Behaviours and obsessions - carers - what are you dealing with?

TryingToRetainGrace

Registered User
Aug 23, 2019
26
0
Hello all

I’ve found that it comforts me a little when I read posts on here that describe people with dementia displaying behaviours and obsessions that I recognise in the PWD I care for. Somehow it makes me feel less alone. We spend all our waking hours trying to understand and interpret our PWD’s needs and thoughts and it is not easy.

With that in mind I wondered if it would be useful to start a thread with our experiences so that carers can post and/or read in case it helps in any way?

I am full time carer to my PWD who has Vascular Dementia.

Some common behaviours and obsessions displayed:

  • Wrapping wallet, keys and important things in kitchen towel
  • When an unknown car or van parks outside, my PWD is very troubled and will keep looking at it and get stressed
  • Anything not in its normal place is a cause of stress
  • Opening the front door and standing on the drive. Multiple, multiple times day and night.
  • Gets upset when it is dark (usually as my PWD is up at all hours, doesn’t understand time or that it is night and does not seem to sleep. Is up and dressed multiple times during night). This is not boding terribly well as we approach winter
  • Bit obsessed with the neighbours who are our friends - always wants to know where they are and what they are doing
  • Puts dirty dishes, cups and cutlery away in drawers
  • Reluctant to go in shower or change clothes
We have many of the common ones too like wearing multiple layers, losing things all the time, wanting to go to “the other house”, restlessness and not being able to follow conversations or TV shows.

What we are doing is so, so hard. Like living nightmare. I send you all much love and wish you all the best.
 

try again

Registered User
Jun 21, 2018
1,308
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With my mum it was the accusations of stealing, the hiding money, the not being a good daughter when I was frazzled from doing as much as I could to help and worrying more
Of course she never fell over but never had any explanation as to why she was on the floor

I'm so glad that stage is over and she's now in a care home
 

Jessbow

Registered User
Mar 1, 2013
5,722
0
Midlands
With my mum it was the accusations of stealing, the hiding money, the not being a good daughter when I was frazzled from doing as much as I could to help and worrying more
Of course she never fell over but never had any explanation as to why she was on the floor

I'm so glad that stage is over and she's now in a care home
My mother, never wet herself, nor soiled the bathroom floor. The DOG had always had a wee in HER slippers, and trod ''the other' all across the floor, and ever so thughtfully tried to finish the job, sitting on the toilet seat.
The dog had always ''just left'' when it happened :)
 

TryingToRetainGrace

Registered User
Aug 23, 2019
26
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My mother, never wet herself, nor soiled the bathroom floor. The DOG had always had a wee in HER slippers, and trod ''the other' all across the floor, and ever so thughtfully tried to finish the job, sitting on the toilet seat.
The dog had always ''just left'' when it happened :)
Poor dog getting the blame!
 

TryingToRetainGrace

Registered User
Aug 23, 2019
26
0
With my mum it was the accusations of stealing, the hiding money, the not being a good daughter when I was frazzled from doing as much as I could to help and worrying more
Of course she never fell over but never had any explanation as to why she was on the floor

I'm so glad that stage is over and she's now in a care home
That must have been really hard. You know it is not your loved one talking, just the illness, but so difficult not to take it to heart.
 

Kelvin20

Registered User
May 13, 2022
32
0
Your list of behaviours and obsessions i could have written myself about my husband with Alzhiemers. It is a constant and challenging job coping with denial of everything and blaming me for all these strange happenings sand telling me I am stupid. Don’t have incontinence to deal with YET but know it will come. I am just so grateful for this site as it keeps me sane knowing there will always be support there. The vast proportion of the population have no clue what living with this is like. Sending love to all the carers and hoping they will have the strength to keep going as long as they feel able. XX
 

Canna

Registered User
Jan 24, 2022
83
0
Hiding things in random places, wrapped up in bits of toilet roll. Especially when it was her false teeth.
Stashing little pots and dishes of leftover dinner around the house.
Taps left running.
Obsessively turning off plugs at the wall (so much frozen food wasted!)
Accusations of stealing (often the things that were stashed in toilet roll.)
Unpleasant fabrications about perfectly innocent people (the GP's receptionist who allegedly carried a knife and hid in her cupboards drinking whisky).
Unkind (and untrue) things said about family members.

On the positive side, some of the stories she's made up have been very funny.
 

DreamsAreReal

Registered User
Oct 17, 2015
476
0
Oh OP, the endless folding and wrapping things in kitchen towels! The door key would be "lost" constantly because of this, causing much distress at being trapped indoors. In the end I put her key on a shoelace round her neck, which worked very well.

Another one was turning off electrical items at the socket before bed, including the fridge-freezer and storage heaters. Eventually solved with a post-it note on every switched socket saying "please do not turn off" and signed by me, which covered up the red paint of the "on" switch, which was the trigger for her to turn it off. By the time she stopped being able to read she'd stopped doing it anyway.

Please pick your battles wisely and allow them to "win" at doing some of these things. If it's harmless (like folding paper), let them get on with it. I often thought she was doing some of these repetitive things as a self-soothing exercise.

