Paula Spencer Scott, senior editor, writes extensively about health and caregiving. A 2011 Met Life Foundation Journalists in Aging fellow, she helped care for both...
Handle repetition in someone with memory impairment with grace and good humor -- and plenty of patience. Recent memory is the first kind to be impaired, so the person literally
does not remember having asked the same question or having told the same story minutes earlier.
Don't point out mistakes. This makes the person feel embarrassed, frustrated, or defensive and accomplishes nothing productive. Give simple, polite responses, even if they're the same responses you just gave five minutes earlier.
After awhile, try redirecting the conversation to a new topic. A change of scenery (such as changing rooms or going outdoors) can also break up a conversational jag.
If the person is having trouble remembering the time of an event, try writing it down and handing him the paper so he can refer to it. Some people with dementia prefer to carry a notebook in which they can record conversations and facts to jog their memory.
Have patience and remind yourself that this behavior is probably the "new norm" that you'll need to get used to. A sense of humor goes a long way.