How to Handle Repetition
A common symptom of Alzheimer’s and of other related dementias is memory loss and repetition. In this case, repetition is when an individual repeats things they have said previously. You may hear your loved one tell the same story or ask the same question within the span of a few minutes. This symptom can often be frustrating for caregivers and surrounding family members. It is easy to get frustrated when this happens. Family members may respond in an aggravated manner, which may confuse their loved ones (with memory loss) further.
Instead of becoming aggravate, follow these tips:
- Learn about your loved one’s condition: Every individual goes through symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s differently. It is important to read through relevant literature so you can anticipate some common symptoms that accompany memory loss. Knowing what to expect will help you respond to certain situations calmly and effectively. Ask your loved one’s doctor for any resources that can help teach you about your loved one’s condition.
- Respond: Just like any human being, your loved one wants to be heard and listened to. Even if you have heard the story ten times, validate what they say. This is as simple as acknowledging whatever it was they told you with a simple response, e.g. “Yes.” or “Alright.” Sometimes, the situation is not so easy to handle. You may have to calm your loved one down because they are afraid of a situation that may not be true. Finding the right kind of thing to say will vary from person to person, and only you might know how to respond best.
- Distract: After you acknowledge your loved one, try to change the subject that will draw their mind away from what they were talking about previously. This can be as simple as bringing up another story, asking them if they want to see pictures of their grandchildren, or anything else that may come to your mind.
- Redirect: Finally, this technique involves finding an activity to keep your loved one’s attention long enough to divert them. This can involve playing music, showing them pictures, playing their favorite movie, offering them a snack, making them coffee or tea, etc. This is an especially useful technique when you want to help your loved one calm down if they are aggravated or worked up.
Communicating effectively will help you avoid potentially frustrating situations for both you and your loved one. Also, expecting that your loved one will repeat themselves at times can be a helpful way to help you respond appropriately. Lastly, you know your loved one better than we do, so try to think of ways to practice the above techniques in your own way. We hope these tips will help you navigate this aspect of caregiving.
If you have any more questions, then please call ElderCare at Home at 888-285-0093 or visit our website.