The searching continues here and there. I rocked her world today by moving furniture and that set off a need in her to take all my things and pack them because in her words, “They belong to me.” I let her take the first two things – a picture of us kids with Mom and a picture of her with Daddy – because they were hers. As she moved to other things I stopped her (multiple times) and asked her to leave things alone. I received the “belongs to me” argument and usually I don’t argue but in this case, I stopped her and let her know that the things were mine. As you can imagine, she was not a happy camper.
It all started with a small folding table that my husband bought for her when she moved in. We thought she would enjoy sitting at it to play solitaire and at the same time look out the window. She did for awhile so it did serve its purpose but for the last six months it has just taken up space and served as a place for the above mentioned pictures to sit. Most recently Geoffrey, the Toys R Us giraffe, joined the pictures on the table so that he could enjoy the view out the window – at Mom’s insistence.
There were other places the pictures could sit and Geoffrey too so I took the table down to the garage. At the same time, I moved the table we use to put puzzles together over to that spot so we can see out the window while we work on the puzzles. I even put Geoffrey there so that he could still enjoy the view. J
Mom saw the change and the search was on! I knew I was causing some trauma with the change but I know that she will eventually get used to it. I just have to live with the grief for a bit until the dementia helps her forget the way it was and her OCD accepts the new lay of the land as if that’s the way it always was.
In addition to the searching, Mom – a lifelong picker – has been picking. What’s picking? She picks at her nails until one has to be cut and filed. She picks at her cuticles until the skin on her fingers is all peeling and red, sometime bloody. She has picked on a spot on her face in the recent past but isn’t right at the moment. She is a picker. I have known that habit since I was old enough to recognize it.
So, it was a problem before the dementia when she knew she was doing it. What do I do now that she has dementia and doesn’t realize she’s doing it? She shows me a finger with a nail or skin that needs to be taken care of; I fix it and remind her that she shouldn’t pick it. She responds, “Oh, I didn’t do that.”