What do I do about constant repeated questions?

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My mother's dementia and short term memory have been going for the past four years since I moved back in with my parents to care for them in 2011. It was manageable then, but my mother's condition has gotten dramatically worse in the past few months. Lately, she continues to ask the same questions over and over. Part of this is due to the fact that my father has been in a rehab facility since December due to a horrible UTI, although he's greatly improving and should be home soon. She constantly asks where he is which, I guess, is normal and I feel compelled to tell the whole story. Sometimes she doesn't believe me, but most of the time she accepts it. Lately she's been constantly asking where her son Charlie is. That's me. I try to remind her that I am Charlie, her usual reaction is, "Yes, I know that, but where's Charlie?". I can't understand this and I don't know how to answer it and she asks this, as I said, over and over. Also she asks where her parents are, if there's anyone else living with us in the house and other questions constantly. Yesterday I almost snapped because this had continued for hours on end, but then I felt guilty that I was feeling aggravated. I know it's not her fault, but I feel frustrated and then guilty with myself that I feel frustrated and don't have more patience. Yesterday I went over to a neighbor's house, a good friend who used to work in nursing homes, just to vent my frustration and I felt a little better. But is there any gentle way I can deal with this with my mother? Can I ask her to stop? To me, this seems cruel. I don't know what to do. Any advice will be welcome,

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Charlie, you need a break! Your mother is going to continue to ask questions over and over, and either you deal with this or you get some help to deal with her. Dementia robs the brain of memories, and she will not retain the memory of the answered questions, and will want to know again, and again, what the answer is. Do not go into a long explanation, just say your father will be home soon, and "Charlie" will be home soon too. Try to get more time to talk about how you are feeling with others. It is good to get out of the house every day even if it is just to take a walk. Hang in there. We are in this together...
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What do I do about constant repeated questions? Give constant repeated answers. Sigh. Tough, isn't it? You can vary your answers if it helps with the boredom.

I don't think you have to repeat a long explanation every time. The short version is enough for repetitions 4 thru 21. Then start over.

Getting asked where Charlie is must be especially frustrating. Have you tried "Charlie went to the store"?

The other day my mom said to me, "I know all the other women in this picture, but I can't figure out who this is." I said, "You mean that attractive gray-haired lady? That is your oldest daughter Jeanne. That's me!" She looked at me and then the picture, very confused. "Oh. I guess I should have figured it out. All the others are my daughters, too." When she sees me in person and hears my voice she knows who I am, but I think it is hard for her to accept that she has a child with gray hair. Her own is still auburn (with a weekly hair appointment). Who knows why your mother knows that you are Charlie but also wants to know where Charlie is? Give her a soothing answer and try to distract her to another topic.
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When my mom was still at home, I got the opportunity to help with her care. It was for a few weeks at my dads passing and then getting her set up for state aide for the NH. She had sundowners and the questions were an everyday nonstop cycle. Well we would give the same answer most of the time. But we are children(adults), and it was amusing to make up different answers. Mom was waiting for her dad to pick her up to go home, why was he so late. He was fishing, working late, at a fire(he was a fireman). She barely heard the different answer. Sometimes it would prompt a follow up question. But within the minute it would be back to where is he? Telling her he was dead and had been since 1979, only upset her. Good luck . I suggest lots of reading on the dementia/ memory loss subjects. And try to remember this to shall pass. I hope you dad returns home soon.
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Charlie, the worst thing you can do in my humble opinion is to argue with your Mom. I know the frustrations you feel, for I too take care of my 85 yr. old mother. Although she hasn't been diagnosed yet with Altzheimer's or Dementia, she too will ask the same question 100 times a day. When she asks you "Where's Charlie at?" Tell her, he'll be along later today or maybe tomorrow. Don't try to correct her by saying "I'm Charlie" it will only confuse her more. As for the questions of where her parents are, tell her they are resting now. Maybe don't tell her they are dead, because this may make her worse. These are just a couple tricks I picked up years ago when I worked in a nursing home and dealing with the elderly. Now I'm using my skills to deal with my Momma. Nothing is easy Charlie, but I agree with the others that you need a break.

I hope I was some what helpful to you Charlie.
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Charlie I don't have a good answer for you, I just want to say you're a wonderful son. I can't imagine dealing with this day in and day out. My mom has no short-term memory, but is oriented in time and space and knows who's who. And I find her totally frustrating at times and I don't even live with her,so I can only imagine how difficult this is for you. {{{{Hugs}}}}

One thing I did for my mom, which only works part of the time, is to write in big letters (I printed off signs on the computer) about how old she is, how old her sister was when she died and any other question she is constantly figuring out. Like my brother had surgery yesterday and I printed out the details about that. Then I pinned those sheets to her couch, which is right next to her chair, so she can easily see them. I continually point to those answers and practice with her that they're there. But my mom can still read and process written communication, and I don't know if your mom can do that or not. I hope you'll get some good answers from others.
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No, you can't tell her to stop, but you definitely need a break, some time to yourself. You may have this in stereo when Dad gets home. To preserve your own sanity, hire a companion or aide to care for them at least one day a week. Make that YOUR day to recharge your batteries. You might even want some anxiety meds the first few weeks Dad is home, and shuffle mom off to adult day care three mornings a week, it will relieve her boredom.
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Charlie, many of us deal with the same thing. There's really nothing we can do except find an excuse to leave the room when it gets too much. My mother doesn't ask questions repeatedly, but she has been telling the same stories for five years now. It can be painful hearing them over and over again. I usually just listen, but sometimes it is too much, so I have to leave the room. I'm fortunate, because my mother doesn't need someone with her all the time. I can work or go out during the day while she watches TV. Being able to do that helps me keep my sanity. Having your me-time every day -- not just every week or two -- is important, IMO.
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Thank you all so much for your wonderful answers and support. I wish I could get my mom interested in TV or other activities again but it seems all she wants to do lately is sleep. When we make the big decision to be caregivers I don't think we ever know what we're getting ourselves into, I know I didn't. Thank God I do have some help and I'm also back in school which has been a blessing. And it's so nice to hear from others who are going through the same thing. I also suffer from GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) and clinical depression which doesn't help, but I take medication and see a therapist twice a month. However, it's just knowing that I'm not alone that has been the lifesaver lately. Thank you, all of you.
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I wonder if the "other Charlie" is Charlie as a boy or young man - not the adult man she sees now. Like people who want to go back to their home of 40 or 50 years ago.
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charlie97: I went through this with my mom when she had Dementia. Unfortunately, it only seems to worsen over time. It's a terrible disease, but I learned over time that I couldn't tell her to stop because she couldn't remember anyway. Arguing with her or trying to make her understand, just didn't work because she became more agitated. I've mentioned this to others before, and it helped me with mom. I pretended a lot, and would visit with her in "her world" no matter how many times things were repeated or what she was talking about. She seemed to go down "memory lane" a lot and I went there too because it was much more pleasant for both of us even though it was hard on me to see her this way. I hope this makes sense to you and maybe helps you a little. Good luck with this and God bless you as you struggle with this like so many of us. Just remember that (if you can) to try to be as patient as possible because she can't help it, and also remember to take a few breaks now and then because you need to recharge in order to stay healthy for yourself and for your mom. Things always seem better if you've gotten enough sleep. A change of scenery can also do wonders even if it's for a short time.
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