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Why am I so confused today?.......and other repetitive questions.
Posted: Tuesday, April 28, 2015 1:02 PM
Joined: 4/28/2015
Posts: 4

New here. And I need some help before I runaway.
Does anyone have any advice on how to deal with Groundhog day? My mother has Vascular Dementia, recently it took a total nose dive and she has no short term memory at ALL. Each day is the exact same, same questions, ( why am I confused? Why am I here at your house? among 6000 others) I have done the lengthy answer, the short version, the ignore the question and keep her busy tactic. Nothing sticks. Anyone have an advice? Thank you!

Posted: Tuesday, April 28, 2015 1:21 PM
Joined: 7/18/2014
Posts: 147

Welcome; Don't runaway just yet, pull up a chair and "sit for a spell".

You too will soon be a master of the fine art of : Diversion and re-direction.

Basically, there really is no answer that will make sense and you sound like you are working through the evolution most if not all of us caregivers go through, so you already know this

It becomes more about how you manage your own stress levels and reactions to their questions, assertions, etc. It becomes how much you play along, or play into, or live inside their reality, whatever it is in the moment.

Diversionary answers may sometimes "work" and she may stop asking the question, it may provide some comfort, or, it may not work at all; But, it will help save you the frustration, and sometimes pain (emotional/etc) of having to come up with actual (or semi-actual) "answers".

Example: "When am I going home?" : "Tuesday".

I used that to great success for quite a while with my dad (late stage 5-6 alzheimers) for quite a while. Some days he "got it" and gave up, some days I had to repeat it 100+ times over a 5 hour span of the same question every 5 minutes.

It's not really about anything sticking anymore, because it's quite likely very little will, and sometimes the strangest thing will become a new "permanent" thing. This becomes more about maintaining your own state of mind/well-being so you can continue to be the rock in the middle of their ever spiraling storm without it leaving you a frustrated, worn-out mess (though that often is where we end up anyway).

There are a lot of possible diversionary and simple "answers" to these questions and honestly, the "best" ones will be whatever works for you through experimentation.

Posted: Tuesday, April 28, 2015 1:54 PM
Joined: 4/1/2014
Posts: 5080

I know it is mind numbing to have to repeat the answers (which btw should be short and sweet-ex, you are here because we help each other, you are just tired and that's why you fee confused, etc) but do it cheerfully no matter how many times. Often these questions are a reflection of their confusion or fear and not to seek information, so by putting them at ease, they may stop. I did a lot of music and art therapy during this time. I tried to keep her brain and hands occupied.

Mother and I went through this stage as well and I wished I had been on this board at that time so someone could have told me to enjoy my mother's voice and even her repetitive questions because soon she may become silent. Now mother is non-verbal and I would do anything to have to ask me any and all questions, dumb or otherwise! Good luck!

Posted: Tuesday, April 28, 2015 2:22 PM
Joined: 3/22/2015
Posts: 47

good ? excellent answers. That helps me today...
Stephanie Z
Posted: Tuesday, April 28, 2015 2:36 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 4218

One more thing to mention. Be patient, this is temporary and too soon she will move on to another stage.
Stephanie Z

Posted: Wednesday, April 29, 2015 9:06 AM
Joined: 4/29/2015
Posts: 2

Teepa Snow (watch her videos on Youtube if you're unfamiliar with her!) suggests to take a deep breath. Sounds silly and like something you've probably done a million times, but it really works for me...Sometimes. Once I've been asked "Where are my shoes?" 947 times in five minutes I stop, take a few deep breaths, and remember that she honestly doesn't remember that they're on her feet, and that's not her fault. Then I answer. Again. Just a little time out to slow my frustration down.

And I love the "tuesday" answer! Gonna have to try that one!

Jo C.
Posted: Wednesday, April 29, 2015 9:34 AM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 10865

Some great answers here and I would like to suggest your reading a wonderful writing that really helps us to, "get it" . . . it is written by, Jennifer Ghent- Fuller, and is; "Understanding the Dementia Experience," you can find it at this link:

I find this a wonderfully enlightening writing and referred to it throughout my mother's dementia journey.

I too had a similar outcome as has Tess; my mother used to berate me and harangue me and during one period this was her way and it was relentless despite all measures of intervention being implemented. It was simply part of her stage.

Then as her journey progressed, she lost the ability to speak at all. I found myself wishing I could hear her voice once again, even if it was to berate me; I so missed the sound of her voice.

Those persistent and constant questions can be like water dripping and dripping; but the simplest, shortest answer repeated is the best way to go and to also try to keep them occupied as much as possible which may be a little or a lot depending on how the Loved One is functioning.

I send you warm thoughts and wishes for calmer days,