1. scattysue

    scattysue Registered User

    Aug 20, 2015
    Hello all - I don't post often but regularly read others posts and have found this very helpful in the past few years since my sister (now aged 81) was diagnosed with alzheimers.
    K still lives independently, with 4 home care visits per day and 3 days at a local day centre. Over recent months her confusion has increased dramatically and we have had to disable the cooker (using an isolator switch) for her safety.
    I visit once or twice a week and am in regular touch each day (phone morning and night)
    On my last visit I was changing some curtains for her and found 10 frozen meals packed away neatly in the drawer where the curtains are stored - the smell was pretty bad and of course K had not placed the meals there - someone else must have done this.

    I wondered if this is something that is common behaviour - any ideas about what might have caused her to hide the food would be welcome as well as any suggestions of how I might lessen the chances of it happening again.

    Many thanks to any who reply
  2. LadyA

    LadyA Registered User

    Oct 19, 2009
    Tbh, more worrying is the fact that she was obviously supposed to heat/eat them and hadn't? So has she been skipping meals?

    Hiding things, including food, is very common. My husband, every morning, had to have a banana and toast with peanut butter for breakfast. He never ate the toast though. But he had to have it! After he moved into a nursing home and I was cleaning out his "office" (took around two weeks I think!), I found toast hidden all over the place- in bookshelves, under shelves, in books, under desks...!

    May be that your sister needs an extra Carer visit to see to her main meal? Or is she just buying and hoarding extra ready meals? In which case, a word with the carers to check the drawers for them each day - and maybe use them for your sister's meal if possible.
  3. DMac

    DMac Registered User

    Jul 18, 2015
    Surrey, UK
    Hello Scattysue,

    Short answer is yes, it's very common to 'hide' food in odd places. My MIL would put half-eaten dinners in the microwave, for someone to discover days later once the remnants had gone off! As to the causes of this behaviour, I guess it's more to do with forgetting about correct processes for food handling, than any deliberate attempt to hide the food.

    Would your sister accept the idea of meals-on-wheels? Assuming, of course, that there is a service in her area. She may still need a carer to encourage her to eat, perhaps by keeping her company at mealtimes.
  4. sunray

    sunray Registered User

    Sep 21, 2008
    East Coast of Australia
    My Mum who had Alzheimers used to hide food too. When she lived here a terrible smell in her bedroom led me to a wardrobe where under a pile of clothes ( she used to stockpile dirty clothes as well) was a handbag with a very green sausage roll in it. I had a regular routine of sorting her room out but I had missed that one.

  5. Pear trees

    Pear trees Registered User

    Jan 25, 2015
    My mum used to hide half of her micro meal for later in strange places like in her divan drawers and washing machine. She was worried she would run out of food even though we took her shopping twice a week and she went to lunch club 3 days. When carers started she hid all of her food so they would not steal it. When the carers reported she had no food I had to explain and then replace all spoiled food. It was obvious she was not eating properly so I now order frozen meal deliveries which the carers prepare.
    We cleared out all cupboards and sealed them up except for a few, and got a new freezer that she could not open.
  6. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    My husband often hands me a half eaten meal and asks me to store it for later. Of course I bin it when he isnt looking and he instantly forgets but if he were living alone then he too would be storing left overs. Yuck!
  7. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    SW London
    I once found a dried up ham sandwich - on a plate - in my mother's underwear drawer.

    I don't think it was 'hidden' as such - it was just something else put in a bizarre place because her brain could no,longer remember what to do with a ham sandwich she didn't want to eat for the moment.
  8. NatB123

    NatB123 Registered User

    Aug 2, 2016
    My Nan is currently in hospital so I took the opportunity to clean her house for her and clear out things that weren't quite where they were supposed to be! I've found rubbish put behind the radiators, folded up tissues everywhere (she loves a good folded tissue!) dirty pants in an old handbag and food in strange places. Half eaten bags of crisps stuffed in china vases, chocolate bars in with her jewellery, half eaten ready meals in drawers with the material she used to use for sewing!
    It taught me a valuable lesson.....I tidy different bits of her house every day when she is in another room or when she will let me and always look in her 'favourite hiding places' for things that shouldn't be there. But it taught me that actually she didn't have a favourite hiding place like I had thought and that really I should have been checking everywhere regularly!
  9. northumbrian_k

    northumbrian_k Registered User

    Mar 2, 2017
    Tins of sardines (fortunately not open!) in my wife's boots inside the wardrobe, a half-eaten banana in the fruit bowl. Not just food but anything that my wife has in her hand gets put down anywhere.
  10. Tin

