Just venting here, but what is with the constant "organizing"?!!

Started by

It's a rhetorical question. I realize this is just another joyful manifestation of dementia so I'm not looking for solutions or coping strategies. I'm just going a little NUTS right now and need to get it off my chest...

I guess the word "constant" isn't entirely accurate but it's certainly a consistent problem. My mil gets it into her head that a certain drawer or cabinet or box (that's been buried in the back of a closet for the last 5-10 years) needs to "get cleaned and/or sorted out" and any stuff she doesn't need or use any more must either be stored elsewhere or thrown away....except NOTHING ever gets tossed or re-packed!! Instead the contents of said drawer or cabinet or box end up scattered about the house, lying here and there to be "sorted out later". But "later never comes! What started out (in HER mind) as a simple afternoon project lies unfinished for days. Sometimes weeks. If dh or I remark about the building clutter she either ignores it or gets miffed and tells us she "hasn't had time to deal with it yet" (because she's so busy doing....what?) if we dare try to relocate or Here's one of my favorite celebrity anecdotes....while attending a big Hollywood bash actor Jack Nicholson was approached by an attractive young woman and asked if he'd like to dance. In typical "Jack" fashion his eyes slowly traveled down the full length of her no doubt voluptuous body, then back up again, and after taking her all in replied in that dripping sarcastic tone he's so famous for, "Wrong verb."put any of it back we're called on it. She might not remember what she ate for lunch two hours ago, but damned if she'll remember that broken old electric can opener that she'd pulled out of somewhere and set on top of the counter three weeks ago has gone missing! Worse, she sometimes accuses one or both of us of removing an item that either never had been there to begin with, or she moved herself...but of course there's no convincing her otherwise. She "knows" it had been "right there", and now it's GONE. *gasp*

Again, just venting. I love her, she's a hot ticket...but someTIMES....! If anyone feels inclined to share similar experiences I'd love to hear it - always helps to know someone else out there is tearing his/her hair out too. Misery does love company. If not, thanks for listening...and God bless us, every one.


my mother has become quite ocd also yaya. ive read many times that its just part of the dementia package. as the dementia progresses its getting better tho. she let me install a six foot long sapling handrail in the bathroom today without one word of resistance. only a few weeks or months ago she would have flatly refused such a measure. didnt mean to turn the subject to handrails but g-damm, we live in the woods. i have a chainsaw and a screwgun. this sh*t writes itself..
hope your mom mellows out. obsessive behavior roils my head like nothing else.
Weird!....I have no idea how that bit about Jack Nicholson wound up in the middle of my post!!! That was from an entirely different thread....WTF? Well, just skip past the punch line ("wrong verb") and you'll be back on track. There should be some way to edit posts on here....very frustrating...as if I'm not f***ing frustrated enough!!!
Aaaagghh....been one of those days...
Captain - yes! I know she cant help it, but the fixating can really drive me crazy sometimes. What a neat idea using a sapling for a handrail! Bet it looks awesome! How'd you finish it? Did you strip the bark or leave it on?
Yaya my dad is 90 and lives with me. I woke up last Friday went to his room and he had just about everything pulled out of his closet. He wanted to organize his shoes and line them up under his bed and the rest of the stuff he just wanted me to put it somewhere. Well since the middle of June my basement has taken water in 2 times and I am trying very hard to get stuff out of the house, thrown out or something so I can tear up and replace the carpet. Grrrrrr. My father has and still is very neat and likes things in order (22 yrs military) as he looks around my house which looks like a bomb hit it, because I am too busy dealing with him I can't get the things done that really need to be done. When I get a break (very seldom) I feel I need to stay home and clean when I really want to leave the house without feeling I have to hurry home, take my boys 13 and 10 to do something fun or just sleep. So venting???? vent away my friend we all need that once in awhile (like daily) lol Good luck to you!!
Yaya, I read the post, realized what had happened with the Jack N. story, LOVED the Jack story, and appreciated your vent post very much. My father does something very similar... taking things out of obscure, well set locations around the house... leaving the things out in a new state of disarray... then abandons completely... although of course, in his mind, he was just leaving it there for a moment until he could return to the work-in-progress...

I had no idea this was dementia activity. It makes sense, now, after reading your post. Your post and some other recent "clues" make me realize its time to have my father's cognitive abilities assessed before I go any further in making any future plans for him.
My mom is an organizer by nature. Having Alz has increased her need to organize. Mom is very good at...actually she is so good at organizing that she can't find things,LOL!! In her mind, someone stole it. I think my mom does this for a couple reasons 1) she moves things around because she is hiding them 2) she calls it working. If I ask her what she is doing, she says she is working.
It's an every activity she goes through and it keeps her mind busy.
My Mother is doing the same thing and procratinating with her reorganization projects. I got so annoyed one day that I asked her PCP wth????? Her response made a great deal of sense and her solution is working. She told me that these are my Mother's memories stored away and that typically as senility or dementia set in that their long term memories are the last to go. She said that my Mother is "putting her ducks in row". Trying to have some control over the life she is losing. She said that if my Brother or myself spend and hour or so a day with her going through her things that it brings validation and that she is sharing her life as most times the conversations get back to her remembering something aobut the object she is holding or looking at. I have also found that it makes it easier for her to throw things away that she realizes no longer have purpose. I have also found that having a charitable organization come to take some of things had made her feel that she is helping others. It is a constant struggle to figure out what is going on their minds at times and lord, you care givers out there dealing with dementia it must be almost impossible. It is not easy facing one's mortality and although it pisses me off alot of times and I get frustrated I do try and look at what my Mom's life must be like. Hugs Yaya!
My mil did things like that and never had dementia. But she would think of something she owned and then spend hours or days trying to find it. She was a great lover of organizational containers, but nothing was ever organized in them. I've seen her hunt for hours for Tylenol PM, dump out all her containers, find a bottle of it, and then complain that THAT wasn't the bottle she was looking for. I just walked out of the room and let her entertain herself. She would move on to something else eventually........but I only put up with her for 10 days......my bil had her for 6 mos. at a time. When we cleaned out her house, she had a room full of plastic containers for organizing....all full, but not organized.
Oh boy can I relate. When I got here the clutter was unbelievable. I now have the clutter down to manageable. This house needs major update, rehab, etc. I cleaned out all her drawers and closets to find them all in a major upheaval, things strewn all over. Okay then, I realize that for now I am not worrying or fretting about redecorate, update, rehab whatever. I am just going to keep things somewhat manageable. My mom would not make it through a house update, nor the poor cat. So, as I said, I am resolved to just take care of her, bills, groceries, banking, washing, cleaning, doctors, pharmacy, cooking and close her drawers and closet door. I really have enough on my plate caring for her and really do not need the added stress of a major house rehab. In other words let it be we have enough to deal with as is.
My husband was a computer programmer so everything in the house contains some kind of information. Even the sheets on the bed. One night in the middle of the night I had to take the comforter off the bed because it was malfunctioning and he needed to reprogram it. I had to convince him it would wait until morning and then he could work on it. He is now 66 yrs old and hasn't turned a computer on in 3 years and doesn't know what the machines in his office are but he still is trying to find the information to gosh only knows. Exceedingly frustrating.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

Please enter your Comment

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support