Coping with Repetitive Questions When a Senior Has Memory Loss

September 16, 2019

Repetitive behaviors, such as asking the same question over and over, are common when a senior has Alzheimer’s. The damage the disease causes to their short-term memory makes it tough for them to learn, retain, and recall new information. This means a senior may struggle to remember the answer to a question they have already asked, even if it was only moments ago.

While most Alzheimer’s caregivers understand their loved one can’t help this behavior, it’s nonetheless stressful and frustrating. Finding ways to manage it is important.

Repetitive Questions from Alzheimer's Patients

4 Ways for Alzheimer’s Caregivers to Manage Repetitive Questions

  1. Identify potential triggers.

In some cases, there is a reason a loved one with Alzheimer’s is repeatedly asking the same question. Trying to figure out what is triggering the question can help you find a way to address it. It may be something in their environment that is the culprit.

For example, a photo of a grandchild might be causing the senior to wonder where they are. Even though you answer that they are away at work or college, the older adult can’t retain that information. It may be easier to remove the photo from the room until the senior moves on to engage in a different activity and forgets about the question and photo.

1. Redirecting their attention.

Family caregivers also say redirecting their loved one’s attention can help to reduce repetitive questions. This involves giving a senior with Alzheimer’s something new to focus on. The goal is to distract them from whatever it is that they are preoccupied with.

For example, if a loved one with Alzheimer’s is repeating the same question, answer it and then quickly redirect their attention to something new. A chore or task like folding clothes or helping dry dishes might help them to refocus.

2. Provide opportunities for meaningful activity.

In some instances, repetitive questions are the result of an older adult being bored, anxious, or agitated. Repetition is their way of alleviating that discomfort. By providing the seniors with meaningful activities, a caregiver may be able to help them find peace.

Here are several meaningful activities that an adult with Alzheimer’s can do:

  • Look through family photo albums
  • Fold a basket full of clean towels
  • Sort of a deck of playing cards by color or number
  • Dust non-breakable objects around the home
  • Arrange flowers in a plastic vase

3. Take caregiving breaks.

Caregiving for an adult with Alzheimer’s is mentally and physically exhausting. It’s vital that you take frequent breaks so you can continue to provide good care. If you don’t have another friend or family member available to assist with caregiving duties, respite care might be a solution.

Short-term respite care at an assisted living community is designed to give caregivers a break. The older adult can stay in the community for a few days or weeks while the caregiver has time to restore their sense of well-being.

Memory Care at Legacy Senior Living

The around-the-clock demands associated with keeping a senior with Alzheimer’s safe can take a toll on a caregiver’s health. Despite your best efforts, the day might come when managing a loved one’s care at home is too much. That’s where a quality memory care program, like those at Legacy Senior Living communities, can be an ideal solution. Call us today at 423-478-8071 to learn more!