People who have any type of dementia may repeat themselves quite often. They can keep asking even the simplest questions. “Who are you?” “What day is today?” “Are we going anywhere today?” Once you respond to them, they may quickly forget the answer and ask you again, and again, and again. This can be frustrating for people taking care of seniors with dementia. Sometimes they can be so stressed after the same question is repeated numerous times and start yelling at the patient. Afterward, they usually feel guilty. It is not the senior’s fault they keep repeatedly asking the same questions, but the caretaker finds it very frustrating to repeat the same answer.
Why People With Dementia Repeat Questions
People who have dementia, especially Alzheimer’s, tend to repeat questions when they are frustrated, stressed, or afraid of something. They are often not sure what time of day it is, where they are, or what is going on. They are asking questions because they need reassurance, not because they need the information itself.
Ways to Respond When Dementia Patients Repeat Themselves
Pay Attention to Their Emotions
First and foremost, try not to get upset and be sure to stay calm. If you lose your temper, you won’t do any good. When a person with dementia starts repeating questions, try to determine their emotions. See if they are anxious, stressed, afraid, or worried about something. For example, let’s say they are in their house, but feel anxious, don’t recognize where they are, and keep repeating they want to go home. Sometimes telling them they are already at home won’t help. Instead, ask them to describe what their home looks like. What details can they remember? Perhaps this will help them to realize they are already at home.
Keep the Answers Short
When answering to people with dementia on repetitive questions, keep your answers as short as possible. This will save your time and breath, and it is less frustrating when answering the question all over again. The simpler the answer is, the better for you and the person with dementia.
Once they start repeating the same question, try to amuse them with something else. This will occupy them with something else, and they may stop repeating the question. Any activity you suggest will be good. Think about what they like to do, eat, or drink. Offer them their favorite beverage or food. Play their favorite TV show or movie. Distraction has proved to be one of the best ways to respond when elderly adults with dementia repeat themselves. You can also take their mind off the question by asking them a different question. For example:
- What is the weather like outside?
- What should we prepare for lunch today?
- Isn’t it lovely outside today?
Go Somewhere Else for a Few Minutes
It is difficult sometimes not to run out of patience when your elderly loved one asks you the same question all over again. In these situations, you may snap and start yelling at your senior. To avoid that, leave the room, take a deep breath, and just chill out for a few minutes. When you come back, you will have more energy and patience to handle their questions.
These would be four simple ways to respond. If you are taking care of someone with dementia, check out what things you should and shouldn’t do. Perhaps you are unsure whether your loved one has dementia or not, so make sure you are aware of the early signs of dementia. Dementia doesn’t need to be frustrating for caregivers, if you are prepared well and know what to do.
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