Coping with a Loved One's Repetitive Questions Caused by Dementia

  • August 21, 2019

A behavior Alzheimer’s caregivers often find most frustrating is when their loved one asks the same question over and over. Because the disease robs people of short-term memory, it’s a situation many family caregivers encounter. Finding productive ways to handle this behavior is crucial.

From identifying potential causes to taking a short break, we have a few suggestions for you to try.

3 Tips for Handling Repetitive Questions Caused by Alzheimer’s

1. Identify potential triggers

In many instances, there is a reason why an adult with Alzheimer’s disease is repeatedly asking the same question. If you can identify potential triggers and find a way to address them, you may be able to minimize repetitive questions.

If, for example, your senior loved one keeps asking when it’s time to go shopping, there may be something triggering that question. They might see your purse or car keys near the front door. By changing where you store those items, you may be able to prevent the questioning process.

2. Create structure in the day

An older adult who has Alzheimer’s disease may engage in repetitive questions when they are anxious or agitated. Both are common in people with the disease. This repetition helps to relieve their discomfort.

Other times, the behavior is a way of trying to figure out what is going on in their environment. Creating a daily routine and sticking with it may be another way to reduce repetitive questions and behaviors. It’s vital that productive activities be a part of that plan.

Here are some suggestions for productive activity for adults with Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Sorting and folding laundry
  • Dusting the living room
  • Looking through old photos
  • Tending to plants or a garden
  • Baking cookies
  • Completing craft projects
  • Filling the bird feeder

3. Respond to the emotion

If you pay close attention to the emotion behind the question, you might be able to determine the reason it is being repeated. Is your senior loved one scared, sad, bored, or lonely? Responding to the emotion, instead of the question, might help them move beyond it.

For example, if the senior sees you are busy doing tasks they associate with leaving them, it might make them fearful. A close hug or few soft words of reassurance may help allay their fears.

Respite Care for Adults with Alzheimer’s

Caregiving for an adult with Alzheimer’s can be overwhelming. It’s important to take mental health breaks on a regular basis. Ask another family member or trusted friend to visit with your loved one for an hour or two while you get out. If you don’t have anyone to help care for your loved one when you need rest, consider respite services. This short-term care option is designed to give caregivers a break.

Choosing Alzheimer’s Respite When the Family Caregiver Needs a Break shares tips to help you learn more about respite. Call us (617) 796-8387 with questions about respite care or to schedule a tour of a Five Star Senior Living community near you!
 


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