My mother repeats the same phrase over and over again. Is this a sign of dementia?

Asked by

When my mother gets agitated, she repeats the same phrase over and over again non-stop (like help me, help me, help me; or I need a drink of water, I need a drink of water, I need a drink of water). She does this when I'm in another room and doesn't stop until I come into the same room with her. Has anyone else experienced this with their parent? She has trouble hearing, so even if I call out to her before I can get to her, it doesn't do any good since she can't hear me.

Answers 1 to 10 of 26
Is this the only behavior that your mother has that makes you wonder about dementia?
Hi dianne1,

There is a article written by an AgingCare.com Editor that was already posted in our community. We thought this might answer your caregiving question.

What To Do When a Parent Repeats the Same Things Over and Over
www.agingcare.com/Articles/Alzheimers-disease-activities-games-139990.htm

We hope this helps. Please let us know if you need anything else and we look forward to seeing more questions and discussions from you.

Thank you,
Karie H.
The AgingCare.com Team
No, this is not the only thing indicating dementia. She does have dementia. But I was wondering if it is a common indication of dementia or perhaps something else.
Top Answer
My Mom doesn't do the repeat a phrase thing. She used to tell the same story or ask the same question like a broken record. LOL that's an old expression. In the nursing home I hear this all the time, One lady yells Help Me, another says I want coffee, another calls out her sister's name(which happens to be my Mom's name,whole other story), a man says nurse...nurse... etc. I really don't know what they are diagnosed with but it must be common for some type of neurological diagnosis. There are different types of Az/Dem. I would have your Mom see a neurologist for diagnosis.
I just saw on TV they have therapy dogs for elders who need attention and stimulation. Company may be what they are searching for. One woman at the NH has a baby doll who she kisses and holds and cares for, it's very cute. My Mother kidnapped the baby somehow. I have to look at the humor it helps.
I'd say it goes along with her dementia. Bring it up to the doctor at her next appointment.
Thank you for your answers. Yesterday I was getting alarmed by her entire being, and was fearful of something serious, so I took her to Emergency. All tests came out clear. But she was diagnosed with depression. Even though I have experienced a lifetime of depression, her symptoms were different than mine, so I didn't really recognize it as depression. So I have come to the conclusion, after reading the comments above, that the repeating is probably a factor of dementia, most likely compounded by the depression. I will mention it to the doctor at her next appointment.
get her a doll or several quickly to interact with. dont forget the clothes and diapers.. They have life size dolls for sale at walmart and baby clothes fits them.
my mom doesn't repeat a phrase, but will often repeat the same story as if she hasn't told me before...maybe because she doesnt have a lot going on? and probably because she forgets a bit also... maybe a combination of both?? not sure. this whole situation is pretty new to me...
Yes,folks with dementia will repeat the same story,stories over and over. In fact at times my Mom will ask if she told me this. One thing though you have to be very,very, careful of over medicating . I just went through this with my Mom where they over medicated her which made her sitiuation worse! They said she was depressed and gave her more meds. You NEED to keep on top of things in that department. One size does NOT fit all!!!!
My mom does not have dementia and does not exactly repeat herself a lot, but she does get fixated on a subject. Mom never did "ask" me to do anything, she would "tell" me what to do, exactly as if I were 12 years old again (not even old enough to earn a Real teenager's freedom), like getting her a drink of water or something that is just plain courtious. She 'tells' me to pick up her pills, or to get her a particular snack item at the store, etc. She fixates on how often I change the dish towel or whether the windows and doors are locked, etc. Only way I have come to grips with it is simply to just be patient and say "already done", or something, she says "Oh." in a disappointed way. I just have to humer her as she is no danger to herself or me.

Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support