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Old 04-19-2012, 01:56 PM   #1
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Latest challenge: Rummaging and Hoarding

Well here is the latest challenge we are facing with my Aunt Clare…

For a while she has done a little rummaging and hoarding, but it was mostly harmless.

However, lately, she has been doing a lot more of both.

The rummaging we just deal with. She takes all her possessions out every day, or several times a day, puts them in screwy places and then of course thinks they have disappeared. We fix them up for her when we go. We have put large lettered signs on the drawers and closet to remind her where things are but it doesn’t really help. It makes us feel better though.

The real problem is the hoarding. We are finding it hard to strike a balance between “don’t argue or disagree” and safety/practicality. She wants us to bring all kinds of things to her room and gets mad when we don’t bring them, and can’t understand that there is simply not enough room even tho they let us put a little extra fiberboard cabinet in her room. But they will not let me bring in any additional furniture.

For example, she wants me to bring her several cases each of bottled water, tissues, bathroom tissue, paper towels and incontinence protection. Needless to say she doesn’t need any of these items least of all in cases! They let me bring her to the storage room so she could see they have plenty but no luck.

I tried to trick her by bringing stuff in and telling her we would put it in the storage room and then taking it home but then she wants to see the storage room to make sure they are there.

She also wants notebooks, pens, clips, tape, staplers… but she already has a whole drawer with these office type items, which of course she does not use. I counted and in one drawer along she has 16 notebooks in various sizes, 6 boxes of pens, 12 packets yellow stickie notes, two boxes of (plastic) paper clips, 2 boxes of envelopes, 3 boxes of notecards, a tape dispenser and 5 packets of 6 refills.

She wants me to bring her more!

The facility has told me that I have to start clearing out some of her stuff because they are having difficulty finding the stuff they really need for her on a daily basis. They told her this in front of me hoping that would help her believe it.

Her response is that she would like me to rent her another room for storage! ☺

I told the NH that I would be happy to donate the stationery if it could be kept in a common area and everyone could use it, but they really don’t have the room / ability to do so.

If anyone has any practical suggestions on how to deal with this hoarding situation I would love to her them!

Thank you.

 
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Old 04-19-2012, 08:11 PM   #2
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Re: Latest challenge: Rummaging and Hoarding

Suzy, don't take this the wrong way because I know it is frustrating but I had to laugh. I remember those days. What I learned is that Mom had no idea what was out of her line of sight. Storage room, not even dresser drawers, counted because she couldn't see what was in them. Mom doesn't need any more furniture, what she needs is some open storage baskets that sit on top of the dresser with a little bit of all she holes dear in them. Then when she ask about something it is right where she can see it. Out of sight out of mind... they have to see their stuff. I reduced the number of dressers in Mom's room from three to one. At one point I even put child locks on that one so she could not plunder in it. Then I filled her "plunder baskets" with all that stuff she thought she needed. She could fumble through that stuff. She could even haul it around. If she wanted more then I would bring in a basket... but I would take a basket out. I would sneak it out without her seeing me. I would just rotate it in and out. Yep, I had the Mom that packed up all her stuff and threw it over the courtyard fence. Anything that went over the fence came home! I would wait until she went to lunch, clean stuff out of her room, and take it out the back door so she didn't see me. A little at a time. She didn't miss it... always wanted more... but in reality the amount in the room went down instead of up. What you can't do is explain to her that she doesn't need it or that it is somewhere else if it is needed. Just say sure I will bring it and then don't... because next time it will be something else. Or bring her a box and then sneak out a box when you leave. It's all about smiling, validating, agreeing, and then doing what needs to be done. Know that this is a phase they go through and it too will pass

Love, deb

 
Old 04-20-2012, 08:22 AM   #3
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Re: Latest challenge: Rummaging and Hoarding



No offense taken at all.

Aunt Clare is a pepperpot and her antics are sometimes very funny.

You are definitely a wise and experienced person - the baskets were also suggested by the psychologist, I forget to mention that phase.

