Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up
Includes Expert Content
need help with how to respond
avatar
jkaze posted:
Dad is 84, early stages of age-related dementia, perhaps caused by Alzheimer's.

I visit infrequently due to distance/geography. So, I am the "stranger" when I visit. He knows me, but cannot remember things about my life, so continuously asks questions about everything from my kids' names, to how many kids they have, their names, their ages, to where they live, to how big my town is, to distances between towns, to populations of towns, etc., etc.

What I have noticed is that he cannot accept a comfortable silence. He must continuously ask questions, repeating the same questions over and over again in 3 to 5 minute intervals. Quite honestly, he reminds me of a child with ADHD symptoms, with no ability to sit or be silent or relax or attend for any length of time, needing constant attention and continuous activity.

Since I am not the one home with him, caring for him daily, I quite frankly find myself getting annoyed with his constant repeated questions. I have looked for ways to deflect the questioning, but have not come up with viable skills or ideas for doing so.

While I realize the need for patience and love, I need some ideas for dealing with his unending, repeated, and seemingly annoying questions and behaviors. Does anyone know any simple tricks for calming myself down, reducing my annoyance, with Dad?

Thank you.
Reply
 
avatar
ByHisStrength responded:
Your Dad most likely doesn't remember that he just asked the questions five minutes ago. My mother has AD and used to get stuck on ONE thing- over and over... It can be very annoying to say the least! You can try asking him different questions. Things about his childhood would probably be best - then at least you don't have the Same thing on and on. You may want to try playing some music - whatever type he used to like or there again the "oldie - goldies". This may help him not talk so much.
As for tricks for reducing your stress - deep breaths, walk out of the room for awhile, LAUGH - you must learn how to find the humor in some things or the stress and grief can drive you insane!, and lots of prayer. Best Wishes!
 
avatar
jkaze replied to ByHisStrength's response:
Thank you. I appreciate your thoughtful response. I will give your ideas a try.
 
avatar
Helene Bergman, LMSW responded:
Your dad is exhibiting very common symptoms of early dementia: restlessness and impaired communication. Both of these symptoms can be frustrating to caregivers and as you said, require both understanding and patience.

The restlessness, or 'agitation' as it sometimes called, can usually be ameliorated by activity or a low dose of a sedating drug. The latter option should only be chosen if the restlessness is very disturbing to him. Meaningful activity is the best solution and often a day filled with physical exercise, cognitive games (i.e. dominoes, cards, blokus), walks in the neighborhood, or a Day Care Program will decrease his nervousness.

His incessant questioning, however, will continue. It sounds as though his immediate memory deficits are significant so he cannot hold on to your answers. There are strategies to help with this too. Since you do not visit that often, you could make up a scrapbook with pictures of your home, a map, your family and any other items he obsesses on. Write a caption under each picture and his caregivers can use this daily to 'trigger' his memory; you can update this when you visit to perhaps redirect him when you are with him.

Silence with a person with dementia can be a meaningful time too but you may need to use a calming strategy (for instance music in the background, holding hands for touch). We so rely on verbal communication that when one loses their ability to dementia, caregivers must identify alternatives ways to communicate. An Adult Child Support Group could give you some ideas and recommendations in this area. ({www.alzheimerassociation.org}).
 
avatar
jkaze replied to Helene Bergman, LMSW's response:
Very helpful. Thank you so much.


Featuring Experts

Judith L. London, Ph.D. announces the publication of her second book, Support for Alzheimer's and Dementia Caregivers: The Unsung Heroes , with...More

Helpful Tips

SundowningExpert
Hi Everyone, I'm so gald to see that many of you find relief from sundowning after following the recommendations of your physician ... More
Was this Helpful?
13 of 13 found this helpful

Helpful Resources

Be the first to post a Resource!

Related News

There was an error with this newsfeed

Related Drug Reviews

  • Drug Name User Reviews

Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.