Wednesday Workshop – How to Respond to Repetitiveness in Alzheimer’s
Hello and welcome to Wednesday Workshop. If your aging loved ones are anything like mine then they enjoy telling stories, sometimes over and over. It may be stories from their past or a funny joke they want to share, either way we stop to listen. However, there is a major difference between repeating stories and repetitiveness in Alzheimer’s.
Repetitiveness in Alzheimer’s is characterized by repeating a word, question or activity — or undoing something that has just been finished. In most cases, he or she is probably looking for comfort, security and familiarity according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Here are tips on how to respond to your loved one’s repetitive behavior:
1. Respond to the Emotions, Not the Words
When your loved one starts to repeat a question or action over and over, look for the feeling behind the behavior. Are they anxious about an appointment coming up? Are they looking for someone or something? Whatever it is, give them reassurance. Maybe they need to be validated or just talked to in a soothing tone. Figure out what emotion they are trying to convey.
2. Be Brief
Keep your response short and simple. It can save you time and energy and reduces your stress especially if you need to repeat your response 5 more times.
3. Distract and Redirect
Sometimes, the only way to get your loved one off a subject is to present them with a new one. Distract them with something they enjoy like a favorite activity or by offering a snack. This allows them to focus on something different, breaking the repetitiveness!
4. Escape and Recollect
It’s sometimes difficult to remain calm and collected when you’ve been asked the same thing over and over and over again. You’re human and your patience will eventually run out. It’s best to leave the room for a moment to recollect yourself. By the time you return, things will have cooled off and you will be able to handle your loved one with kindness and love.
We understand how challenging it can be to not snap at your loved one or get frustrated by the repetitive behavior.
Remember, they are not doing this on purpose, it is a symptom of the disease! If you need a professional to talk to about your loved ones behavior, then reach out to us here at the Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center. Feel free to call us at (877) 760-9199. Thanks for watching today’s Wednesday Workshop and we’ll see you again next week!