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How do you cope with constant questions?

JMU

Registered User
Feb 17, 2012
155
Cornwall
Mostly, now I seem to be coping all right with Dad's behaviour, but the one thing I'm not doing well with is his constant questions.
I know he's after reassurance, but when he's asked me the same thing ten times in the space of an hour I feel like I'm going to explode.
He has been showing signs of sundowning. Largely I've managed to keep this under control by sticking to a strict routine and telling him he's mustn't get out of bed until he hears me get up. It's difficult for me as I have insomnia and become unwell if I don't myself regulate my sleeping pattern. He has a couple of times got up at night, but has gone back to bed when I tell him to.
Anyway, it's made more complicated by the fact he doesn't really understand time any more. Some days he doesn't want to go to bed at all. Other times he's demanding to go to bed from the minute I get home from work. I say "No, not yet, your bed time is at such a time, after which I usually have to explain what time it is now, how long he has to wait, what the arms on the clock mean. He says okay. Five minutes later he starts again. We go through the routine again. Everything settles down. Five minutes later...
He can become very difficult, taking my refusal to let him go as some kind of plot or insult. In his mind it's the middle of the night and I'm making him do something unnatural and I find it very hard to keep civil with him.
This is one of the hardest things to deal with, but there are constant questions from him all the time, about what I'm doing, about what he should do, about household tasks, about if I'm going to feed him, and at times my patience just goes out of the window. It's worst of all when I try to go to another part of the house for a breather and he follows me. I just want to lose it altogether.
Does anyone have any tactics for this sort of behaviour? I can only answer the same question so many times, he just doesn't have a clue what he's doing.
 

jeany123

Registered User
Mar 24, 2012
19,036
70
Durham
Oh JMU it is very tiring isn't it my husband is the same, you can't believe that someone could ask the same question 30 times in a hour he is worse when he is anxious about something like a appointment or going somewhere, I am sorry i can't help i just answer in a short a sentence as possible or just one word after I have explained something once, but I just cope, I sometimes lose my temper and shout but I just feel guilty afterwards, I try distraction like giving him something to do but he always gets back to it, he never forgets what I want him to and he always forgets what I want him to remember, if you see what I mean :) I am sorry i can't help much it is so wearing but you are not alone and someone will probably be along shortly with some wise advice , Allen sleeps during the day and is awake a lot at night as well ,

Best Wishes Jeany x
 

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
16,436
66
Toronto, Canada
It is very wearing to be answering the same question over and over in the space of minutes. I have no advice but to wish you enormous patience.

There will come a time when your father will stop talking and you, believe it or not, will miss the constant questions. My mother hasn't spoken much beyond a word or two for several years now and I miss her voice.
 

jaymor

Volunteer Moderator
Jul 14, 2006
12,930
England
Your Father could be my husband. Constant questions, my shadow, never more than a foot behind me. No knowledge of the difference between 3am or 3pm, we saw both of these hours every day of the week. He never slept, not even five minute in the chair. He has been in a nursing home for 5 weeks now but I do not sleep, after so many years of not sleeping I think I have forgotten how to. There is no answer to the constant questioning. Stay calm, answer the question again ( I know, easier said than done) or go along the lines, of you can't remember, give you a minute to think about it and you will get back to him. That will give you a small break and will give him a good feeling that you can forget things just like him. If you don't correct at every turn too then that might help him to stop thinking he knows nothing and you know it all. It is difficult but it really will help. Join him in his world and forget about trying to get him back into our world because it is never going to happen. When things got really bad for me I would walk out of the room and close the door. I then stood and swore (under my breath) and did rude jestures to him through the door. Then I would open the door and ask if he would like a nice cup of tea. Confrontation avoided and onto the next problem. It is not easy and it wont get any better but hopefully you will find strategies to help you as you go along. Good luck and keep smiling even if it is through gritted teeth.
Jay
 

garnuft

Registered User
Sep 7, 2012
6,585
I have found, after years of it with my son who now forms a duet with my Mam, that for me, the ONLY way to stay sane and stop the grizzly-bear feeling in my tummy, is to answer the questions. Of course you'll be caught out as, just when your answer is given, you'll be faced with a blank look because the question has changed,you've tuned out and you're answering the question before last:D I find myself answering strangers questions in a queue now eg. One person to other 'When did they knock that building down?' and before their companion can answer, I hear my voice 'Oh, ages ago' and two people looking at me thinking 'Nosy C*w' Beware the bear traps :)
 

meme

Registered User
Aug 29, 2011
1,953
London
I do occasionally say.."you've asked me that several times today" and Ma will say "and what did you say?"!!! I also find I repeat things I am saying in response and this carries over to other times when I am not talking to her but with other people...I catch myself after usually but sometimmes as I am doing it...aaaagh......
 

