My 97 year old aunt is being cared for 7/24s in her home. when she gets mad at the caregivers she uses her bowel movement to play with it (she is in diapers) and smear it on her face. This is getting a more frequent occurrence. Is this a sign of dementia? She has been diagnosed at Stanford with mild dementia/alzheimer.
This is absolutely a sign of dementia.. I have been posting on the Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia Board here on HB since 2004 and it was an enormous help to me in being the caregiver of my Mom. She passed away at the age of 99, with final stage Dementia.
Last edited by Mod-S4; 06-30-2009 at 06:46 PM.
Reason: Reference to other thread removed.
I have to agree with Martha that this is part of dementia/alzheimer's. As hard as it is to believe she has no idea what she is doing or why or that she should not do this. She feels something in her brief, she checks it out, she may not even remember she has done then when she decides to scratch her face. To us she is smearing feces on her face... to her she is just doing what comes natural in the moment and the moments do not connect. Perhaps a tighter brief that she has trouble getting her hands into would help with this problem or a shirt tail tucked in that would prevent her from getting to the brief. The harder it is to get her hands there the less likely she would be to get feces on her hands.
At the NH where my mother was, the staff was trained to change a person's diaper at the first sign of a BM. People didn't have enough time to feel it or smear it - they were whisked away and changed before they had the chance.
I am not sure if your Aunt is doing it as a form of protest, by accident, or just because it is there and she wants to play with it. An AD pateint has not much control over what they do, especially in the later stages.