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Hand wringing and clutching hands together
Posted: Thursday, June 16, 2022 9:17 AM
Joined: 6/16/2022
Posts: 1

Suggestions for this behavior?
Posted: Thursday, June 16, 2022 9:44 AM
Joined: 10/24/2018
Posts: 1497

Hi Seaview, welcome to "the best little club nobody wanted to join". You will find lots of support, knowledge, and experience here. 

I don't have personal experience of hand wringing and clutching, but can ask some questions. Does your LO seem distressed when they do this? Before dementia, what would these actions have indicated? Does your LO have arthritis in the hands? (I do, and a "wash the hands" movement is very soothing) Does the new habit prevent your LO from making other hand motions when desired?

I don't actually know where I'm going with those questions, but I do know that the more we put ourselves into our LO's reality, the better chance we have of helping. 

Others will be along in short order!

Quilting brings calm
Posted: Thursday, June 16, 2022 9:47 AM
Joined: 10/16/2020
Posts: 1017

Is your loved one an anxious person is do they suffer from OCD( obsessive compulsive disorder)?  Could be either of those,  and could be helped by an anti anxiety medication.
Posted: Thursday, June 16, 2022 10:22 AM
Joined: 9/10/2021
Posts: 314

Hi Seaview - welcome to 'here'...

My grandmother did that.  She often had a hankie she would wring and twist, and twist and wring, and often while pacing.  It was early 70's, so years before more was known about some of the behaviors we know now.  I remember she would be agitated and pace and say something about 'gotta get the kids ready, gotta get the kids ready'. She was one of the older of her siblings who would have helped get the younger ones ready for school when she was much, much younger.  It seemed that is what she was trying to do and not able to do so, or even find 'the kids' any longer, and therefore get rather agitated about it all.  I think some of the meds available now, would have helped her then.  

Does your LO seem to be agitated, or upset, by anything in particular that you can tell? Is there anything they are trying to do, or find, but cannot (real or imagined)?  or even if just agitated in general, you could let the doctor know.

May flowers
Posted: Thursday, June 16, 2022 1:44 PM
Joined: 4/9/2021
Posts: 513

Welcome! My feeling is any repetitive behavior is related - for your Lo, it might be hand wringing, for mine it was skin picking. It was the worst when he was bored or anxious. Anxiety med may be helpful for some. It wasn’t for my FIL, what worked best for him was keeping his hands busy with something else like a dementia activity pillow or blanket or other fidgit toys. That picking stage has passed for us, but the fidget toys are still very useful.
Posted: Thursday, June 16, 2022 7:41 PM
Joined: 1/11/2013
Posts: 130

I read in one of the descriptions of the stages, that this behavior or fidgeting may start because there isn't anything useful that they can do. My mother now always needs to be dong something with her hands. We have bought several items to try to keep her busy. Some more successful than others. Don't know if it's the same situation with you but it may be worth a try.
Posted: Thursday, June 16, 2022 8:27 PM
Joined: 6/20/2016
Posts: 3100

My mom did this and she liked having a thick washcloth or similar in her hands to clutch.  Also helped in the summer so if she kept her hands clenched she wouldn't get yeast on her palms and between fingers.  She'd get it in the morning, keep it in her lap during meals or if her hands were busy with something, and after she fell asleep they would take the old one to wash and put a new one to grab for the next day.
mommyandme (m&m)
Posted: Friday, June 17, 2022 3:27 PM
Joined: 2/16/2020
Posts: 586

My mom always needs to do something with her hands and if she doesn’t have anything in them she goes for her skin, forehead, face and wrists.  Pretty unsightly for sure.  Picking her finger nail polish instead of her cuticles is a proactive approach we take. She picks and pulls on her stuffed animals’ fur. She messes with the drawstrings on her pants and will hold onto them for dear life, along with blankets or sheets.  Those children sewing boards with shoelaces are helpful.  I sew them up and she removes the laces.  Unfortunately she seems to deem the activity blanket as an insult. I gave her a stylus the other day and she hung on to that and pointed with for quite awhile.  It’s a daily struggle for sure.  

What stage is your LO? That could make a difference. 

May flowers
Posted: Friday, June 17, 2022 6:38 PM
Joined: 4/9/2021
Posts: 513

I would add, my FIL will also wad up a and wring the edge of his nightshirt and lap blanket.

He keeps trying to eat his fidget toys, which is a whole other issue. He plays with his pop it for a bit then tries to eat it and gets very frustrated that he can’t. We just substitute food when we see him doing it. 

Posted: Monday, June 20, 2022 6:30 PM
Joined: 2/27/2022
Posts: 58

Yes dad does the hand wringing. He also does the balled up fist to a flat hand like three times and stop, then after a while again. So with the first I always know it was either stress or his arthritis acting up. With the latter, I knew he was worried or had something weighing on him. Sometimes I would ask say oh no, what you stressing about and he way say what it is and then other times he would go, I don't know baby.
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