Also, be aware that some behaviours that seem odd are actually being done for a good reason or a real fear. Turning the sockets off was a fear of fire, for example. There is a general feeling of fear with Dementia that worsens when it's dark, so please be as reassuring as you can.
 

DreamsAreReal

Registered User
Oct 17, 2015
476
0
Hiding things in random places, wrapped up in bits of toilet roll. Especially when it was her false teeth.
Stashing little pots and dishes of leftover dinner around the house.
Taps left running.
Obsessively turning off plugs at the wall (so much frozen food wasted!)
Accusations of stealing (often the things that were stashed in toilet roll.)
Unpleasant fabrications about perfectly innocent people (the GP's receptionist who allegedly carried a knife and hid in her cupboards drinking whisky).
Unkind (and untrue) things said about family members.

On the positive side, some of the stories she's made up have been very funny.
All of these! Yes, some of the stories are entertaining. Others are heartbreaking.

When I was clearing out her flat, I found her teeth at the back of a kitchen cupboard - wrapped in kitchen roll. It's only very recently I could bring myself to throw them away. Now writing this I'm crying and wishing I'd kept them!! Poor mum.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
25,059
0
South coast
My mum was obsessed with people living above her.
She started off thinking her husband was living in the flat upstairs with his "fancy piece"
Then she decided that there was a family living up there who were pinching all the hot water
Finally she decided it was a school and the children made a racket on the stairs and came in and moved all her furniture

In reality -
Her husband had died 30 yrs previously and had never had an affair
She was switching off the boiler herself hence no hot water
She was also moving her furniture herself

Oh, and she lived in a bungalow.....
 

Cardinal

Registered User
Oct 4, 2023
210
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My husband, after being out in the garden, tromped mud all over the house. He then accused me of putting on his muddy shoes and getting mud all over the house. He told me I was very weird to do such a thing.
 
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Angela61

Registered User
Dec 30, 2021
88
0
Of recent my husband gets very aggitated when people or any form of transport pass by on the public road. He thinks they are in our front garden. I've had to keep our sitting room curtains closed all day now!
 

wurrienot

Registered User
Jul 25, 2023
165
0
My dad insists that when he went to the dentist for dentures, my brother ( who shares the same name) had impressions done of his mouth so it's no wonder he cant get the blooming things in right. He was so convincing that I phoned my brother to check - I don't suppose I'll ever hear the last of it!
 

Bunpoots

Volunteer Host
Apr 1, 2016
7,356
0
Nottinghamshire
My dad insists that when he went to the dentist for dentures, my brother ( who shares the same name) had impressions done of his mouth so it's no wonder he cant get the blooming things in right. He was so convincing that I phoned my brother to check - I don't suppose I'll ever hear the last of it!

This made me laugh out loud!

My dad was convinced that a man with a watering can was walking through his house everyday and that’s why there were wet patches everywhere. Nothing to do with dad of course…
 

JoannePat

Registered User
Jan 24, 2019
212
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I know I am late to this thread but I did a search for obsessions and this one came up first. I didn't want to start a new one as that's all I seem to be doing at the moment........

My dad has an obsession with money. He used all the savings on my mums care, but he has a good pension that comes in, and he owns his own house.

He has also become sly with his comments, so today as we were driving to the support group, he said how much do you think my house is worth? So I told him, then he said "because I am paying for three houses and this is getting a joke now" when my husband asked him what he meant, he said "well the pension house, my house and your house". I have absolutely NO idea where that came from. He certainly doesn't pay for our house and what is the "pension house". But we couldn't follow up on it as we were just pulling into the car park.

Should I sit him down and talk about it, should I just let it become another of his fantasises? Is he going around telling people that he pays for our house?

I know we will never know what is going on in their heads but this one is really worrying me!
 

SeaSwallow

Volunteer Moderator
Oct 28, 2019
5,867
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I know I am late to this thread but I did a search for obsessions and this one came up first. I didn't want to start a new one as that's all I seem to be doing at the moment........

My dad has an obsession with money. He used all the savings on my mums care, but he has a good pension that comes in, and he owns his own house.

He has also become sly with his comments, so today as we were driving to the support group, he said how much do you think my house is worth? So I told him, then he said "because I am paying for three houses and this is getting a joke now" when my husband asked him what he meant, he said "well the pension house, my house and your house". I have absolutely NO idea where that came from. He certainly doesn't pay for our house and what is the "pension house". But we couldn't follow up on it as we were just pulling into the car park.

Should I sit him down and talk about it, should I just let it become another of his fantasises? Is he going around telling people that he pays for our house?

I know we will never know what is going on in their heads but this one is really worrying me!
I would be inclined to let it go unless your dad raises the issue again. It is probably just a one off and sometimes it is best not to bring up the subject again as it only reinforces the belief.
 

JoannePat

Registered User
Jan 24, 2019
212
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Thank you @SeaSwallow I think you are exactly right, I just have to take a few breaths and ignore, ignore, ignore. Its just so hard sometimes isn't it!?

@McSuffolk I don't understand your message, sorry