Many people with dementia often repeat sentences within minutes of saying something, and it’s tiring and frustrating for the family member or carer. Several years ago I did a presentation for 35 carers and asked them what their No.1 biggest frustration was caring for people with dementia?
Answer: “Residents repeating themselves”
I learnt early in our story that a person with dementia has a very, very short term memory. This didn’t mean a lot to me at the time until I worked out Dad was retaining information for only about 2-3 minutes before forgetting.
People would often ask me how do you put up with answering the same question over and over?
The best way I could think of to explain to others was to imagine the person with dementia has an etcha sketch for a brain. They use it for a few minutes, then it automatically erases the information every 3 minutes to a clean slate.
So how did this help??….I would expect Dad to forget what I had just said, and this totally helped me deal with it. I could then train myself to use short and simple sentences that saved my own voice and frustrations.
If you expect the repeated sentences to come, you don’t waste time and energy trying to reason or work out why the person is not understanding you.
Hope this is helpful for both family members and carers….