Author Topic: Dad keeps repeating himself  (Read 6074 times)

Tony

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Dad keeps repeating himself
« on: June 14, 2004, 06:46:11 PM »
My father is driving me nuts with his repetition. I don't know if he thinks he's entertaining us, but when we tell him he's already told us a story, he keeps going. It's almost as if he can't stop.

He also talks about himself, no matter what the topic. I could be talking about my foot, and within a sentence or two, we are talking about his foot.

It is getting to the point that I don't want to spend any time with him - everything is about him or his life or his past.

Help!!!! I'm the only remaining child, and I feel responsible. What can I say to make him stop acting like this? Are all older people like this (he's 69).

Tony

me

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Re: Dad keeps repeating himself
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2004, 09:27:47 AM »
all older people tend to repeat themselves, Tony; they just start at different ages.  what happens is that they live in their pasts.. and if they are not really active either physically or mentally (puzzles, etc) or dont have a support group of their peers, it happens earlier..  are there any senior groups near him that he might be able to participate in?  it would up his energy level & give him some new stories.  i wish you the best of luck..patience is hard, but perhaps you can impact a change for him. by the way, you didnt say if Mom was still alive.  if he is on his own for the first time in years, it can be even more difficult for him...

Helping out

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Re: Dad keeps repeating himself
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2005, 09:38:27 PM »
Tony,

Your Dad's repetition may also possibly be a sign of early Dementia or Alzheimer's.  It may be a good idea to take him to a doctor/neurologist to test his cognitive abilities.  You can also read up on this disease and it's symptoms on www.alz.org - the national Alzheimer's website.  There are medications available now that help slow down the progression of Alzheimer's.  (Just a note - with my Dad, his repetition was all the red cars he would see, whenever and wherever we were driving - it was frustrating but an early sign).

Take care and I wish you all the best.
Helping Out

Samantha

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Re: Dad keeps repeating himself
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2006, 01:28:53 PM »
My Mom does this, too. Whatever the reason, I have to work hard at not letting it get under my skin. I just bless her quietly when she does it.

The other thing she does is ask me to repeat things - constantly. That one is tougher to handle. Sometimes I just go about my business and don't repeat. She usually has heard me.

Sammy

Frank

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Re: Dad keeps repeating himself
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2008, 08:50:24 AM »
Yes!! This is one of the problems that irked me the most about the Aunt who just died in June!

It really pisses me off when older people ask me to repeat myself when they heard me just fine the minute previous and nothing else has changed in the room. This has bothered me so much I even brought it up in therapy once. My therapist told me that their loneliness or neediness might be making them try to extend the conversation.

I have done as Samantha suggested, to not answer. I found that when they sit in that silence after an unneeded request, they don't do it as often, but it creates awkward tension between us.

Now they have all died. After giving this more objective thought, I suspect that if I were to approach it differently, I would not have created such an awkward situation for myslef and for them.

Yeah, if I were to do it again, I would like to try and tell them that I've noticed they ask me to repeat myself when I am sure they have heard what I said the first time. I would ask if they thought they did that because they were lonely. Loneliness can do strange things to people.

My therapist taught me the skill of giving people a way to save face. Then I might continue by saying I'd like to develop a plan with them to avoid getting so frustrated that I want to leave. I know my parents would have been reasonable enough to go along with the plan, but I am not sure about my depressed Aunt. She was mean and snippy and just plain difficult most of the time. She might not have been someone I chose to discuss this with, and rather just not comment.

Any comments? What do you think you'd do to avoid unwanted and habitual repetition, once you are sure they are not deaf?

Dini

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Re: Dad keeps repeating himself
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2008, 11:30:26 AM »
Frank,

It's a great question and I really like "the concept of saving face" you mention.  Making it a win-win.  (Since I'm only 54 and repeat myself too often I'm particularly appreciative.....hehee).  You are really onto something there that applies to a whole lot of interactions.  It's very insightful.

Someone in an earlier post mentioned older people living in the past.  There is a positive aspect of that which is "passing along" the past (rather than living in it).  One of the great things about the folks who have been parents to me is that as they were in their 70's they began telling tales of themselves, their own history, family history that was revealing and wonderful to hear.  And I think they needed to tell it; they were passing it along.  And my generation ate it up.

Then there's the "flip side" of sort of dwelling in the past in a morbid sort of way.  I had a telephone conversation with dear old moms yesterday; she has shown strength and resiliency and clarity (after the passing of the old man a couple of months ago) that is wonderful to see.  But I mentioned the old man and at the second mention she clearly and firmly said "let's not talk about ____, right now.  I need to live in the present right now, not in the past."  (And moms wasn't asking, she was telling.....and she hasn't done that in years......hehee).  I thought that very positive, doesn't mean she doesn't love him, miss him, etc., she's doing what she needs to do in the here and now.  

And I can talk about him with others, or with her later when she is OK with it.

mlr

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Re: Dad keeps repeating himself
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2008, 08:31:13 AM »
My husband's mom lives with us and she repeats the same stories very often. She she reads, attends bible study class, goes to lunch with friends once in a while. She is 83 now. She has been repeating her stories now for about 7 years. I guess it started in ernest after her husband died.

We wouldn't dare say anything to hurt her. We just listen and ask questions (for details) and smile. Yes, I know it can get really old - and I will admit that some days it's easier to listen than others. But, we figure it will be our turn soon enough and we hope whichever one of our kids is kind enough to look after us will let us ramble about our past, too.

After all, their past is a lot more interesting to them than their present. Especially, if they don't get out much or don't have many visitors and all they have is TV. Look what old age takes away from them - their vigor, looks, health, mates, friends and sometimes even children. But, in memory, everything and everyone is intact. They are young, strong, handsome or beautiful. The past is the 'happy place'. And, I agree with another poster who said it is a need to tell their history - to be remembered. In a way, it's immortality. We all want to be remembered.

I am so glad I remember the stories my own father told me when I was a kid. Many times I will tell my younger sister something that dad said and she will say "I didn't know that!" So, pay attention. These family stories may come in handy some day.

And, yes, it can be frustrating for everything to be focused on them. But, I do believe this happens a lot because all older ones think about are their own aches and pains - unless we help them be more active and give them things to look forward to and give them fuel for new, CURRENT stories.

We all need to lighten up - these folks are our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. They deserve our love and care and respect.

Some day we will be telling their stories to our great-grandkids. :0)

Dini

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Re: Dad keeps repeating himself
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2008, 08:43:00 AM »
Hi Mir,

Just want to say that IMHO there is both a lot of compassion and a lot of insight in what you have expressed.   (tu)

Joanne

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Re: Dad keeps repeating himself
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2008, 07:31:25 PM »
You are a very kind person, mlr! (tu)