My dad has Alzheimer’s disease, and it causes him to ask the same questions over and over again. I know he can’t help it, but it is frustrating to repeat myself all the time.
How can I cope with my dad’s repetitive questions?
Kendra from Holland, MI
Coping with Repetitive Questions
Repetitive behaviors like asking the same questions are common symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. The damage the disease causes to short-term memory can make it difficult to learn, retain, and recall new information. This means seniors with Alzheimer’s often struggle to remember questions they have already asked, even if it was only moments ago.
Regardless, repetitive questions can be stressful for even the most patient caregivers.
4 Ways Caregivers Can Handle Repetitive Questions
- Distract and redirect
Redirection is a useful technique to reduce repetitive questions. Redirection involves giving a senior with Alzheimer’s something else to focus on. This is intended to distract them from their repeated question.
If a loved one with dementia is repeating the same question, answer them and then immediately redirect their attention. You can redirect them to anything from their favorite hobby to a simple chore, like folding laundry.
- Identify the trigger
In most cases, there is a reason why someone with Alzheimer’s is asking you the same question repeatedly. Identifying and addressing these triggers can be a great way to reduce certain questions. Sometimes, caregivers can prevent a certain question altogether by removing a specific item from their environment.
For example, a photo of their granddaughter may cause a loved one with Alzheimer’s to ask where she is. You may notice that every time they look at the photo, they ask about their granddaughter. By removing the picture, you eliminate the trigger that sparks the question.
- Provide meaningful activities
Sometimes, seniors with dementia engage in repetitive behaviors because they are anxious or agitated. Repetition is a way to alleviate their discomfort. Other times, they are seeking comfort in knowing what is going on in their environment. Caregivers can reduce their anxiety with a meaningful activity.
A few helpful activities include:
- Sorting old photographs
- Folding clean laundry
- Organizing stacks of papers
- Knitting or crocheting
- Take breaks
Caregiving can be overwhelming. It’s important to take breaks regularly to avoid lashing out. If you can’t find anyone to help care for your loved one when you need rest, you may benefit from respite care.
Respite care services, such as those offered at Heritage Senior Communities, give seniors a safe place to stay temporarily while caregivers take a break.
Be Understanding of Their Disease
Being empathetic for a loved one’s condition can go a long way in helping you cope with their repetitive behavior. Remember that your loved one isn’t asking you the same questions over and over again to annoy you. They are unable to remember that they’ve already asked.
I hope this helps you cope with your dad’s repetitive questions.
Memory Care at Heritage Senior Communities
Heritage Senior Communities provides specialized dementia care across Michigan. Our Memory Care Communities, including our Appledorn location, are designed to reduce stress and enhance the lives of residents living with memory impairment. Contact us today to schedule a private tour.