Help keep your loved ones safe with the Home Safety Checklist.
RSS Feed Print
Obsessive Behaviours
Posted: Wednesday, February 7, 2018 7:53 PM
Joined: 5/18/2017
Posts: 16

I think this is just a vent, but if you have any advice I'd gladly take it!
My mother is stage 7, and has started obsessing over things. At least twice a week she removes everything from the kitchen garbage can, spreads it over the floor, and stacks it neatly to put it back so it takes up less room. She arranges the dirty dishes on the counter by type (stacking spoons together, etc.). She checks the thermometer several times a day and reports the temperature both inside and out each time. She constantly watches the house across the street to see if anyone comes and goes.

She hears noises, and cannot ignore them until she finds out exactly what they are. Sometimes it's a car door closing. Sometimes it's the furnace kicking on. Sometimes there is no noise, but she insists "something is running" and walks around the house listening, both on the main floor and in the basement, for sometimes as long as an hour. She makes me walk around listening as well, and gets irrationally angry when I can't hear anything.

She keeps a stack of junk mail on the table next to her chair, and reads it like it holds the answer to life, the universe, and everything... often out loud. She's upset that our toilet flushes loudly, so she refuses to flush it. But since she's not flushing, she also doesn't use toilet paper (thankfully she'll still wipe and flush if she defecates). She refuses to take a shower because she says the water pressure hurts her skin, instead washing her hair in the kitchen sink and using baby wipes on her body.

My sisters don't see any of that when they visit, so they think I'm making things up. I'd like to see them here at 3am so she can wake them up to walk the house trying to find that running thing!

Posted: Wednesday, February 7, 2018 9:39 PM
Joined: 7/17/2017
Posts: 201


How about getting a night vision sound and/or motion activated camera and showing it to your relatives?   You can buy a good one on Amazon right now for 99$,(a picture frame with a hidden camera),  or cheaper ones with less features.  Your Mom is actually being very normal~~ for a late-stage Alzheimer's person.  

Posted: Wednesday, February 7, 2018 9:56 PM
Joined: 7/17/2017
Posts: 201

Just a few more things ( I tend to do this; sorry).  

Who's running the show at your place?  Your Mom sure shouldn't be; please don't continue to walk around aimlessly with her for so long; the exercise may be good for both of you, so if you want to make a game out of it, maybe that would be fun.  Perhaps some soothing music will calm her and muffle extraneous sounds.  

Posted: Wednesday, February 7, 2018 10:33 PM
Joined: 10/8/2017
Posts: 155

 Felix, I just read your post to my husband bc it is so similar to how my mom has been for several years. If I listed all her obsessive behaviors this post would never end. She had them all..checking, telling, asking, contamination, hoarding, cleaning, hand washing, fears..etc 

Mom has since declined significantly. She is no longer oriented and has stopped many of her obsessive behaviors (but she still sorts and stacks the dishes among other things). It's a relief to not have to deal with the OCD but this next stage brings its own set of challenges with agitation and wandering. 

I understand the frustration you are feeling. I'm so sorry. I honestly don't  know how we survived her OCD years. We did stop her from getting the mail bc she would read everything for hours, get upset  and want me to respond to even junk mail. We would just give her cards from relatives that would make her happy. It's very hard. I agree that trying to diffuse things by redirecting her might be better than following her around listening to walls but I also understand their persistence causes us to do whatever it takes.  We made my daughters boyfriend pretend to be an electrician and he "checked" all of mom's outlets and electrical wires in her room bc she refused to sleep in there bc she was sure there was an electrical problem .

I hope you find some ways to improve your situation and find some peace. 

Taking A Deep Breath
Posted: Wednesday, February 7, 2018 11:26 PM
Joined: 7/2/2013
Posts: 510

For me, unless she is a fall risk and you have to get up whenever she gets uo, I would be glad to have my mom occupied.  The only thing my mom does is food and refold blankets. It gets annoying but clearly no harm.  I have my mom a box of printed socks so she could sort and match but she doesn't seem able to do that.  Is she on anything for anxiety? My mom was started on ativan as needed in the beginning.  Now she takes half in the morning and half at night.
Posted: Thursday, February 8, 2018 5:43 AM
Joined: 6/5/2014
Posts: 1236

This is a phase many PWD go through as they progress. I remember it well. We "go with the flow," trying to keep them calm. It's not easy, and it takes a lot out of us. 

I have a friend whose wife is stuck in this phase. She's in a MC. They have boxes of clothes she sorts & folds all day long. And when they set the table for meals, she is compelled to rearrange everything. She is on Haldol to enable her to be "manageable." 

Posted: Thursday, February 8, 2018 4:08 PM
Joined: 5/18/2017
Posts: 16

I can't tell you how much it helps just knowing this is normal behaviour! Not that it makes it any easier, necessarily, but at least I know it's nothing to worry about.



We're in a unique situation here. I'm the live-in caregiver, but I'm also the youngest daughter. Which means I have little to no actual authority to do anything, but I bear the bulk of the stress and day to day issues. I'm not even authorized on the utility bills, and cannot call anyone if there is a problem. Today she decided I was mad at her and stormed off to her room after telling me to just leave like I always do. Turns out that was my sister who got mad at her and left during a visit about two weeks ago, so at least I've solved that mystery and can try not to be hurt by it. It also explains why I haven't seen or heard from my sister in almost two weeks.

When mom was first diagnosed (or, rather, 6 months later when she told us, almost a year ago now), she said she wanted to go into AL/MC when she got bad. Unfortunately, that's where it lies, because no one is doing anything about POA or anything else, and I'm afraid we've missed the window of opportunity for her to legally sign anything. She has named my oldest sister the executor of her estate, and my second-oldest sister is now on her bank accounts, but no one has even called a lawyer or begun looking at facilities, much less gotten her on a waiting list for one. I'm afraid I'm going to end up stuck with her until she's gone... and that sounds horrible! I don't mind looking after her at least not now when she's able to be left alone for periods of time. But I have numerous health and related financial problems and cannot just stop working to take care of her full time even if I was remotely trained or qualified to do so.

Sorry. Today is not a good day. I'm writing instead of screaming or beating my head against the nearest wall.

Posted: Thursday, February 8, 2018 4:30 PM
Joined: 6/12/2015
Posts: 1132

Felix, have you talked to your siblings about what's going on? It could be they don't really know the extent of her behaviors so they aren't making contingency plans. You need to describe to them what you experience in specific detail and let them know that you are limited by health and work issues on how long you can take care of her. Hopefully they will understand and be willing to help out planning for her care. You definitely need to have some plans for dealing with her care as she changes and gets more difficult to be left alone, and if you work, how will they arrange for her care when you are at work? They need to start thinking about this now because "later" has a way of being sooner than you think.
Posted: Thursday, February 8, 2018 6:30 PM
Joined: 5/16/2017
Posts: 208

No, you are not stuck with her.  Talk to your siblings and remind them your mother said she wanted to go into memory care when the time came and it has come.    Start looking at facilities..they will help you get her assessed.

You do not need a POA to get her into a facility, especially if she is agreeable to moving.

× Close Menu