1. sssuffolk

    sssuffolk Registered User

    Jul 2, 2015
    New to this forum so please bear with.
    My mum has Alzheimer's and moved into a nursing home January this year. She thinks, when in conversation with a relative abroad, that she is travelling every day and in a different hotel each night.
    She spends a lot of time packing her things away ready to leave. These are random things including pictures, dirty clothes, clean clothes, ornaments etc. She only has one bag in her room so she fills as much as she can into it and piles stuff around it. She does this daily, sometimes more than once. I help her unpack when I visit, and she's quite happy for me to do so but I wonder if
    a. I should help her or just leave it all packed?
    b. we should encourage this by leaving her more bags or
    c. discourage by removing the one bag that she has there? I don't really believe this option is correct as she seems happy in doing the packing though she does this alone so cant be entirely sure.
    The nursing home suggested it might stop as a natural end but it doesn't seem to have and maybe won't. Mum is not unhappy in the home.
  2. niki

    niki Registered User

    Jun 16, 2011
    Birchington, Kent.
    Just go along with it. If she's happy doing it, let her. My Mum had a stuffed toy horse on the bottom of her bed (no idea where it came from) and she'd say, 'it isn't any trouble, it just lays there!' We would just say 'oh, ok'. Mum would also put everything in her chest of drawers and hoard all the towels and face flannels! And she'd hide the toilet rolls because she said people will steal them.
    She would at that time get quite anxious and very confused so I never questioned her, just went along with it. (apart from when she started throwing stuff out of the window and flushing everything down the loo - but that's another story!).
  3. cragmaid

    cragmaid Registered User

    Oct 18, 2010
    North East England
    Just ride it out....chances are she'll stop eventually, but it's harmless. It doesn't mean she hates the home, just that she thinks she's moving each day. Don't take more bags in, but let her carry on for now.
  4. Demonica66

    Demonica66 Registered User

    Oct 23, 2014
    Hi. My mum did exactly this and still does every now and again. I simply unpack whilst talking to her. To be honest, it kept her occupied at times and the staff at the CH just went along with it. I've learned to just go with the flow now. Whatever helps to keep Mum stress-free is the best way. Your Mum is probably very happy to be 'travelling'. It's not a bad way to live, is it?!

    Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point
  5. 2jays

    2jays Registered User

    Jun 4, 2010
    West Midlands
    My thoughts

    Packing is a form of finding control
    In a world that cannot be controlled

    Mum made lists of what to pack. Packed, un packed. Made lists (of sorts) of what she had packed and un packed..... Then packed again, then decided the bag she had used for certain items wasn't the right bag....

    And so it went on.... Seemingly for years in my opinion, but looking back, only for 5 months...

    Each fortnight we took a bag away.... She started with 10 bags..... Mum still packed, but never noticed any bag missing....

    Now, she like sorting things.... She has two shoe boxes of "stuff".... 10 playing cards, a few birthday or Christmas cards, torn up pieces from magazines that she has "chosen" to keep, broken necklaces..... "Stuff" that needs sorting. Once one box is sorted, the carers give her the other box to sort.... Mums enjoyment in sorting these boxes keeps her occupied all day.

    She has told me that she doesn't want to move this week as they need her as she is helping them with their filing system,,,,

    Every week for the last 10 months she has felt needed to sort out the "hotel" with their filing system so could I pick her up tomorrow to take her home

    I'm a lucky one having found a care home that mum feels so safe in

    Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point
  6. Isabella41

    Isabella41 Registered User

    Feb 20, 2012
    Northern Ireland
    I think its a phase that alot of folk go through. My own mum didn't but over the 2 and a bit years she has been in her care home i've noticed a number of the ladies pottering around with packed bags and then one day I go in and notice its stopped and they have moved on to something else. On the greater scale of things that occur with dementia I think the packing one is very harmless so i'd be inclined to just let her do and and make no comment and think "this too will pass"

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