Fixations

Champers

Registered User
Jan 3, 2019
225
I’m very conscious that I’ve been asking a lot of questions on here lately but every week we seem to be hitting another issue.

Every time I ring mother, she tells me she needs to go to the bank and also get food shopping. I’ve taken all her cash and cards off her as she was losing or hiding them and has forgotten her PIN or even how it works months ago. Her neighbour used to take her shopping until around last September when she got into a complete muddle with money and was also buying food she didn’t need (mostly because it was on the half price end of aisle!) which I ended up binning (30 tubs of butter for example) Even when I was a child living at home, she had a tendency to food hoard - if anyone remembers the sugar shortage in the 1970s, my mother was the one with 30 bags of sugar in the cupboard, just in case!

I have arranged meals on wheels, so I know she’s getting a least one hot meal a day, and have any incidental fresh food, like bread, cheese, fruit etc delivered by her milkman. However, she seems fixated or even obsessed with the need to still go to her local supermarket. I know she has plenty of supplies and doesn’t need anything but it’s continuous. I always ask her what she wants to buy and invariably it’s something I know she’s definitely got. Her shopping list for years has always been exactly the same - whether she needs the items or not! The same with the bank. She hasn’t needed cash for months because I have arranged payment for everything and she doesn’t go out but there is this constant talk about having to get money.

Is this yet another Alzheimer’s manifestation?
 

lis66

Registered User
Aug 7, 2015
278
Hi champers yes I think it must be my mum used to be obsessed with having money in her purse I had to check every week 200 pounds or more,was in her purse,now sadly money means nothing to her xx
 

marionq

Registered User
Apr 24, 2013
6,013
Scotland
I’m very conscious that I’ve been asking a lot of questions on here lately but every week we seem to be hitting another issue.

Every time I ring mother, she tells me she needs to go to the bank and also get food shopping. I’ve taken all her cash and cards off her as she was losing or hiding them and has forgotten her PIN or even how it works months ago. Her neighbour used to take her shopping until around last September when she got into a complete muddle with money and was also buying food she didn’t need (mostly because it was on the half price end of aisle!) which I ended up binning (30 tubs of butter for example) Even when I was a child living at home, she had a tendency to food hoard - if anyone remembers the sugar shortage in the 1970s, my mother was the one with 30 bags of sugar in the cupboard, just in case!

I have arranged meals on wheels, so I know she’s getting a least one hot meal a day, and have any incidental fresh food, like bread, cheese, fruit etc delivered by her milkman. However, she seems fixated or even obsessed with the need to still go to her local supermarket. I know she has plenty of supplies and doesn’t need anything but it’s continuous. I always ask her what she wants to buy and invariably it’s something I know she’s definitely got. Her shopping list for years has always been exactly the same - whether she needs the items or not! The same with the bank. She hasn’t needed cash for months because I have arranged payment for everything and she doesn’t go out but there is this constant talk about having to get money.

Is this yet another Alzheimer’s manifestation?
Have you read the book Elizabeth is Missing? It is about an elderly lady with Alzheimer’s and one of her obsessions is buying unnecessary stuff. It is a very good book and a bit of a mystery too. I have it on Kindle. Gives a good insight to what is going on.
 

Sirena

Registered User
Feb 27, 2018
2,065
My gran (born in 1916) always had a dozen bags of sugar and a dozen boxes of tea in her cupboards - I always thought it was due to the war years/rationing rather than the 70s but who knows! (I always ensure I have four boxes of teabags myself nowadays...)

But yes PWDs (people with dementia) do seem to get stuck in a loop with a particular fixation, often around money, buying unnecessary things, or checking windows/doors are locked. I think it is partly to do with being 'safe' - obviously they know something is wrong but are not clear what it is. I understand what you mean about continually hitting new issues. As time went on I felt as if I was resolving one crisis only to hit another. It was only finally resolved when my mother moved to a care home last year, she seems to feel safe there and the anxieties have disappeared.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
11,351
South coast
My mums buying fixation revolved around buying toiletries and, especially, tissues and toilet paper - there were boxes and boxes of the stuff everywhere!!

I think mum was desperately trying to fit in with normality and knew that going shopping was normal, but she couldnt remember what she needed, so bought the things she was worried about running out of!

Like @Sirena , mums anxieties only resolved once she moved into a care home, although to begin with I had to put fake money into her purse as she worried about having none and her pockets and bag were always full to bursting with tissues and paper napkins. I didnt have to buy her toiletries or tissues in the 3 years that she lived in her care home as I just used up her supply!!!
 

jugglingmum

Registered User
Jan 5, 2014
5,519
Chester
I think mum was desperately trying to fit in with normality and knew that going shopping was normal, but she couldnt remember what she needed, so bought the things she was worried about running out of!
I came to this conclusion with my mum as well. I filled a whole bath (heaped up) with toilet rolls (in their bags) and boxes of tissues when I cleared mum's house.

I'd not heard of the 70s food shortages but do remember lots of food stored under my bed including at one stage sugar but mum didn't hoard food particularly.
 

Rob_E

Registered User
Feb 1, 2015
172
Liverpool
I wish I had some great advice to offer but I can only offer sympathy and understanding. Mum started hoarding about 5 years ago, at one stage we ended up with a drawer full of rolls of bin liners. Eggs was another favourite! She wasn't consciously hoarding, it was that she had forgotten that she already had an ample supply of things. Another issue was that the local branch of her bank was closing. Every month they sent her a letter reminding her of this and every month we had the same conversation multiple times as we couldn't get her to understand that it was only the branch and not the whole bank that was closing and that her direct debits would still be paid and she would still have access to her money.



