Dementia is known to cause problems to peoples’ short term memory, which can manifest in them repeating themselves over and over. In most cases, when your loved one is saying the same thing over and over, they are not aware of it. On your end, it can be easy to become frustrated that your response is not addressing their concern or stopping the repetition.
This is where it becomes vital that you equip yourself with techniques that will keep any of your frustration from making your loved one upset and even more confused.
It’s important to note that repetitive behaviors in people with dementia are triggered by negative feelings like stress, discomfort, or fear. This could be for a number of reasons: being unsure of what is happening, feeling out of place, etc. Since the root of their behavior is emotion, meet them where they are with their emotions. This could be done with physical reassurance, like a hand squeeze, or a calm response that brings them the comfort they need in that moment.
Another important thing to consider is the length of your response. Because of their limited ability for comprehension and your smaller capacity to repeat yourself, it is best to keep your answers brief.
If the situation does not seem to get better with what you say, try distracting with an activity or another topic. You could bring up the weather, offer a snack, or even ask them to help you with a simple task within their abilities.
Lastly, with all of these suggestions in mind, it may seem like all the responsibility falls on you as a caregiver to be a shining example of patience and stability. Remember that you are human, and nobody has unlimited patience. If you have to take a breather, you will most definitely benefit more from that in the long run than if you were to try to confront issues while already burnt out. You can only provide the best support when you are at your best! So it is perfectly okay to cool off a little on your own so you can return to address repetitive behavior with even greater kindness.