1. Expert Q&A: Living well as a carer - Thurs 29 August, 3-4pm

    As a carer for a person living with dementia, the needs of the person you care for will often come before your own. You may experience a range of difficult emotions and you may not have the time to do all the things you need to do. Caring can have a big impact on both your mental and physical health, as well as your overall wellbeing.

    Angelo, our Knowledge Officer (Wellbeing) is our expert on this topic. He will be here to answer your questions on Thursday 29 August between 3-4pm.

    You can either post questions >here< or email them to us at talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk and we'll answer as many as we can on the day.

Dementia and moving things and fiddling with everything?

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Sue17, Oct 14, 2017.

  1. Sue17

    Sue17 Registered User

    May 24, 2017
    Can anyone work out why PWDs can't leave things as they are? They move everything ...switch things off when they should be on...turn off radiators, hot water and boilers and mobile phones, move and hide tissue boxes, kitchen towels, keys, glasses etc and even when notes are placed in relevant places these are not there within a few hours. My mother buys a TV schedule magazine and then hides it and spends half the day, everyday, looking for it. She says she doesn't move anything and one day I tested her by saying here's your TV magazine and I put it on her coffee table ..please don't move it I said...she said 'of course I won't move it!'...I came back 30 minutes later and it was nowhere to be found!!! It is so frustrating as I go there and spend time looking for things that she needs instead of doing things for her or just spending quality time with her.

    I gave her a pretty note book to write things in with my help ...answers to questions she always asks (so that I could remind her to read it when she phones me) and she said "what a good idea"...the pages lasted 2 days (a record!) before they were torn out of the book and lost forever...she had no idea who did it !!!! I searched the house and bins for those pages but she had well and truly got rid of them....what goes on in their minds!? The notebook idea was on the Dementia advice I read from the Alzhiemers society....do these advice givers ever spend any time with Dementia sufferers?? I know most sufferers are all slightly different but my.mother and Aunt both do this habitually and I'm sure others do too from what I've read.
  2. northumbrian_k

    northumbrian_k Registered User

    Mar 2, 2017
    #2 northumbrian_k, Oct 14, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2017
    Who knows why this happens but it is one of the bugbears of my life, frequently having to look for things that are 'lost' or have 'walked' when they were where they should be just 2 minutes earlier. It really is bizarre. Today my little first aid box had been raided and the tube of Savlon had been replaced without its cap - I found it later in another room. Then the towels from my shower room disappeared and the mat that I use to stand on was left so filthy that I threw it out. Then her toothbrush is missing - presumed hidden inside her handbag. It goes on all day long yet my wife never moves anything!
  3. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    In my self appointed role as local consultant I was talking to a carer today who has just this problem. Her brother switches the boiler off as soon as he’s used what he wants of the hot water. I have told her before to get a lock on the boiler cupboard but I find some people feel reluctant to take firm actions in case the person is offended.

    The moving, tidying, making safe thing seems to be common and we’ve certainly had our share of it in this house with clothes folded neatly under the mattress or packed in bags.

    It is exhausting, frustrating, maddening but it does move on. Of course some other behaviour will take its place.

    Good luck!
  4. Mimi5

    Mimi5 Registered User

    Apr 22, 2017
    Yes it is exhausting the "re-homing" My MIL is always doing this and yes I have to "re-home"too!!!! We have a few strategies which help. We use a diary and a whiteboard.

    I always use the same places for things and stick to it!!

    I think it's often a wish to "keep things safe" and also the paranoia of people seeing things or removing them. Visual labels can help, but they often get removed! It's often trial and error and also a changing landscape. I just feel like a get a handle on what works and then the land shifts!!!

    Just know you are not alone and we all struggle with this type of behaviour:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:
  5. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Writing things down doesnt work, whiteboards dont work; neither does labeling things or keeping things in the same place.
    As I think Ive mentioned before - Im sure I have a space/time continuum rift in my house. Some things disappear never to be seen again and other things suddenly appear.
  6. Jo Sutton

    Jo Sutton Registered User

    Jul 8, 2016
    It's the hearing aids. I've managed to find them three times so far (although one pair took me two years as they had slipped down inside the lining of Mum's handbag), but I am currently stumped!

    Not seen since bedtime yesterday. I've checked all the usual places, the unusual places, and anywhere else I can think of. Now I have to leave it until daylight and see if that throws up anything the darkness is hiding.

    Of course, Mum hasn't touched them! She doesn't do things like that!!



    Jo xx
  7. DollyBird16

    DollyBird16 Registered User

    Sep 5, 2017
    Greater London
    Where are all of the shoes - agh!
    She is so good at hiding, i’m starting to believe her that they have been taken by the other people living here ( as you know these people do not live here)
    I genuinely cannot find the shoes, it’s so annoying.
    I did quickly find the ones hidden in the wine rack - hmmmmm. X
  8. SnowWhite

    SnowWhite Registered User

    Nov 18, 2016
    It's possible to get fiddle muffs. I have knitted a few for dementia groups. It's a thick hand knitted muff with buttons, ribbons and other things sewn on so that PWD can sit and fiddle and keep their hands warm and busy.

    If you google you will find patterns.
  9. Duggies-girl

    Duggies-girl Registered User

    Sep 6, 2017
    My dad turns off lights all the time. 'Wifi's not working' he said. I spent an hour on his laptop before I discovered he had switched off the router because it has a light on it that he passes during the night so he switches it off. So I explained to him that he needs to leave it switched on or the wifi will not work.