    Tin Registered User

    May 18, 2014
    My mum used to do a lot of this even after she moved in with me and she still does it sometimes. I occasionally find a half eaten banana or biscuit in a drawer or under a cushion. Back in the day when I would ask her why, she would always deny or blame someone else. I prefer to see it as her putting things away for later, just a bit unfortunate that she does not know the correct place to put things. By the way, I used to regularly find her knickers and socks in the fridge!
  11. Ottillie

    Ottillie Registered User

    Jul 12, 2017
    Thank God, the sardines weren't opened!
    I go through the all the time with my mum, I've found old mouldy food in drawers, back of cupboards, clothes' pockets!
  12. thekeymurphy

    thekeymurphy Registered User

    Jul 5, 2017
    As others have mentioned, this isn't really a habit of hiding food, but merely forgetting the correct processes. I've come across food hidden in drawers and even behind houseplants! :eek:
  13. Ottillie

    Ottillie Registered User

    Jul 12, 2017
    Sealing up the cupboards is a brilliant idea. Mum is spending so much on food every week because of waste, and it's all related to the thought that the carers will steal it.
  14. JaquelineM

    JaquelineM Registered User

    Jan 8, 2017
    north london
    just thought I would throw my tuppence worth in ! the most we've had with hidden food so far is chocolate in the cutlery drawer and old tea bag lurking in the fridge , but no doubt there'll be much more to come . Other things regularly go missing and turn up in odd places , soap from bathroom basin on top of bookcase in OH's room , phone charger (mine) stashed away in drawer of old junk in the basement to name but a few . I think it must that PWD is wanting to put things away safely , as others have said , but doesn't realise they no longer know where that might be , if that makes sense , and obviously have no memory of having done it . Yesterday I heard a rattling noise coming from the tumble dryer and on investigating found a black pen in with the towels ! Unfortunately towels now smeared with black ink !! :rolleyes:
  15. LadyA

    LadyA Registered User

    Oct 19, 2009
    Spray the ink with lots of hairspray, which should dissolve the ink, rinse in cold water,,and then wash the towels in cold water. Hopefully, that will take the ink out.
  16. scattysue

    scattysue Registered User

    Aug 20, 2015
    Many thanks to all of you for your replies - its encouraging to know that this is fairly common behaviour and may simply be K putting things away safely (as she sees it)

    I buy ready meals and store them in the freezer - K's teatime carer makes a meal for her when she will allow it. On 4 or 5 days of the week K always has a cooked meal - 3 days at day care and one or two when I visit. Unfortunately we had to use the isolater switch to disable the cooker as K had a couple of mishaps when trying to cook for herself. The carers know how to switch the cooker on in order to make a meal and then switch it off again afterwards. The microwave is also available but K does not remember how to use it.

    I have mentioned the food storage to K's carers and they will, along with myself, be checking odd places for any stray food.

    Many thanks again to all of you for sharing your own experiences - it helps a lot :)
  17. JaquelineM

    JaquelineM Registered User

    Jan 8, 2017
    north london
    Thanks Lady A , will try your suggestion :)
  18. Early Girlie

    Early Girlie Registered User

    Jul 5, 2015
    St Albans
    Hubby bought some Jaffa cakes and actually told me he'd hidden them so he didn't have to share them with me . It would have worked, I suppose, if he hadn't hidden them in my underwear drawer

  19. Rob_E

    Rob_E Registered User

    Feb 1, 2015
    Yes it's very common as others have said. my nan was always hiding the keys when she had alzeimers. Now mum is hiding her shoes so our two cats can't walk off with them and then of course she can't find them as she forgets where she has put them! When I suggested that it is impossible for the cats to move them she claims to have witnessed them in the act! The cats are wonderful company for her when I am not there and a great stress reliever for me so it's a small price to pay. This weekend I am decorating the hall and stairs so am having great fun trying to keep mum from touching wet paint, there are large printed notes everywhere as she also refuses to wear her glasses.

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