Alzheimer's caregivers: Dealing with repeated questions

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Alzheimer's caregivers: Dealing with repeated questions


My mother-in-law has dementia and repeats the same questions over and over. What is the best way to respond?

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Repeating questions is a very common behavior in people with impaired memory. Some Alzheimer's caregivers cope with this problem by answering the question each time — recognizing that the interchange is simply a way for the confused person to seek reassurance. However, this requires tremendous patience.

Another technique to try: If your mother-in-law has retained her ability to read, write the answer to the repeated question on an index card. Give the index card to your mother-in-law, and when she repeats the question, tell her — in a very matter-of-fact tone — to check the index card. After a number of reminders, your mother-in-law may eventually learn to check the card to receive reassurance, instead of repeating the question to you.

Last Updated: 07/21/2006
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