Alzheimer’s World — Accepting Repetitive Behavior as the New Normal
By: Bob DeMarco
Seven long years. For seven long years I have been trying to come up with a good answer to a question I get asked almost every day — how can you stop a person that has Alzheimer’s disease from asking me the same question over and over? How can you stop a person suffering from Alzheimer’s disease from engaging in the same behaviors over and over?
Help me. Not so long ago we enlisted the advice of a geriatric psychiatrist to help us come up with a solution to a problem — the Alzheimer’s patient was shaving four times a day.
The simple solution:
One way to reduce the behavior is to remove all shaving equipment from the home….no access to razors and shaving cream, no shaving. If the person truly has Alzheimer’s disease and is at least in the moderate stage, they may likely forget about the shaving and look to something else to fulfill whatever unmet need the shaving represented to the person.
I liked that solution. I liked it because it never dawned on me. I liked it because I learned an important lesson.
But what do you do when someone keeps asking you what day it is? Or, any other repetitive question? Ignore them? Might work.
Do as I did?
I put the newspaper in front of my mother, Dotty, every morning and ask her the day and date before she had a chance to ask me. Sometimes I have to coach her to the top of the newspaper to find the information. I usually do this more than once in day.