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Managing Repetition in Older Adults with Dementia

By Kevin McClarren, 9:00 am on

Repetition is a common behavior among seniors with dementia. For a caregiver, it can be frustrating to hear the same word repeated constantly or to watch a loved one undo something that has just been finished.

Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality elder home care. Warren families trust in Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably. While it can be difficult to stop this behavior, it is possible to help your loved one address the underlying causes for repetitive acts.

Provide an Acceptable Activity

A senior may repeat activities out of boredom, and doing things such as opening and shutting a door can become a distraction for caregivers. When a repetitive activity is creating a problem, provide your loved one with an alternative. For example, your loved one may enjoy helping you dust or fold laundry rather than constantly rummaging through the silverware drawer. This activity helps your loved one stave off boredom, and it also promotes a sense of self-purpose that reduces other dementia-related behaviors.

Answer Questions in a Different Way

Some seniors with dementia tend to repeat the same word or question. While it is frustrating to have to hear the same question over and over again, it is possible that your loved one’s short-term memory loss caused him or her to forget your answer. Try restating your answers to your loved one’s questions differently and provide reassurance that they have been responded to properly. If that approach doesn’t work, try shifting the conversation after you give an answer.

Let It Go

Sometimes, seniors with dementia engage in a repetitive activity because it brings them comfort. For example, emptying a drawer and refolding the clothes before putting them back in repeatedly  may be your loved one’s way of feeling more organized. If the behavior is not causing distress or destroying property, it may be fine to let it go. Make sure to watch your loved one perform the activity so you can step in if he or she begins to experience distress.

Hang Up a Sign

Anxiety is common among seniors with dementia who worry about forgetting an important part of their day. Use checklists and other types of visual aids to help your loved one stay on track. For example, if your loved one frequently rummages through the medication cabinet out of the fear of forgetting a dose, showing the checklist log may help ease his or her concern.

If you are the primary caregiver for a senior family member and you need respite care, Warren, NJ, Home Care Assistance is here to help. Our respite caregivers are trained to assist older adults with a wide variety of everyday tasks, including meal prep, physical activity, and personal hygiene. We also provide 24-hour care and specialized care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s.

Fulfill a Physical Need

Being hungry, thirsty, or in pain can also cause repetitive behaviors. Keep your senior loved one hydrated to promote better cognitive functioning and reduce repetition. Providing a snack can stop your loved one from repeatedly searching the pantry. Making your loved one more comfortable boosts his or her cognitive health and can keep repetitive behaviors at bay.

A dementia diagnosis can be difficult for seniors and their families to face. If you need help caring for your aging loved one while he or she manages the challenges of dementia, turn to Home Care Assistance of Warren. Dementia care isn’t the only thing we specialize in. All of our hourly and live-in caregivers are also trained to assist seniors during stroke recovery and help those living with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s maintain a higher quality of life. To learn about our customized dementia care plans, get in touch with us at 908.450.9400 today.