All i can say is that it did pass eventually, much to our relief.
 

Jaded'n'faded

Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
611
High Peak
We only discovered the extent of mum's hoarding after she moved to a CH and we cleared her house.

Contents included 36 litres of milk, 4 carrier bags full of batteries, a couple of dozen large bars of chocolate, huge amounts of new lipsticks and powder compacts, masses of junk jewellery, mostly still tagged and including ridiculous big dangly earrings (she never wore costume jewellery), eleventeen torches and more air fresheners than you could shake a stick at.

The items that really surprised us were 7 (brand new) shower heads of varying designs. None would fit her showers, which were working fine anyway. Oh - and every drawer had loads of small (new) plastic bags, carefully folded very small and knotted in the middle.

I'm sure this was perfectly normal behaviour in mum's eyes... :rolleyes:
 

marionq

Registered User
Apr 24, 2013
6,013
Scotland
I came to this conclusion with my mum as well. I filled a whole bath (heaped up) with toilet rolls (in their bags) and boxes of tissues when I cleared mum's house.

I'd not heard of the 70s food shortages but do remember lots of food stored under my bed including at one stage sugar but mum didn't hoard food particularly.
IT wasnt that there was a food shortage in the 70s it was because we were afraid of a nuclear bomb. If you read the history of Kennedy and Kruschev in the sixties and thereafter you will see that there was a lot of tension in the air. My friend and I used to split cases of tinned food etc and stash it away.
 

imthedaughter

Registered User
Apr 3, 2019
159
Dad was obsessed with newspaper at the old place. He had it on his bed, stuffed into the holes in the mattress (that's another story), over his duvet (to keep warm, apparently. He's afraid of being cold but the whole place had underfloor heating) and all over the bathroom floor for absorption of any spills and as a non slip covering (this is all his justification, everyone who visited thought he was mad).

There was nothing newspaper could not do! Including replacing loo roll. I bought him a big pack of loo roll and he said he didn't use it. He wasn't lying either, I took all but one roll back with me when I moved him out six weeks later and that roll was barely used.

Grim, but not life threatening for him, social services weren't concerned but the living place was not happy he was flushing newspaper down the toilet and other residents realised he was stealing their papers (before they had even had a chance to read them!)

Anyway I visited him again in the new home and there wasn't a newspaper in sight. It seems these obsessions can move on - hopefully not to something worse but only time will tell!
 

Rach1985

Registered User
Jun 9, 2019
398
Recently found out my dad has Alzheimer’s, now around the house we keep finding things he has hoarded. Electrical tape in his T-shirt drawer. Tea spoons that we threw away as brought new ones, taken out of the kitchen bin and put in his bedside table
Should we throw away these things, like the teaspoons as we had intended? Or keep them because he clearly wanted them?
He’s in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and so don’t want him feeling like we are undermining him, but at the same time don’t want to really allow the hoarding to get out of hand?
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
11,351
South coast
Recently found out my dad has Alzheimer’s, now around the house we keep finding things he has hoarded. Electrical tape in his T-shirt drawer. Tea spoons that we threw away as brought new ones, taken out of the kitchen bin and put in his bedside table
Should we throw away these things, like the teaspoons as we had intended? Or keep them because he clearly wanted them?
He’s in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and so don’t want him feeling like we are undermining him, but at the same time don’t want to really allow the hoarding to get out of hand?
Ha! You wait till its not just teaspoons, but gone off food that is being taken out of the bin and put back in the cupboard :eek::eek::eek:

If you need to throw something away (or recycle or anything) remove it surreptitiously out of the house and dispose of it at home, so he cant bring it back in again. Even putting it in the dustbin outside doesnt always work.
 

Agzy

Registered User
Nov 16, 2016
1,015
Moreton, Wirral. UK.
I’m very conscious that I’ve been asking a lot of questions on here lately but every week we seem to be hitting another issue.

Every time I ring mother, she tells me she needs to go to the bank and also get food shopping. I’ve taken all her cash and cards off her as she was losing or hiding them and has forgotten her PIN or even how it works months ago. Her neighbour used to take her shopping until around last September when she got into a complete muddle with money and was also buying food she didn’t need (mostly because it was on the half price end of aisle!) which I ended up binning (30 tubs of butter for example) Even when I was a child living at home, she had a tendency to food hoard - if anyone remembers the sugar shortage in the 1970s, my mother was the one with 30 bags of sugar in the cupboard, just in case!

I have arranged meals on wheels, so I know she’s getting a least one hot meal a day, and have any incidental fresh food, like bread, cheese, fruit etc delivered by her milkman. However, she seems fixated or even obsessed with the need to still go to her local supermarket. I know she has plenty of supplies and doesn’t need anything but it’s continuous. I always ask her what she wants to buy and invariably it’s something I know she’s definitely got. Her shopping list for years has always been exactly the same - whether she needs the items or not! The same with the bank. She hasn’t needed cash for months because I have arranged payment for everything and she doesn’t go out but there is this constant talk about having to get money.

Is this yet another Alzheimer’s manifestation?
Hi @Champers and yes, it seems to be as my OH doesn’t hoard or overbuy food, but toiletries!!!! We have shelves of every cleaning spray imaginable plus moisturisers, deodorants and hand soaps, we could open a shop but woe befalls me in spades if, when in a shop, I say we have plenty as she will let the world and it’s neighbours know how little I know about housekeeping and shopping. Mind you the kids and neighbours get the windfalls when I have little clearouts.