An individual diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease may perform or mention something over and over again, such as repeating a question, activity, word, or undoing a task that they have just completed. In many cases, these individuals are likely looking for security, familiarity, and comfort.
It can be heart-wrenching to see our loved ones struggle with their daily activities in confusion as they age. If you are providing care for a patient with Alzheimer’s disease, these conversational loops are no doubt frustrating and dispiriting. However, your frustration should not dictate the way you conversate with your loved ones. Read on as we share with you three tips on how you can respond to your elderly loved ones when they use repetitive words over and over.
Validate Their Words or Actions
Always keep in mind that your loved one may not be aware of what’s happening, or remember what you have said in an attempt to correct them. Therefore, attempting to reorient them back to reality may not bring any benefits. In fact, it may even make them more confused.
One way to respond to them is using the validation method. Rather than correcting and snapping them back to reality, acknowledge their actions or words and try to gently calm their anxieties.
For instance, if your loved one mentions that the wall is blue when it actually isn’t, does it really bring any benefit to correct them? Instead, you can agree with their statement and validate them without dismissing their thoughts.
Respond to Their Emotions
If your loved one repeatedly asks a question, it is important to remember that they may not be asking these questions because they want an answer.
On the contrary, they are seeking security and comfort, and the only way they know how to receive it is to repeatedly ask the same question or perform the same action.
Instead of replying to their words, which can undeniably make one irritated, you can focus and decipher the type of emotions that may be causing them to use repetitive words. Perhaps they may be feeling anxious. If they are, you can try to soothe them with a hug or comforting gestures while calmly answering their question.
Keep Your Answers Short
Regardless of how you may have dealt with the situation at hand, it is important to keep your statements simple and short.
It can be tempting to answer your loved ones the same way you would answer to anyone else. However, one should refrain from talking to someone with dementia the same way just like everyone else because it can be difficult for them to hold long conversations and keep track of long answers. They may not even remember what you have said by the time you have finished answering.
The shorter the answer, the simpler it is to process. In addition, this saves you energy, frustration, and time when you have to repeat your answer.
If you are looking for a memory care program for your loved ones, Rittenhouse Village At Valparaiso’s SHINE® Memory Care program is your ideal choice. To learn more about this program, contact us today!