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Best approach to constant repetition.


Registered User
Aug 16, 2015
Hello - new here because Mum's been diagnosed with the early stages of Alzheimer's.

She repeats herself constantly and I'm wondering what the best approach usually is. Should we pick her up on this and tell her she's repeating? Or should we ignore it and pretend it's the first time she's told us something?

How do you normally handle this?


Registered User
Aug 29, 2007
SW London
Yes, it's no good telling someone they've told you that 17 times already - they simply won't remember and it will only upset them, or make them angry or indignant. I once had to explain this to a brother in law who was getting very irritated and snapped at my mother - he hadn't realised that she simply couldn't help it.

It can drive you a bit potty, though. My FIL would ask the same question over and over - I once counted 35 times in one hour - and the only way I found to cope without going mad or screaming, was to make a sort of separate compartment in my head where I could go on answering nicely, but mechanically, if you see what I mean.


Volunteer Moderator
Jul 14, 2006
Hello and welcome to Talking Point. As posters before me have said please don't ever say you have asked that before. As the loss of memory has taken away the first answer so it will take away every answer you give someone living with dementia.

I found the more answers I had to hand the better we both got through this. So if my husband asked had we heard from his sister I could say, " yes she rang earlier whilst you were in the bathroom and will ring back later, " or " no she said she was going away for a few days so will probably ring when she gets back". For our daughter it would be she is at work, gone to the hairdressers, visiting a friend or shopping. Every answer was accepted and for me a triumph that I had not repeated myself for at least a couple of hours. If you do slip up please don't beat yourself up because it really is so difficult to deal with repetitive questions being fired at you every five minutes,

Another ploy used was to say " you know I can't remember, give me a minute or two I am sure it will come back to me". This gave me breathing space and I hope it helped my husband to know he was not the only person not having instant recall.


Registered User
Aug 16, 2015
Many thanks indeed for those answers. I'm going to pass that first link on to my brothers as it explains things nicely.

Much appreciated indeed!

Sue J

Registered User
Dec 9, 2009
If you do slip up please don't beat yourself up because it really is so difficult to deal with repetitive questions being fired at you every five minutes,
I agree with Jaymor, we're all human. I make mistakes all the time with my friend not least because of my own symptoms and at times if I am aware I am able to apologize and she just responds with 'Oh, don't be silly, I don't remember those things!':) which is true she forgets from day to day. Coping with living gives too much to worry about than what may seem as insensitivity at times. But it isn't always the same! The kindness and understanding and care is remembered.:)

She tells me the same stories which I try and prempt the second sentence with 'That's right, it's where so and so lived' for e.g.I try to find pictures or things that are similar to the places she describes to try and make her feel more secure as it is in those memories she is more secure and content. Its far from easy though.

Pear trees

Registered User
Jan 25, 2015
The repetitive questions can get very wearing. I've just spent 30 minutes explaining to my mum that her lunch club doesn't start till next week, and the bus will not pick her up tomorrow, and I will be bringing her food. Once I have answered the same question 2/3 times I switch to auto response and carry on working while repeating myself endlessly, I get a lot done while talking to her!