My mother often, throughout the last 20 years but in particular during certain periods, would exhibit “perseveration”—the repetition of a topic, function, or strategy beyond its context and usefulness. The term may also refer to the obsessive and highly selective interests of individuals suffering a wide range of neurological disorders or brain trauma.

For her it was almost always the recurrence of topic in conversation. The best, well only, way to deal with it was just to let her run the gamut of her opinions on the topic (often gossipy things about people I didn’t know, or my sister not calling, or me getting dental insurance, etc), and afterward trying to lure her away with an engrossing activity that could make her brain shift gears. There were times when she would call me a dozen times a day and leave the same exact message every time. I always explained it to my husband like her thoughts were a car on a muddy trail that would always find the same ruts.

This infographic is a bit small to see on a phone, but it is jam packed with useful information about this term and its full meaning.



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