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Repetition and Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer's and Repetition

Is your loved one with Alzheimer’s saying or doing the same thing over, and over… and over? The Alzheimer’s Association’s website has some helpful information as to why this is happening, and how you can respond to help make things easier.

Causes

Unfortunately, deterioration of brain cells is causing behavioral symptoms like repetition; he or she simple doesn’t remember that the question has already been asked, or the task has already been completed.

As well, the individual’s environment may be causing insecurity, frustration, or anxiety, so it’s up to their caregiver to monitor their comfort and anticipate their needs, as their communication skills will continue to decline.

Responses

  • Look for a reason behind the repetition. Does the repetition occur around certain people or surroundings, or at a certain time of day? Is the person trying to communicate something?

  • Focus on the emotion, not the behavior. Rather than reacting to what the person is doing, think about how he or she is feeling.

  • Turn the action or behavior into an activity. If the person is rubbing his or her hand across the table, provide a cloth and ask for help with dusting.

  • Stay calm, and be patient. Reassure the person with a calm voice and gentle touch. Don't argue or try to use logic; Alzheimer's affects memory, and the person may not remember he/she asked the question already.

  • Provide an answer. Give the person the answer that he or she is looking for, even if you have to repeat it several times. If the person with dementia is still able to read and comprehend, it may help to write it down and post it in a prominent location.

  • Engage the person in an activity. The individual may simply be bored and need something to do. Provide structure and engage the person in a pleasant activity.

  • Use memory aids. If the person asks the same questions over and over again, offer reminders by using notes, clocks, calendars or photographs, if these items are still meaningful.

  • Accept the behavior, and work with it. If it isn't harmful, don't worry about it. Find ways to work with it.

  • Share your experience with others. Join ALZConnected, our online support community and message boards, and share what response strategies have worked for you and get more ideas from other caregivers.

Thank you to the Alzheimer’s Association for these tips.