We got her baskets and clear plastic storage bins... We put her stuff in them so she could see it... but she then started emptying them and hiding the stuff in the drawers because she was afraid the others would take it!

And worst of all was that one of the other residents DID raid the office supplies, thereby proving to Aunt Clare that there are petty thiefs at her residence, and making her want to not only put her stuff away but hide it.

However I do like the idea of the child locks and we will give that a try!!

Speaking of carrying things around, she does already carry a large tote with her, with a big wide opening at the top so she can see the items easily.

She also leaves her closet door and a few drawers open when she is in the room, and stacks her items on the tops of the furniture so she can see it...

It is great when she forgets what she asked for, then I can just yes-yes her. But one thing that has surprised me about her is that she very often remembers from visit to visit what she asked for. One time she had them call me at home to remind me to bring such and such that she had asked for!! When I came one day and said "Oh sorry, I forgot them" she said "I am starting to worry about you, if you are not careful, you are going to end up here too!"

They say one of the things abour vascular dementia is "the patients often keeps their insight" and boy is that true about her!!

Thanks again for the tip on the child locks!

Suzy 0513

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabriel View Post
Suzy, don't take this the wrong way because I know it is frustrating but I had to laugh. I remember those days. What I learned is that Mom had no idea what was out of her line of sight. Storage room, not even dresser drawers, counted because she couldn't see what was in them. Mom doesn't need any more furniture, what she needs is some open storage baskets that sit on top of the dresser with a little bit of all she holes dear in them. Then when she ask about something it is right where she can see it. Out of sight out of mind... they have to see their stuff. I reduced the number of dressers in Mom's room from three to one. At one point I even put child locks on that one so she could not plunder in it. Then I filled her "plunder baskets" with all that stuff she thought she needed. She could fumble through that stuff. She could even haul it around. If she wanted more then I would bring in a basket... but I would take a basket out. I would sneak it out without her seeing me. I would just rotate it in and out. Yep, I had the Mom that packed up all her stuff and threw it over the courtyard fence. Anything that went over the fence came home! I would wait until she went to lunch, clean stuff out of her room, and take it out the back door so she didn't see me. A little at a time. She didn't miss it... always wanted more... but in reality the amount in the room went down instead of up. What you can't do is explain to her that she doesn't need it or that it is somewhere else if it is needed. Just say sure I will bring it and then don't... because next time it will be something else. Or bring her a box and then sneak out a box when you leave. It's all about smiling, validating, agreeing, and then doing what needs to be done. Know that this is a phase they go through and it too will pass

Love, deb

 
Old 04-20-2012, 08:42 AM   #4
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Re: Latest challenge: Rummaging and Hoarding

Ah yeah... Vascular Dementia. They are absolutely right about that. They do retain more than those with Alzheimer's. Sometimes only certain parts of the brain are affected. Dad had great insight and could figure out things... his short term memory was just gone.

I love her comment about you forgetting. That is priceless!! I would forget more. When she ask if you brought it claim forgetfulness. Assure her that you know it bothers her and it bothers you as well. Then promise to do better than next time... and the next time... and the next time! Take in a few things and bring out a few. Truly the excessive clutter is worse than not having a few things she might think she needs in quantity. Excess is so difficult for them to keep up with. Lock up the hiding places and leave her with a few tubs that she can handle.

You are probably dealing with obsessive behavior rather than her truly remembering. Some become "locked in" on something and no matter how much there is, it is never enough. It can be an item or an action. Mom did this with pine straw in her flower beds. I don't even want to remember how many bales of straw were purchased and how long she sat in the flower beds picking out leaves and putting down straw one handful at a time. It was measured in months! It didn't matter if it was 40 or 104 outside. When she was not working in the straw she was washing windows. There were weeks she washed all 24 windows in her house inside and out twice a week!!! If a little water was splashed on the inside of the kitchen window... all 24 windows had to be washed. Her hording was graham cracker pie crust and instant pudding. She has been in a facility now for 4.5 years and I only brought home about half of her stock.... and I have yet to buy any of either. I had more graham cracker pie crust than our local grocery store! You have to laugh

To this day she will pick up things she likes and haul them around. There is a black and white pig door stop she loves to carry around... and a brass rabbit. Stack of books, baby clothes, wash clothes swiped from the kitchen and last night even a broom! She can no longer ask for stamps (at one point she has several 100 stamp rolls, stationary which she never wrote on, and other things... she just picks up what she can find to haul around like the person that raided her bin.'

