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What to Do When Seniors with Dementia Repeat Themselves

The physiological changes occurring in the brain as a senior ages are responsible for various symptoms of cognitive impairment, including personality changes and memory loss. The damage to neurons, connections between neurons, and vascular tissues commonly disrupt short-term memory, long-term memory, and the processes that connect the two types of memory together. This often manifests as repetitive speech.

If your senior loved one has dementia and frequently repeats him or herself, you may not know how to manage the behavior. Many families have no experience in specialized home care for seniors, which can make life a bit more challenging when an elderly loved one is diagnosed with dementia. The Boca Raton, FL, dementia care experts at Home Care Assistance are here to help. We designed a program called the Cognitive Therapeutics Method, which uses mentally engaging activities to slow the progression of dementia, and all of our live-in and respite caregivers are expertly trained in dementia care.

Here are a few things caregivers and other family members can do to address dementia-related repetition.

Remain Calm

Understand the cause behind your loved one’s behavior and realize he or she is likely not aware of it. Be patient. If repeatedly asked a question, be compassionate and supply the answer. Try distraction, redirection, or validation to help manage the symptom.

Use Distraction

When your loved one repeats words, phrases, or statements, try changing the subject. Start a conversation about his or her grandchildren, a friend, a neighbor, or a current event. You could also talk about a subject that interests your loved one, such as a favorite hobby or activity. Distraction may help jolt your loved one’s thought processes so he or she can focus on another topic. If your loved one seems bored, encourage participation in an activity that might recapture his or her focus. Simple distracting activities include taking a walk outdoors or putting a puzzle together.

Sometimes caregivers find it challenging to use these strategies to address dementia symptoms in their loved ones. Maintaining a high quality of life can be challenging for some seniors, but professional caregivers can help them obtain this goal. Families can trust in Boca Raton, FL, senior care experts to help their elderly loved ones focus on lifestyle choices that increase the chances of living a longer and healthier life.

Redirect

Redirection is similar to distraction. When your loved one becomes repetitive, consider turning on his or her favorite music, or watch DVDs of a favorite old TV show. The idea is to turn your loved one’s attention elsewhere. You could also take out a photo album and begin a conversation about past family activities or loved ones. Because dementia often takes longer to affect long-term memory, your loved one may enjoy the time spent reminiscing. If the repeated topic revolves around dates, times, and other related topics, placing calendars, clocks, and notes posted in clear view may help.

Validate the Repeated Statement

Depending on the topic that is causing your loved one to obsess, validation may solve the issue. Simply agreeing to the statement your loved one is repeating may cause him or her to change the subject. However, if the chosen topic causes visible anger, anxiety, or fear, try reassuring your loved one and dissuading his or her train of thought. Otherwise, intervene with distraction or redirection.

Detect Possible Patterns

Determine if the behavior occurs at specific times during the day or under particular circumstances. If your loved one is tired, hungry, or uncomfortable, cognitive impairment may be interfering with his or her memory of how to correctly express a need.

Share Your Feelings with Others

Spending time with a loved one who has dementia and is repeating him or herself can be exhausting. Sharing your frustration with family members or friends can help you decompress. Consider finding a community or online support group of people in a similar situation as yours and share your experience. Support groups can provide much-needed understanding, and they are also a great source of information.

If caregiving is overwhelming and frustrating for you, consider hiring a trained caregiver. There are a variety of ways your senior loved one can benefit from having a caregiver in Boca Raton. Professional in-home caregivers are trained to assist with meal prep, mobility and exercise, personal hygiene tasks like bathing and grooming, medication reminders, and much more. Call Home Care Assistance today at (561) 826.9282 to learn more about our senior care plans.