9 Strategies for Dealing with Repetition in People with Dementia

Discovering what’s behind your loved one’s repetitive questions can help you manage them.

- Posted on Jun 14, 2019

9 Strategies for Dealing with Repetition in People with Dementia

This article is based on information provided by Home Instead Senior Care.

You may have found that your loved one repeats a phrase or asks certain questions over and over. He or she may perform a task repeatedly. Although these behaviors are a result of memory loss, and are probably not dangerous, you and your family may have a difficult time dealing with them. Children can be especially confused by this sort of repetitive behavior. 

While repetition due to Alzheimer’s can be frustrating to caregivers, you may be able to help cut down on the behaviors by finding out what is causing them. For example, your loved one might be doing things related to a job he or she used to have or to favorite activities. The problem may be a lack of structure or feelings of boredom. You may want to try the following:

1. If your loved one is continually asking a question, try to arrive at an answer together.

2. If he or she is repeatedly voicing anxiety over an upcoming event, avoid mentioning it until a short time before it takes place.

3. Reassure the person that he or she is safe and loved.

4. Try letting the repetitive actions run their course.

5. Ask questions about specific concerns—sometimes drawing out the conversation can stop the repetition.

6. Consider whether repetitive phrases or movements are due to noisy or stressful surroundings or boredom.

7. Make sure your loved one stays engaged in activities he or she used to enjoy.

8. When your loved one starts to repeat words or questions, offer a favorite treat or song as a way to distract.

9. If your loved one becomes fixated on an object, create a distraction and remove it.

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