Bad Scratching!

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Father with late-Alzheimer's won't stop scratching his head. It is making large sores and they won't heal! How can I get him to stop? And has anyone else experienced this problem? Is it the Alzheimer's?


3930 helpful answers
My mother-in-law did that. It's very frustrating. First, he should be checked for skin problems - dryness, low B vitamins (sometimes that can cause skin scratching) etc. However, Alzheimer's can cause compulsive behavior. My MIL had some Obsessive Compulsive Disorder problems (OCD), and she had always been a "picker." If she had a scab, she pick at it. As dementia settled in, it was harder to control. Once there is a sore and they keep picking, infection is an issue. This is a problem to work through with a medical person. Dry scalp may have started it, and there are shampoos for that, but now that he's developed the habit, he may be doing it obsessively. Please see if his doctor or even a dermatologist can help. I know the frustration of watching this happen - I've been there.
I used to do that. I did it as a kid.

I am allergic to the perfume in shampoo and that's what made the sores. I switched to non-perfume. I had a bad reacation to
that dandruff shampoo too. I guess my PH balance was way off.

I had to take antibiotics to get rid of the sores.
My lymph nodes got infected.

I have a lot of allergies.
my father did that too and still does . he does it when he s upset about something or out of boredom . i just put triple antibodi on it and say ahhh is that better ?/ he says yes then he dont pick at it till later on he does it again then i redo it all over again .
bad habits , its like smoking a cig !!!
the reason they scratch is because it is getting infected.
sometimes it takes oral meds., at least in my case. also change of shampoo. chemicals are very harsh on thin skin and allergic skin too.
Rocketman, I work in a nursing facility and we have a resident that does that, or should I say did that, she had her head raw. They started her on Ativan .5mg and after a couple of weeks, it started working and now she has stopped scratching and her hair has grown back. Medication isn't always the answer, but talk to her doctor about the option, there seemed to be no rhyme or reason to why she did it and she was diagnosed with Dementia. And as cece said, try getting her a milder, perfume free shampoo, perhaps something the doctor can perscribe.
3930 helpful answers
Jasonsmom, I, too, believe it often (not always - all of the other explanations are valid) the issue. Sometimes, especially with dementia patients, something to help relieve stress can help. But all of these are possibilities, so it's trial and error. It's so hard to watch and make a caregiver feel so helpless.


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