One thing you can say.... this disease is NEVER boring And off I go

Love, deb

 
Old 04-20-2012, 09:26 AM   #5
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Re: Latest challenge: Rummaging and Hoarding

Yes, she does obsess too and also has perservative behavior. One of her latest is counting, she is trying to count all the windows, all the doors, on her floor. She tries so hard to be productive.

I am going today while she is at lunch to start to offload some of her stash!!!

At least I have no brass rabbits to worry about!!!

Thanks!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabriel View Post
Ah yeah... Vascular Dementia. They are absolutely right about that. They do retain more than those with Alzheimer's. Sometimes only certain parts of the brain are affected. Dad had great insight and could figure out things... his short term memory was just gone.

I love her comment about you forgetting. That is priceless!! I would forget more. When she ask if you brought it claim forgetfulness. Assure her that you know it bothers her and it bothers you as well. Then promise to do better than next time... and the next time... and the next time! Take in a few things and bring out a few. Truly the excessive clutter is worse than not having a few things she might think she needs in quantity. Excess is so difficult for them to keep up with. Lock up the hiding places and leave her with a few tubs that she can handle.

You are probably dealing with obsessive behavior rather than her truly remembering. Some become "locked in" on something and no matter how much there is, it is never enough. It can be an item or an action. Mom did this with pine straw in her flower beds. I don't even want to remember how many bales of straw were purchased and how long she sat in the flower beds picking out leaves and putting down straw one handful at a time. It was measured in months! It didn't matter if it was 40 or 104 outside. When she was not working in the straw she was washing windows. There were weeks she washed all 24 windows in her house inside and out twice a week!!! If a little water was splashed on the inside of the kitchen window... all 24 windows had to be washed. Her hording was graham cracker pie crust and instant pudding. She has been in a facility now for 4.5 years and I only brought home about half of her stock.... and I have yet to buy any of either. I had more graham cracker pie crust than our local grocery store! You have to laugh

To this day she will pick up things she likes and haul them around. There is a black and white pig door stop she loves to carry around... and a brass rabbit. Stack of books, baby clothes, wash clothes swiped from the kitchen and last night even a broom! She can no longer ask for stamps (at one point she has several 100 stamp rolls, stationary which she never wrote on, and other things... she just picks up what she can find to haul around like the person that raided her bin.'

One thing you can say.... this disease is NEVER boring And off I go

Love, deb

 
Old 04-20-2012, 06:27 PM   #6
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Re: Latest challenge: Rummaging and Hoarding

Dad's obsession was locking up. He would lock all the doors and check the windows. Then he would go back and recheck the doors... and again and again. He would finally go to bed and get up and recheck the doors and maybe the windows. Mom would go outside and he would lock her out. They would both go outside for a walk, get back, and be locked out of the house. Every neighbor had a key so one would be home when they needed it... sometimes more than once a day. Yep, it happened, they got locked out and no key available so they just smashed out a window in the door and went in. With no glass in that section, Dad went on locking the doors.

The preservation behavior is typical. That is why it is so important to help them maintain their dignity and usefulness. Finding something that can give them meaning in life is not easy but important. It is a daily struggle. Dad had to have a sense of control over what happened to him and Mom. Some of the staff was excellent in "playing along". It was when staff started demanding conformity that he rebelled. It is definitely a delicate balance to make sure he got what he needed without making him feel useless or controlled!!

I do hope today went well for you. Can't wait to hear what the next chapter brings!

Love, deb

 
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