Wildlife

Registered User
Jun 19, 2012
48
Sheffield
My Mum isn't quite so bad with constant repetition of the same question, unless she's agitated about something, but what gets me down is that she asks the same questions every time we do certain activities.
For example (and I think this is the one that really gets to me!), when I take her to the wetroom for her shower she asks what's happening & what to do at every step ("Shall I take this off? "Yes" "And this?...." "Do I take these off now?" .....I'm sure you get the picture. No memory of what to do with shampoo, where to sit, how to wash herself or dry herself.
It's as if she's following a script with the same words each time. How well I know my part too!:);) However, I am glad she can still talk and we still have the occasional proper conversation.
 

garnuft

Registered User
Sep 7, 2012
6,585
Not just dementia related though. Mam used to tell how she was going up to Newcastle on top deck of bus (for a fag)when we were little (6 of us) and a train went over the Tyne Bridge she nudged and said 'OH...LOOK THERE'S A CHOO-CHOO!' and the bloke sitting next to her moved!:D She was so used to having one of us dragging along with her! Even now when we see a train, we exclaim that and she laughs and remembers.
 

small

Registered User
Jul 6, 2010
110
harrow
DearJMU,

I think you can see from all the answers , and my method is the same, just keep repeating the answer and try saying it like its the first time. My friend told me that with questions about the time and even 'how long before....?" it really doesn't even matter what answer you give as long as they feel in contact with you. I suffer all the crimes of impatience of everyone else but we're only human.

The worst questions for me are why? because my husband John wants to know the ins and outs of every decision, every meal, washing ,shopping etc etc. He wants to be personally involved in every aspect of my day. The problem is he can't often understand the answer and invariably transposes it into something he disagrrees with and tries to start an argument. The more explanations I try the worse it gets. So now I have to cut short these 'discussions'. I generally just have to walk out the room and come back with some kind of distraction.

I don't know how we do get through and there are many many days when its touch and go for me!

Best of luck and regards

Jackie
 

winda

Registered User
Oct 17, 2011
2,037
Nottinghamshire
Hi JMU,

My husband was exactly the same before he went into hospital in March.
I used to be exhausted from answering the constant questions but as others have said, found that if I didn't answer he would get angry/agitated and the situation was then worse. He would also follow me around the house.

Like your dad, he sometimes wanted to go to bed in the afternoon and I found that it wasn't worth arguing with him. The best way I found to deal with it was to put him to bed but in his case I knew he wouldn't stay if I wasn't with him. It never took long before he would be shouting me and wanting to come back downstairs to be with me.
Once we were in bed he would be there until about 6 in the morning and apart from, waking to go to the toilet or because he didn't manage to get there, he would sleep.
The toilet interludes were pretty frequent though.

It is a difficult stage to deal with and you need the patience of a saint but it doesn't last for ever even though it seems that way.
My husband is now in a CH and he has deteriorated further and speaks rarely and incoherently when he does.

I feel for you, it is really difficult.
 

Witzend

Registered User
Aug 29, 2007
4,291
SW London
I know he's after reassurance, but when he's asked me the same thing ten times in the space of an hour I feel like I'm going to explode.
I once counted the same question from my fil 35 times in one hour. Somehow I did train myself to answer quite calmly, the same thing over and over, without letting it get to me, but I will admit that I did wonder if one day I'd completely lose it, explode and push him down the stairs or something.
However at the same time he was also flying into catastrophic, violent rages every few days, and this was something I really couldn't cope with, hence eventually the care home.
 

SWMBO1950

Registered User
Nov 17, 2011
2,077
Essex
I have a friend who is currently struggling with care for her mother. My friend is in her 70s and her mother is 100!! Mother is still in her own home (flat) with plenty of help and my friend goes every Saturday (unlike me who is at my mothers every day!!).

Lets just say she struggles even with this level of care for her mother so I will be sending her Compassionate Communictions with the Memory Impared (my friend is not computer literate) in the hope that it helps her. I often think she is of the opinion her mother does things on purpose and not because it is the disease and she cannot help it;)

However both my friend and her husband are not on the ball as much as they used to be (he is nearly 78), so my explanations do not always resonate with them.

Because her mother told the SW she did not want to go into a home it was game over, which I can understand.

Thank you for sharing it Fiona.
 

meme

Registered User
Aug 29, 2011
1,953
London
I got caller display simply so I could field calls from my mother when I can take no more ...however I rarely use it... and when I do I ring her back after a few minutes!!!...
 

Jess26

Registered User
Jan 5, 2011
970
Kent
mum has one question she asks constantly whilst I'm with her 'How's the family' :) I must admit after giving her the run down at the first time of asking I do tend to zone out and just keep repeating, 'theyr'e fine'.

