Posted by: Bert Copple | December 12, 2013

Time and Time Again

“If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a million times…” Do you remember when your parents used to say that to you?

For families experiencing the repetitive behaviors that are often exhibited in people with Alzheimer’s, it may seem that, these days, Mom or Dad literally is telling us things a million times.

Repetition is one of the most common behaviors associated with Alzheimer’s. Fortunately, it is rarely harmful, but it can be exhausting for those who constantly hear or witness the same things from a loved one, day in and day out.

It is generally believed that repetitive behaviors are caused by the person with Alzheimer’s need for familiarity, comfort and security, so showing impatience with repetitive behaviors often does more harm than good.

Instead, at Home Instead Senior Care serving the Detroit metro, Oakland County, Macomb County, Wayne County, and Southeast Oakland County, these are some of the things we keep in mind when coping with repetitive behaviors.

  1. Focus on the reason or the emotion behind the repetition, rather than the behavior. For example, if a woman with Alzheimer’s is constantly applying lipstick, perhaps she is yearning for a time when she had more of a reason to primp.
  1. Provide an answer every time. As frustrating as it might be for you to answer the same question over and over, think about how frustrating it must be to not know the answer.
  1. Use memory aids. For many families living with Alzheimer’s, Post-It notes are practically wallpaper. Stick them around the house to answer FAQs like “Your dinner is in the fridge;” or “Alex Trebek is on at 6.”
  1. Find ways to work with the behavior. If a veteran has a habit of saluting but refuses to take a bath, incorporate his military memories into your routine by saying something like, “The General is coming so we all have to be ship-shape.”

For more information, please call Home Instead Senior Care serving the Detroit metro, Oakland County, Macomb County, Wayne County, and Southeast Oakland County at 248-203-2273, visit our website, or Like us on Facebook.

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