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Old 05-16-2012, 01:08 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
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solcita HB Usersolcita HB User
Unhappy MIL hurting herself

Hi, I've been gone for a while but I try to come around every once in a while.

My MIL has been diagnosed with Dementia and Parkinson 3 years ago. She's been through a lot, she kad all kind of infections, she's been dealing with a bed soar for almost 2 years now, and so on.

During all these years, she has had a few episodes of needing to scratch herself. While in the hospital the nurses had to tie her down because of that. This happened twice and always while in the hospital.

Now is the first time in the NH. She's been scratching herself for three months or so, she keeps hurting her arms and legs and is always in danger of an infection.
It's getting worse and worse because she's been scratching her bed soar now.
She doesn't even realizes she's doing it. One day I was there with her and she kept promising she wouldn't do it anymore, while she was doing it! She didn't realize she was scratching herself in front of me.

Then she realized that if I didn't see injuries in her arms I wouldn't complain, so she started scratching her back and her arms were fantastic. I was talking with her about it and she was all smiles until one of the nurses came and told me about the back, so I asked her why she was doing it and she yelled at me "DON'T BE MAD!! YOU CAN'T SEE THE BACK!!", so she did know what she was doing (or so I thought).

Doctors don't know what to do anymore. We spent thousands of dollars in different types of lotions, medications, etc... and NOTHING works. Now I'm just ignoring the injuries and don't talk about it, I'm testing if she's doing it to call my attention. If I have to run to take a new medicine (something that's been happenning A LOT), I don't go to her room if it's not my visitation day. I don't want her to think that if she has an emergency she has me there to little chats...

This is so bad that the nurses don't put clothes on her anymore, she is with her sleeping gown all day long, so they can tie it under her diaper. Last time I was there the nurses were in shock because she became violent after the diaper change.

Obviously by the time I arrived she remembered nothing about it and even cried when I asked her to be more delicate with her nurses. Sometimes I wonder if she does it on purpose and tries to be this cute old lady only when I'm around (I know it's the disease).

This last three months have been really tough on me and even when I used to enjoy going to see her weekly, now I find myself not wanting to go at all, because there's always a new problem for me to deal with.

Her son doesn't help at all because she is very aggressive towards him and that kills him. I try not to push but I need help and don't know what else to do. I'm reading right now an amazing article about alzheimer and dementia that might help him realize how sick his mom is, but I'm sure he won't read it at all... so I'm really lonely here and I'm about to lose it.

Any idea how to make it better?

Thanx in advance,

Sol
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* Excuse my sometimes poor English, it's not my primary language *

 
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Old 05-16-2012, 02:15 PM   #2
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Gabriel HB UserGabriel HB UserGabriel HB UserGabriel HB UserGabriel HB UserGabriel HB UserGabriel HB UserGabriel HB UserGabriel HB UserGabriel HB UserGabriel HB User
Re: MIL hurting herself

Sol, don't give Mom credit for cognitive actions that she is incapable of. You can tell her not to scratch and it doesn't help because the instructions are lost in the fog of dementia. She may tell you ok and she won't do it as she scratches. Obviously, from your statements, she is not even waiting for you to leave to continue. I doubt she is capable of hiding her scratching by scratching the back rather than the arms. I doubt it's an intentional attention getting action. For some reason she has a need to scratch. It could be nothing more than a nervous reaction to what is going on.

Dad had the need to scratch as well. He would find a skin tag or other rough spot on his skin and scratch it until it bleed. Once the skin was rough it was scratch scratch scratch!! His favorite was a place on the top of his head that was always raw only second to a place beside his ear. Then he would start on the leg or the arm. He would get angry when I mentioned it and scratch as he told me he was not scratching

First the finger nails need to be reduced to nothing and kept smooth. It is the fingernails that do the damage. They need to be clipped short enough that they will not catch on the skin and filed smooth. I clipped Dad's at least once a week to keep them short enough. Then we kept a layer of Vaseline on any place that he scratched, especially those not covered with clothing. With the short nails and the slippery Vaseline layer he rubbed it rather than scratched it. Clothing can also be helpful. If the nails are short and there is material between the fingers and the area scratched, less damage is done. If necessary two layers of clothing help because they slide on each other when she scratches. You can also use gloves on the hand to add another layer of protection if she will tolerate them.

Dad scratched for YEARS! Any intervention to stop the scratching was useless. The only thing that worked was the short short nails and as many layers of protection between the fingers and the area he was scratching as possible.

Hope something here will help

Love, deb

 
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solcita (05-16-2012)
Old 05-16-2012, 02:20 PM   #3
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(female)
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Posts: 269
solcita HB Usersolcita HB User
Re: MIL hurting herself

I'm gonna give it a try to everything you said.
Now that it's getting colder here I'm gonna be able to put more clothes on her.
I told her I'd put gloves on her and she just laughs...

Thanx again!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabriel View Post
Sol, don't give Mom credit for cognitive actions that she is incapable of. You can tell her not to scratch and it doesn't help because the instructions are lost in the fog of dementia. She may tell you ok and she won't do it as she scratches. Obviously, from your statements, she is not even waiting for you to leave to continue. I doubt she is capable of hiding her scratching by scratching the back rather than the arms. I doubt it's an intentional attention getting action. For some reason she has a need to scratch. It could be nothing more than a nervous reaction to what is going on.

Dad had the need to scratch as well. He would find a skin tag or other rough spot on his skin and scratch it until it bleed. Once the skin was rough it was scratch scratch scratch!! His favorite was a place on the top of his head that was always raw only second to a place beside his ear. Then he would start on the leg or the arm. He would get angry when I mentioned it and scratch as he told me he was not scratching

First the finger nails need to be reduced to nothing and kept smooth. It is the fingernails that do the damage. They need to be clipped short enough that they will not catch on the skin and filed smooth. I clipped Dad's at least once a week to keep them short enough. Then we kept a layer of Vaseline on any place that he scratched, especially those not covered with clothing. With the short nails and the slippery Vaseline layer he rubbed it rather than scratched it. Clothing can also be helpful. If the nails are short and there is material between the fingers and the area scratched, less damage is done. If necessary two layers of clothing help because they slide on each other when she scratches. You can also use gloves on the hand to add another layer of protection if she will tolerate them.

Dad scratched for YEARS! Any intervention to stop the scratching was useless. The only thing that worked was the short short nails and as many layers of protection between the fingers and the area he was scratching as possible.

Hope something here will help

Love, deb
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* Excuse my sometimes poor English, it's not my primary language *

 
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