Mother in law picks at her face all day.

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by MrsO, Jul 10, 2015.

  1. MrsO

    MrsO Registered User

    Jul 10, 2015
    Hi every one,

    I currently live with my mother in law who was diagnosed with dementia a year ago and appears to be in stage 2.

    For the past 6 months she is been picking at her face which has led to several open wounds and an infection. We speak to her about it when she is doing it and she gets angry and denies that she has done it even though we have witnessed her doing it.

    We have tried to dress it to stop her from scratching at them but she pulls them and is convinced she has stitched in her face from 60yrs ago even though the doctor has told her there are no stitches.

    Has any one else had to deal with issue?

    Thank you
  2. Miss shiraz

    Miss shiraz Registered User

    Dec 24, 2014
    #2 Miss shiraz, Jul 10, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2015
    Yes with my MIL. ., in fact it could have been me writing your post except my MIL'S is not that bad. First it was her legs...Doc gave her cream. Now her face. I think its habit and possibly when she's anxious, she also sniffs a lot when she's anxious... (sooooo annoying). We give her a tissue but there's nothing to come out so she just carries on sniffing. :D
    maybe worth a trip to Docs for cream but don't be surprised if it clears up and she scratches elsewhere. Or could you buy her some cream and tell her its 'special' cream especially for her problem, she can then see in the mirror how well its worked?!
  3. Long-Suffering

    Long-Suffering Registered User

    Jul 6, 2015
    My dad is always scratching himself and making himself bleed. Also picks his nose constantly and makes it bleed too. Not sure if this is due to the dementia or to the steroids he is taking for his other health issues. I know the steroids make his skin very thin, and he bruises and bleeds very easily, so it might be the meds rather than dementia. Not sure. Might be connected to the anxiety aspect of dementia I suppose.

  4. LizzyA

    LizzyA Registered User

    Feb 21, 2013
    Near Reading
    oh yes. It was mum's face that she scratched at, leaving several open wounds. It's now her arms. Her bed ends up covered in blood. Occasionally the district nurse will dress the wounds. Mum now fiddles with everything which has led to her removing catheters as well. All rather challenging. She needs mittens or something. If you find a solution please let me know!
  5. Canadian Joanne

    Canadian Joanne Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 8, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    My mother didn't scratch but she went through a long (months and months) period of clearing her throat every minute or two. It drove me mad, not to mention that my dreaded aunt kept going on about how Mum needed to have her throat swabbed to find out what the matter was. There was nothing wrong, it was just a behavourial tic but you couldn't convince my aunt of that.
  6. Essie

    Essie Registered User

    Feb 11, 2015
    My Mum used to scratch at her legs a lot and with her skin so thin it didn't take much to cause some nasty damage but I used to insist on long socks, day and night, which did really help - no use for your Mil's face of course.

    Could you try soft cotton gloves, I know you can buy ones for wearing overnight when you have handcream on. And keeping her nails very, very short will really help - a daily whizz over with an emery board maybe, once they have been cut short? Short nails are generally a good idea, definitely more hygienic.

    And maybe just something for her to fiddle with as a distraction - you'd know best what she might be tempted by but something in the style of a Twiddlemuff, or a box of 'bits', a pile of socks to 'pair up' (buy a bundle from a charity shop) or a child's abacus or similar toy....

    Good luck in sorting it, it must be horrible to see your Mil hurting herself like this.
  7. pippop1

    pippop1 Registered User

    Apr 8, 2013

    Could the sniffing be mild hayfever? An anti-histamine tablet will sort that out.
  8. Long-Suffering

    Long-Suffering Registered User

    Jul 6, 2015
    Interesting. My mum has done this for as long as I can remember. Yet another dementia symptom she has though I've never considered she could have dementia.

  9. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    OH scratches a lot too - the only thing that helps is keeping his hands occupied with other activities. Playing cards have helped a lot!
  10. avian999

    avian999 Registered User

    Oct 24, 2011
    Cardigan Wales

    My husband bites at his nails all the time. They are so short now they look painful but if I say anything he just says he doesn't do it often...

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