    Next day 'wifi's not working'

    After about a week of this I hid the router under his little cabinet so he can't see the light and won't turn it off. Seemed to work.

    Week later 'wifi's not working'

    After checking the router (which was still on) and spending most of the day fiddling with his laptop it appears that he had switched off the laptops wifi key (which I did not know even existed but it does have a little light on it) so I explained to him that he must not turn off this little light if he wants wifi.

    Next day and the following day 'wifi's not working'

    I stuck a little plaster over the offending light and now it works except that was last year and now he doesn't remember how to start the thing up anyway.

    Keeps moving his pictures around though.
  10. Pear trees

    Pear trees Registered User

    Jan 25, 2015
    My mum also used to put things in a 'safe' place. The washing machine, ottoman and divan drawers were favourite places, along with under the sink or down the toilet. She also insisted on turning off all lights except for a small table light (in case of a power cut!) And turning off all radiators and huddling by a small gas fire (gas costs money!)
    in the end we emptied and locked all drawers and cupboards, put lights on timers and took controls off radiators. After a few days she forgot about her old hiding places and marveled at how warm and bright her house was!
  11. Philbo

    Philbo Registered User

    Feb 28, 2017
    My wife is constantly "tidying", which drives me absolutely nuts! I keep a regular check on the kitchen bin, as a lot of items seem to end up there:( and I often get out to the car and find that she's carrying a cushion, tea towel, TV remote etc.

    We popped over to my son's house last week to finish off a bit of DIY (they were at work/school etc. My wife spent most of the time sitting in their conservatory and before leaving, I made sure she didn't have any items in her hand (Lego, crayons etc:)).

    Later, I get a text from my son asking if I know where mum has put the TV and Sky remotes! I give him some typical "search parameters" and after 30 minutes, still no joy. I feel a bit guilty.

    Eventually get another text saying my 5 year old grandson has "fessed up" and admitted he'd hidden them that morning so his big sister couldn't watch her programmes!:D

    We both felt even more guilty for assuming "mum" was to blame, but as he said, "well, she has got form".
  12. Amethyst59

    Amethyst59 Registered User

    Jul 3, 2017
    Oh, this has made me chuckle, @Philbo! My daughter sent me a photo the other day...obviously thinking that my OH had been tidying....and I had to confess...it was me! The dishwasher was on...the cleaner was on her way, I was in a hurry....and the photo below was the result!

    Attached Files:

  13. Jo Sutton

    Jo Sutton Registered User

    Jul 8, 2016
    Oh Amethyst, that made me laugh. Thankyou :)

    In other news, I finally located Mum's hearing aids ... in the pocket of her trousers that were out to wash. Thank goodness I always check the pockets, having had several wash loads ruined by stashed tissues.

    RESULT!!! Sunday is looking good so far :D


    Jo xx
  14. malengwa

    malengwa Registered User

    Jan 26, 2017
    My mum was doing this too. She hid £300 we looked everywhere for it, then it just reappeared one night months later (where it had always been apparently) we have no idea where it was.
    She also cut up £60 in tiny shreds, we had to hide the scissors.
    She did the same with her bus pass, we replaced it 3 times in 6 months, and 2 of them have since turned up.

    Probably the worst is hiding her (used!)incontinence pads in her handbag. At least we know to look now!
  15. Tin

    Tin Registered User

    May 18, 2014
    For 4 years this activity has been a big part of our life. At first tidying, putting away and packing-so much packing! Then mum moved on to the furniture, moving pieces around the room, she still does this, but I have now moved a lot of the easier to move furniture in the garage. Now when she is tidying all she does is move objects from different surfaces, she does like to spread things out all over the place, but it is a little disturbing when you suddenly find the teapot sitting with a cushion in the bath.
  16. DollyBird16

    DollyBird16 Registered User

    Sep 5, 2017
    Greater London
    Aha, just found the 4 packets of paper napkins, behind the sofa cushions.
    Yeah happy with that find, it’s been bothering me.
    May have found another hiding place too.
    Happy finding everyone. X
  17. Hopeful123

    Hopeful123 Registered User

    Oct 24, 2015
    West yorks
    Hi, yes tidying seems to be my husbands priority too.Lining things up, pulling out plugs, turning switches off. Caught him, a couple of weeks ago, lining up the bread rolls in one of the leading supermarkets! Pity I don't have eyes in the back of my head.
  18. Rob_E

    Rob_E Registered User

    Feb 1, 2015
    A few months ago I washed the cushion covers and brought in the cushions from the other room while they were drying. Mum hung them up to dry and then moved them somewhere, spent ages looking for them, couldn't find them anywhere! Then a few months later after I had given up they turn up, in a shopping bag! She has a habit of hiding things because she is convinced that our cats walk off with them, even things that it is impossible for them to move. The most I have ever seen the cats do is knock a pen off the table that they have been playing with but of course there is no telling mum this!
  19. Yorkshire Pudding

    Yorkshire Pudding Registered User

    Oct 9, 2017
    Both parents are masters at 'moving' things. Found wallets in microwave, money stashed in cupboards, vacuum at the top of the garden. Still haven't found mum's missing glasses though...must be the neighbours who get in through the hole in the attic at night (mum is convinced this happens even though we have shown her there's no hole).:(
  20. karaokePete

    karaokePete Registered User

    Jul 23, 2017
    N Ireland
    My wife does this too. Oh how I recall those pre diagnosis days when I got so frustrated trying in vain to teach her how to look after her classes, hearing aids, keys etc., not to switch some things off, to always switch other things off etc., etc. If only I'd known I was trying to do the impossible I could have saved myself a lot of grief.

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