide a visual aid to reinforce your answer. For example, if your loved one asks where a particular possession is, you could say, “I think I saw it in the bedroom. Let’s go look together.” Getting confirmation of the answer may help lay your loved one’s concerns to rest.

Can You Offer a Helpful Distraction?

Sometimes people with Alzheimer’s get fixated on a particular idea or subject and can’t let it go. In these cases, a gentle redirection of the topic can help. Start by giving an answer, and then suggest the two of you do something else together, such as watching a favorite TV program or taking care of a simple chore.

Although repetitive questions from someone with Alzheimer’s can be frustrating, remaining calm and compassionate is the best way to address your loved one’s needs. Respond with a caring attitude, and continue to offer answers and reassurance whenever your loved one seems upset.

If you need assistance caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, Caring Home Care can help! Our certified caregivers can assist your loved with daily tasks as well as provide companionship, so your loved one doesn’t feel alone. Learn more today!

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