Ask the Alzheimer’s Expert: How Do I Manage Repetition?

Ask the Alzheimer’s Expert: How Do I Manage Repetition?

Alzheimer's Care

How Do I Manage Repetition?

Ask the Alzheimer’s Expert is brought to you each week by Elayne Forgie and the Alzheimer’s’ Care Resource Center.

Question:  My husband asks me the same questions over and over again and lately he keeps opening and closing doors.  How do I manage my husbands repetitiveness?

Answer: People with Alzheimer’s disease will often repeat a question, word or phrase over and over again. Sometimes, people with Alzheimer’s disease will also repeat a task or an activity on a repetitive basis.

How to respond to repetitiveness:

In most instances, the person is looking for security, comfort and familiarity.  There are a number of ways that you can respond to your husbands repetitiveness:

  • Try to focus on the emotion rather than on the behavior.  Is he crying or angry? Frustrated or scared?  Rather than reacting to what he is doing, first try to assess his emotional state.
  • Try to determine if there is a specific reason behind the repetitive behavior or question.
  • Try to turn the repetitive action into an activity.
  • Even though the constant repetitiveness of asking the same question over and over again is annoying, try to stay patient and as calm as possible.
  • Answer the question when he asks even if he asks it over and over again.  Remember that he is searching for something. Consider writing down the question and answer and putting it where he can see it.
  • Research the various memory aids that could help including clocks with the date; photo albums and calendars.

The Alzheimer’s Society has published a Fact Sheet on Unusual Behaviors  that you might also find useful.  You can view it here.