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ELDERLY REPEATING THEMSELVES – IS IT NORMAL?

ELDERLY REPEATING THEMSELVES

IS YOUR LOVED ONE BEGINNING TO REPEAT THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER AGAIN?

As a general rule, seniors are known for repeating themselves.  Aging loved ones have a tendency to repeat the same stories, jokes, and memories from the past. In a healthy older adult, these tendencies, although perhaps annoying to family and friends are normal.  Most of the time, the healthy, older adult repeats themselves infrequently enough that most people just take a deep breath and put up with it.  Humoring an older adult in this manner is not troublesome or confusing.

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN REPEATING REPEATING THEMSELVES AND DEMENTIAL OR ALZHEIMER’S

However, there is a difference between an older adult who repeats themselves once in a while and one why may be suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s and is repeating the same things over and over.  It may be that they are repeating the same story, asking the same question many times throughout the day and often, within minutes.

DO I HAVE A DOCTOR’S APPOINTMENT TODAY?

There are common phrases repeated by elderly suffering from dementia.  One of them is “Do I have a doctor’s appointment today?”  In many cases, your loved one may wake up and ask this question and it would seem like a normal question.  But, if he or she were to repeat that question again in 5 or 10 minutes and then again in another 5 or 10 minutes, you might have cause for concern.  When this type of behavior begins to happen and your loved one is repeatedly asking the same question, they may be having trouble with their short term memory and it may be time to visit with his or her doctor.
I know first-hand how difficult it can be to live with someone who has suffered short term memory loss and is constantly repeating him or herself.  Owning Angelic Home Care since 2010,  I have witnessed elderly men and women who constantly repeat the same question over and over again or who can only talk about one or two memories and repeat them throughout the day.  As the aging process progresses, this repetition sometimes gets worse. I am fortunate that I didn’t experience this repetitive behavior in my own mom.  In her case,  she just became more and more withdrawn and didn’t really speak at all.  I may have welcomed her repeating a favorite memory to me during those times.

COPING WITH CONSTANT REPETITION

There are ways to cope with constant repetition when your loved one begins to display the behavior.  One of the biggest tips I can offer is to take a deep breath, count to 10 and realize they aren’t repeating themselves to aggravate you; they are unable to remember that they have already given you the message that was in their brain and they end up repeating themselves.  I try to always remember that this may be me one day. Their wiring is beginning to get crossed and in the early stages, it may be as frustrating for them as it is for you.  Another tip is to try to give them something else to think about when they begin repeating the same thing.  Giving them something to do with their hands is a great idea.  Ideas include coloring, working a jigsaw puzzle, clipping coupons etc.  This will get their mind focused on something else and will help them feel better about themselves and about “helping out”.

Elderly Repeating Themselves – Distraction is another tool to use when the repetition is about to make you crazy.  Mention the weather, the news broadcast, the garden, the grandchildren, old friends, your own aches and pains, just about anything to change the subject.

Elderly Repeating Themselves – Redirection is very similar to distraction, but may take more effort on your part.  Pull out and play some old movies they may have enjoyed, music from a genre they truly loved or an old photo album.  Ask them to tell you about the pictures, or why they like a particular song.  This may interfere with their thought process enough that the repeating stops (at least for awhile).

Your loved one may eventually get to a point where they are repeating the same statement over and over and over again.  This generally doesn’t happen until the very late stages of Alzheimer’s and may not happen at all.  In these cases, where your loved one cannot and will not stop repeating them self, there isn’t much you can do.  Talk to their doctor, it may be time to increase certain medications.  Make sure they are safe and secure and go to another room or outside to get away from them for awhile.  In extreme cases, my experience has shown me that the person is sleeping more and more and that’s when you can take advantage of the quiet and down time to recollect yourself and your own thoughts so as to be prepared if they wake up repeating again.

Watching our loved ones grow old and displaying signs of dementia can be a very trying time for family and friends and I wish you the best of luck. Remember, your loved one may display behaviors totally foreign to you, but they cannot help it.  If they could, they would.  When you find yourself about ready to explode, get some help so that you are able to take care of yourself!  It’s important that you do, so you will be able to be there for your loved one – so with that I hope I’ve helped answer – ELDERLY REPEATING THEMSELVES – IS IT NORMAL?.

 

Good luck and God Bless.

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