Repetitive questioning and even repetitive behaviors can be incredibly difficult for you to deal with as a caregiver. For a senior with dementia, this might be a way of communicating with you even if she’s not sure how to do so. Dealing with repetitive behaviors and questions in a positive way is crucial for helping your senior as much as possible.
Listen for the Feelings Behind the Questions
Often what is behind repetitive questions and behaviors is a feeling of anxiety or discomfort. The repetitive actions or words are actually a way to soothe herself. Try soothing your senior and comforting her. This may help her to calm down to the extent that you’re able to determine what else she might need from you at that moment.
Double Check Basic Needs
Once your senior is feeling a bit calmer, it’s time to check for basic needs. She may need the bathroom, but be uncertain how to get there. Or she may be thirsty or hungry, especially if it’s been a while since she last ate or had something to drink. She could also be cold, warm, or sleepy. Eventually, you can become much better at distinguishing these needs.
Boredom can be another reason for repetitive behavior and actions. Involve your elderly family member in activities you’re doing, even if they’re as simple as folding some laundry. If there’s a hobby or activity that your elderly family member enjoys, try helping her to get started with it right then. You may find that she needed help getting involved in something else.
Leave for a Minute
Repetition is really difficult for you, even after a few minutes. You might find that taking a moment or two extra in the bathroom or in another room is a way for you to deal with the way that repetition affects you. These small breaks can help you to redirect your energies, too. Then, when you come back, you may have a different perspective on how to help your senior to let go of the repetition that she’s latched onto for now.
One solution won’t work every single time, of course. Over time you can hopefully become more accustomed to what repetitive questions and behaviors mean from your senior. Working with elderly care providers can help you to get to that point more quickly, too, because they have more experience with this sort of issue.