I think it's the only topic of conversation she can think of, bless her. No matter what I start talking about, she always come back to the same question.
 

stillcaring

Registered User
Sep 4, 2011
215
I have this with my mum too. What day is it today? is the favourite. My son delights in counting how many times she asks this and tells me afterwards... I drive her a mile to the supermarket which takes about 5 minutes and I've been asked that one 10 times in that time. 'Did I turn the gas off?' comes nearly as often (she doesn't have gas, but there we go...) What time is it? Did I sleep here last night? Where are the children? Do we usually go shopping on Saturday? and Have I got food for the weekend? all come round and round. I usually am OK but my answers get shorter and then she asks me 'Have you gone all monosyllabic?' 'Can you say anything except yes and no?' and so on. The worst is when I am ill and have a sore throat and just lose my voice. Even when I think I'm well over a cold an hour with her leaves me croaking. Just occasionally I spin wonderful alternative lives to see how much rubbish I can say that she just accepts and goes on to the next question, but actually if I say something memorable she remembers it and then I'm in trouble. Though sometimes on a good day I can admit I did it and we both laugh. Those are few and far between though....

Not all people with AD lost the ability to talk - my aunt also had it and was questioning pretty much until the last 2 or 3 weeks of her life when she succumbed to the latest in a series of chest infections. That was about 5 years after her formal diagnosis and a good decade after we all realised she had it. Not all sufferers go through all the indignities people post about. Aunty Joan died aged 88 but never had incontinence, never drooled, could still walk and talk. Maybe her AD never reached the more severe levels, but it was listed as joint cause of her death along with pneumonia.
 

SWMBO1950

Registered User
Nov 17, 2011
2,077
Essex
Forgot to say this above but when my son visits his Grandmother she does remember he is no longer at home but will constantly ask 'Do you cook for yourself'. It is now a family joke (in the nicest of ways). He does however answer her every time - slightly differently! He does however not have to do it day after day after day;)
 

garnuft

Registered User
Sep 7, 2012
6,585
Day after day, after day, after day ad infinitum/nauseum... you reach inside and answer the question. Because to the person that's asking the question, it's the first time. Anything else is 'widdling in the wind' to paraphrase me father. It's easier, for me anyway. And kinder too, I think. It's what I would want for myself.
 

parispanayi

Registered User
Nov 18, 2010
5
43
Cyprus
love

u must understand something...
you could be him soon...how would you like others to treat you?
second...always remember...she is sick. its not his fault.
third... do you really want to hurt his feelings? if you love him so much and cant control your ego and lack of understanding ...then get away from him. its safer for him and you. he will not be hurt by you in a moment of anger and secondly you....you will lose your mind, your health will get worse and eventually you will need help big time.

so...this is your answer.
we all have been in it...
we understand.
 

wonderlander

Registered User
Mar 8, 2012
12
Mostly, now I seem to be coping all right with Dad's behaviour, but the one thing I'm not doing well with is his constant questions.
I know he's after reassurance, but when he's asked me the same thing ten times in the space of an hour I feel like I'm going to explode.
He has been showing signs of sundowning. Largely I've managed to keep this under control by sticking to a strict routine and telling him he's mustn't get out of bed until he hears me get up. It's difficult for me as I have insomnia and become unwell if I don't myself regulate my sleeping pattern. He has a couple of times got up at night, but has gone back to bed when I tell him to.
Anyway, it's made more complicated by the fact he doesn't really understand time any more. Some days he doesn't want to go to bed at all. Other times he's demanding to go to bed from the minute I get home from work. I say "No, not yet, your bed time is at such a time, after which I usually have to explain what time it is now, how long he has to wait, what the arms on the clock mean. He says okay. Five minutes later he starts again. We go through the routine again. Everything settles down. Five minutes later...
He can become very difficult, taking my refusal to let him go as some kind of plot or insult. In his mind it's the middle of the night and I'm making him do something unnatural and I find it very hard to keep civil with him.
This is one of the hardest things to deal with, but there are constant questions from him all the time, about what I'm doing, about what he should do, about household tasks, about if I'm going to feed him, and at times my patience just goes out of the window. It's worst of all when I try to go to another part of the house for a breather and he follows me. I just want to lose it altogether.
Does anyone have any tactics for this sort of behaviour? I can only answer the same question so many times, he just doesn't have a clue what he's doing.

Have you tried writing notes?. Post it notes are good for me. I worked when mum forgot how to use the telephone I also find that door locks for a bit of peace and quiet also work wonders Even a combination of the two might work . Lies are permissible too, if not essential in order to keep ones sanity. I have never been a liar but I have had to change. Anything to get through ..... Only a thought x
 

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