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Why does mom keep repeating the same sentence over and over?

Answered by David Troxel

February 16, 2015

I’m caring for my mother who has Dementia. She repeats the same sentence over and over......She says it all day and most of the night in her sleep. I talk to her about different subjects to try to get her mind on something else. Is this obsession normal in someone who has Dementia? Do you have any suggestions as to what I could do to? I appreciate your help.

Sadly the language centers of the brain get damaged with dementia. It’s not uncommon for a person to ask the same question constantly (and they forget they have asked the question).

One tried and true technique is to ask her about the issue—For example, if she is asking “When is my doctor’s appointment?”

You can respond:

  • Mom, tell me more about the doctor.

  • Do you like his receptionist, Vicky?

  • Remind me, is the doctor young or older?

  • Is he from Ireland or do you think he grew up in the United States?

Sometimes asking some questions and trying to get her to tell you more can break the cycle.

Other techniques include playing some of her favorite music and songs. Music and song lyrics remain intact even when language is failing. She might begin to sing along with the music and get off of her verbal perseveration.

When she is particularly active with the sentence, try to interrupt it by offering her a nice ice-cream cone or favorite snack. Sometimes a change of scenery helps—getting her outside on the patio on a nice day. You can also try a simple chore—having her fold towels or brush a friendly dog.

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