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Sep 10

How to handle Repetitive Questions

5 comments

My loved one is always asking what day it is. Many times I will answer the question. After the 5th or 6th time it gets very frustrating. My question, is how do I handle this situation without getting frustrated? Often times I will try to distract or re-direct but she keeps coming back to the same question. Do I just need to get over it?

Sep 10

Hello Amy,

 

My dad did the same and I would get frustrated as well. But then I realized that he was just trying to orient himself in some way, even though he didn't retain the information. At the beginning my dad went through a phase where he realized that something was happening to his mind and he was trying to control it and maybe even stop it. And then he got to the place where it seemed that he no longer knew what he didn't know, or so I thought.

I don't think my dad ever really could grasp what was happening to his thoughts and his mind and that he could not control it, he just was not able to articulate his frustration like he did in the beginning. He tried so hard to stay on top of what day it was, who I was, but there were days he just didn't know, and he hated those days. So he would ask a question over and over trying to grasp a moment of clarity. Once I understood his frustration and maybe even his fear, it was easier to be more patient with him. Didn't mean it was any less frustrating for me, i just realized it was much more frustrating for him.

Thank you Mrs. Obrien. That is very nice perspective. "Seeking a moment" of clarity does help me understand what is happening. It is a very sad disease and very hard for our LO's as well.

 

How did you deal with the very frustrating days?

Sep 11

Lots and lots of praying..really. I often wanted to cry, and did. I just had to keep in mind that my dad was struggling with so much loss. Not just loss of his memory, but loss of his independence, loss of his ability to make his own decisions and then the loss of his wife, and really since his children were so far away, he really ended having to manage the loss of his children, except for me.

So I had to constantly remind myself that it is hard for me to watch the man I knew to be my dad, become just a shell, it was harder for him. I could get up and walk away from the situation, he could not.

I was also really blessed to have wonderful caregivers for my dad, who genuinely loved him and so that made it easier to know he was in good hands when I was not there. Finally, I found things for him to do to keep him occupied. For a while it was TV but it became difficult for him to follow what was happening. And then I got him a child's puzzle, because he and my mom used to like to put puzzles together when they were younger, and he loved it. So I kept him in supply of plenty of puzzles, none too difficult (and he would often be banging on a piece to get it to fit), but he loved doing them. And everyone from the caregivers to his fellow patients would help him with it. He was always so proud when he finished one. There were about 5-6 of them that we glued to a piece of cardboard to hang in his room. That kept him occupied and his mind off his frustration. When he was less frustrated and agitated so was I.

Hi Ms. Jackson,

 

I'm Marie and I am a nurse educator hired with Upward Care. It does sound frustrating to see your loved one ask the same question(s) throughout the day. Mrs O'Brien has a lot of very good points to offer. I have experience with working with patients who ask a lot of the same questions over and over. One thing as a nurse we often have same routines. Feeding, grooming, t.v. time and activities are done at the same time everyday, each day. We remind the patients where they are in several ways.

 

One way is through music that they love. Music creates an anchor to a memory that the brain has not forgotten as hearing is the last part of the brain to lose connection. Playing music at the same time, each time, 5 minutes before an activity can improve awareness and concentration and focus. Second, writing on poster boards and placing these memory devices on our loved one's wall can help grasp time and space. A dry erase board with the date can ease a lot of anxiety. A personalized poster with photos of family and friends and their names helps to remember faces, names and relationships.

 

Thirdly, we grasp on to things we find interesting. Open up with conversation that states who your loved one is and what they do. Many people find this is comforting to them. For example, 'You are the mother of two children and you love to sing." The person often responds with familiarity or relief that they are being told. Also add, it's (the time) and we always do this at this time. Keep to routine.

 

Use calendars to help your loved one find the date. Ask them to place a mark to signify their presence in helping themselves discover what day it is. Try your best to encourage them to do activities that relieve stress and increase their own awareness. When they participate in their awareness it encourages them and decreases frustration in both parties. I wish you all well and thank you for reaching out!

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