FlowersChallenging Behaviors for the Caregiver

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Repetitive Speech and Gestures
By Elisabeth A Hinman-Smith M.S.W. & Lisa P. Gwyther M.S.W.

"Sometimes she'll ask the same question over and over again. It's okay for awhile, but then it gets to me. I get frustrated and snap at her. . .then we both feel bad."

* Using a calm voice, respond to questions with brief, simple statements. Try using touch and direct eye contact when you respond. The impaired person may just need some extra reassurance. Try to respond to the emotional content of the statements.

* Try distracting the person with a pleasurable activity such as going for a walk, having a snack, looking through old pictures, or going for a relaxing drive. Play music, or give the person a repetitive and simple task like separating towels or rolling coins, sweeping or arranging silk flowers.

* Use a simple written message for those who can still read. (e.g. :Joan will be home at 5:00 p.m.")

* Do not discuss plans for activities or appointments until just prior to the event. This will help the person avoid asking about it days ahead of time.

* Try ignoring the behavior. This can make the person angry or agitated, but sometimes questions will stop if they are not reinforced by your behavior. Ignoring may be an especially good idea when the caregiver is irritated, as it keeps the person from picking up on the angry tones of voice.

(c) copyright 1996


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