What's the best way to handle repetition in someone with dementia?

4 answers | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
Caring.com staff asked...

What's the best way to handle repetition in someone with dementia?

Expert Answers

Paula Spencer Scott is the author of Surviving Alzheimer's. A Met Life Foundation Journalists in Aging fellow, she writes extensively about health and caregiving; four of her family members have had dementia.

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.

Community Answers

Rosita. answered...

i feel like iam the one who is sick.and not her.so depressing,this has ruined my personal relationships.

Cheryle elm answered...

seeing people and things that are not there

Pugmom99 answered...

Let the person talk. Don't comment unless you are asked a direct question. Sometimes they will just "run out of gas" on the subject if they feel someone has listened.