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Repetition? its like he has OCD..

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Old 02-15-2007, 07:59 AM   #1
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Repetition? its like he has OCD..

hi everyone,

i am sure some of you have seen me pop in this section of HB now and then.. well i am back with another question..

I don't know if this new action by my father has anything to do with his alzheimer's or not but sure seems like it to me..

he has started having some odd repetitions.. in the past few months he always has to check the level of fuel in their furnace fuel tank.. he is so worried they are going to run out.. its a 1000gal tank and they have over 500gal left (more then enough to get them through the rest of the winter and part of next) but he doesn't think it is.. he will go and check it 5 or more times a day... and then freak out because he thinks they need to get more.. neither my mother or i can help him understand that it is ok.

he is also always messing around with the furnace on a daily basis.. everyday i stop over to visit as soon as the furnace turns on he drops what he is doing to go down into the basement to check on it and tinker..

he says it is making a strange noise but it sounds normal to me and normal to the 3 other repair men that have come to check on it..

my mother is at the end of her rope with him and is getting so stressed from him starting fights with her (over nothing) i think she is about to have a nervous breakdown ( though she will never admit to it or do anything about it to get her self some help ) the best i have been able to do to help her is just let her vent to me about it.. i think it helps lift some of the stress she is feeling, but only until the next nonsense fight my father starts with her..

i guess maybe this wasn't so much of a question as it was a vent by me.. because even though i am not exposed to it 24/7 it still takes its toll on me to know it is making my mothers life a living hell at times and there really isn't much i can do to help (that i know of)

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Old 02-15-2007, 08:13 AM   #2
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Re: Repetition? its like he has OCD..

It is typical of Alzheimer's. Once my Mom washed her hair 11 times in one day. She forgot she had just washed it. there is no reasoning with them.

Is there a way you can keep the furnace room locked. He may tinker with it until it is broken. But how can you explain to him why it is locked ... these are the 'little' dramas that drive caregivers crazy.

How far along in this disease is your dad? Perhaps he needs to be in a facility now, or soon? I worry about your Moms health I was the caregiver of my Mom and after 5 years I was physically and emotionally wrecked. Everything from high blood pressure to acid reflux to insomnia and weight fluctuations, heart palpitations, etc. When she was finally placed somewhere else (for a short time with my brother and then in a NH) my health was restored to normal...

You really have to consider what is best for your Mom at this point. You can begin a campaign of enightenment - every time you talk to her emphasize how much happier and more content the PATIENT would be in a NH, with around the clock care, no feeling of being responsible for the heating system or anything else. Explain that it gets only worse, never better. And that she would get him professional help if it were cancer or diabetes, and AD is only another recognized disease. At some point almost ALL of them wind up in a NH, and then the worn out caregiver has no resources left to cope with the guilt also laid on them by the general public and some uncaring relatives ...

Think it over. meanwhile, can you somehow 'temporarily' remove the furnace from his reach? Lock a door, put an obstacle in the way, etc?

Good luck with it.



Old 02-15-2007, 01:13 PM   #3
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Re: Repetition? its like he has OCD..

repetition is very much part of this disease.And to argure with him is useless the more agitated he gets the calmer you have to be . Try to find something to distract him or put a humidifier,radio, what ever you can think of to drown out the noise of the furnace coming on. it triggers his attention to go piddle with it. .

Old 02-15-2007, 06:21 PM   #4
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Re: Repetition? its like he has OCD..

It seems to me that it might be dangerous to have him messing with the furnace. My dh was stepping on the scales non-stop; even though he didn't remember how to activate it so it would only say error. I moved them to another room and he doesn't even know they are gone. Maybe the child proof door handles to keep him out of the room w the furnace? (See post under a cautionary tale).

Old 02-17-2007, 02:39 PM   #5
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Re: Repetition? its like he has OCD..

I swear by those childproof door handles! They really saved my aunt when she was caring for my wandering AD grandma.

One thing I always suggest because it helped me IMMENSELY when my dad was with me. White lies. Instead of saying "there's nothing wrong with it", say "the repair man said it needed a new $^%&* so he's ordered it and it will be here in a few days. He said not to worry, that this one will last for a while longer." This might pacify your dad, at least for a while. The little white lies will almost certainly make your mom's life a little easier as well.

Whether you live with a loved one with AD or you're a close friend or relative, it's a very painful and stressful time knowing what it's doing to your loved one. I'm 700 miles from my dad now and it's still very difficult for me. That's why I still come here. I need this forum to help me cope with this. It also helps me to share with others what has worked for me with my dad. If I can be of some help or comfort to someone else, then my dad's suffering will not be in total vain.

Love, Barb
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