My Mom repeatedly asks the same questions over and over and I am losing my patience and mind. Any advice?

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I came up with techniques that would help her answer her own questions, like showing her how her cell phone would automatically give the date, time, and day of the week - instead of asking me every half hour. She has done pretty well with this, but recently she has reverted back to asking me what day it is, or where I'm going after I've told her a few minutes before. Interestingly, she doesn't seem to do this to anyone else. Is this because I'm with her most of the time?( I drive her to doctors appointment, shop for groceries, cook meals, dust and vacuum her house, deal with major house repairs and yard problems. )
This all sounds so silly and elementary, considering how bad it could actually be, and I should be thankful that she can still do major things herself (bathroom, dressing, eating).
Bit it's almost like mental torture, having to repeat myself hundreds of times a day. I'm so selfish, I know. But please don't be too hard on me (some of you will be) it's a good thing to share fears etc. to avoid a major problem down the line, right? Is this an example of the sadness of caring for an elderly parent - they will never learn from your guidance and direction,unlike raising a child who eventually will benefit?

Answers 1 to 10 of 22
I don't really have an answer for you regarding what to do about answering the same questions over and over again but I don't think this sounds like a silly problem at all. I agree that it sounds like mental torture and I don't think you're being selfish even one little bit.

Hopefully someone who's been in this situation will chime in but in the meantime don't be so hard on yourself. If an elderly parent were asking me the same question over and over it'd drive me crazy.
This website, Aging Care, has a lot of excellent articles.... I found one that talks about a patient saying the same thing over and over... hope it will be helpful for you, plus 40 comments were written about this article [look above the article's title].
You are absolutely NOT selfish and nothing silly about your question... this is one of the things that drive most of us nuts, the repeated questions.......I usually work with Alz clients, but am now working with a Stroke patient... she does the same thing..... short term memory loss..... and yes, it drives me nuts sometimes.... I just take a deep breath and answer again.... I have often thought of recording answers and just hit 'play', ya, the things that go thru our mind when we are in that situation...... but do not ever think anything that is bothering you or has you upset or worried is silly..... it is hard to do this day in ad day out.... not one thing selfish about that..... don't think there is a magic answer, as they are all different, and something you try to use to redirect them may work for awhile and then we have to come up with something else.... but know you can even come here and ask us the same question over and over , (LOL) and we will support , love and give you hugs...... only other caregivers understand... sending you lots of hugs for looking for help.....
Mom does this often and I try to joke sometimes about it. She'll ask a question, I answer, she'll ask again and I'll kind of sing and joke and she says oh I just asked you that, I need a repeat button so you won't have to and we both had a really good laugh. It's not the say that's always the case, but if I start to sing the answer back she almost knows immediately oops I must have just asked that question, so now sometimes she writes it down and can remember to look at sometimes. It's hard to keep the levity going but it takes the sting and irritation away from both of us. I try to keep the answers rather short (not short with her but concise in my answer) also and that helps me stay calmer. Sometimes I blow it and I'm like Macauley Caulkin screaming to myself in the Home Alone movies, but since the singing answer seems to work after I've initially answered, then I try to do that first and then I can more easily redirect her and we move on from it.

One time we had just gotten off the phone and she called right back and I spewed out my answer before she could really talk and she said I know that we just talked, this time I'm calling to ask about this which was something different. She said I'm not completely bonkers yet then she laughed and I did too though I felt like a heel.
Just yesterday I was joking around with the PT people and the aide about just recording Mom's various complaints so she could save her voice, as they're always exactly the same. I don't know how many times I've explained to her that the green button turns the TV on and off and the blue buttons with the arrows are for changing the channel but it never registers.
Top Answer
I got so tired of answering the day/date questions a million times a day that I bought a small dry erase board & pen & hung it in direct view of her living room chair. Each day I write the day of the week, the date & the next major holiday or life event on it. For instance, today I wrote "Today is Saturday, August 1st, 2015. Your wedding anniversary is August 25th." You can customize your board to whatever questions seem to be an issue at any one time. Granted, a dry erase or chalkboard doesn't exactly fit in with the rest of my decor and it doesn't completely curb the repetitive questions but lessening it by even one time is a godsend!
Irish, it sounds like dementia is taking its grip. If this drives you crazy now, wait, it is going to get much much worse. It drives us all nutty and we have each had to lear to just answer again, calmly. Is she living in your home or the other way around? It is great that you were able to "teach" her a technique for checking date and time on her cell phone. She will end up forgetting that technique and even how to use a phone, any kind of phone. If this is all hard for you now, I suggest you start looking for a continuum of care facility for your mom now. She may only need assisted living at present, as she ages she is going to need more help. And these facilities will be able to accomodate her increasing needs. Moving her now will also be much easier on her emotionally. You wait too long and nobody is able to make sense to her about where she is and why.

GladImHere...I respectfully disagree with the moving now is less emotionally disruptive & easier to do early. If the loved one is happy with that move then, yeah. But most don't want to leave familiar peopke or surroundings & the move is frightening & depressing at best or refused & fought tooth & nail at worst. I've known elders who have walked away from AL facilities because they were upset being there. My mother would definitely be someone who would do that...if I could even get her NEAR a facility in the first place! I'm trying SO hard not to lose my sanity caring for her before she gets to the point where she doesn't even recognize home & transferring her to a facility won't meet resistance from her.
Lots of great advice and compassion, thank you all. I don't know what would happen if you weren't all available to give support. I forgot to mention in my first post that mom did have a cerebral bleed 30 years ago, in addition to the dementia starting. Could this event be affecting the degree of her dementia now, I wonder.
Irish my mom has some level of dementia - basically no short-term memory. But she doesn't have Alzheimers. She never knows what day it is, so I got her a digital clock through Amazon that has the time, day of the week, date and temperature. I put it right next to her chair where she can always see it easily. I frequently asked her what day it was when I first got it for her, to make her look over and reference it. She's told me many times how it's helped her know what day it is. It took her probably three weeks to get used to it and remember to look at it.

Now it's handy because my mom can't remember to turn on her AC when it's hot, so when I call, I ask what the temperature is. If it's in the 80s, I tell her to get up and shut her windows and turn on the AC. Before we had that clock, I couldn't do that. I also made a big sign and pinned it to her couch (right next to her chair) that tells her she's 95. That was another question I'd get 5X a day. Sometimes she remembers that's there, sometimes not.

If your mom has Alzheimers, these kinds of things would only work for so long, but if you get a few months of relief, it would be worth it!

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