Alzheimer’s and Repetition
Alzheimer’s and other related neurological degenerative disorders have a unique set of symptoms which caregivers should learn how to manage. One of these symptoms is repetition, or when a loved one is repeating themselves by telling the same story or asking the same question because they cannot remember bringing it up previously. This symptom can be confusing for many caregivers like yourself, and responding can also be a difficult matter because becoming frustrated or annoyed may offend or confuse your loved one. In this blog we want to go over some steps to help you respond to these kinds of situations.
Follow these steps:
(1) Respond: This is the most important step. As frustrating as it may be, your loved one cannot help repeating themselves sometimes. Instead of becoming angry or frustrated, respond to them and acknowledge their statement. At times, your loved one may be repeating themselves if they feel scared, e.g. they believe someone stole their wallet. Reassure them that you will handle the situation, this response will work a lot better than getting angry or seeming annoyed.
(2) Distract: During moments when your loved one is fixated on an idea or event, and after you acknowledged what they said, the next step is to distract. Another way to think about this is to change the subject by asking them another question, like “Would you like a snack?” or “Would you like to come into the kitchen for some water?” Think about what could be an appropriate question for your loved one to distract them.
(3) Redirect: Finally, the last technique is redirection, or helping your loved one focus their energy on another activity all together. This is the activity that you suggested whey you were trying to distract them and change the subject. For example, if you ask them if they wanted a snack, try to incorporate them in the activity, like getting the food out of the pantry or helping you assemble a sandwich. Hopefully, this activity is engaging enough that it allows them to move on from the things they were repeating.
This three-step method is a good strategy to employ when dealing with repetition. Each situation will entail its unique responses. You know your loved one the best, so we hope that you can take this model and apply to your life.
If there is one more thing we recommend, it is this: Take time to learn about your loved one’s symptoms. Most of the time, the best responses to a crisis or problem come from those who are prepared. This means, talking to your loved one’s doctor about what to expect, or consulting with an elder care counselor for advice.
If you have any other questions, please call ElderCare at Home at 888-285-0093 or visit our website.