How can I get my mother to stop picking at her face?

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If it helps, you have lots of company. People with OCD often do this, but stages of Alzhiemer's can have people picking away, as well. And once they start they can cause infections and it's almost impossible to get them to stop. People try gloves, but of course that doesn't last. Sometimes anti-anxiety medications help, so check with the doctor on that.

Be sure her skin is moist and that she doesn't have real itching issues from allergies or dry skin. But it sounds like this is compulsive.

I'm throwing this out there for the group - as many have dealt with it. Any ideas folks?
Carol
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People will pick. A person with memory loss may pick more. There is nothing that you can do to stop the behavior. What you can possibly do is try is to devert the behavior. Keep their hands active. Give them laundry to fold to keep busy. Have them string dried pasta noodles to make a necklace or to hang as Christmas decorations. Have them hold a book that they can read to you or place a stuffed animal or doll in their hands to care for. Keep a log when the picking starts- when does it start? Do they pick when they are out in public? For some picking is out of bordom or it may be a soothing activitiy. Figure out when the picking is happening so that you can help with this behavior.
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My dad pick his skin and scabs. He has dementia and I will remind him only for him to start 2 minutes later. I noticed if he has a tennis ball or something in his hand, it will distract him. I agree that maybe a stuffed animal might help or distract her. If not, keep her nails clipped short so she cannot pick as bad. Good luck!
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thanks, Carol.

I think it's probably a combo of the two: OCD +
We've been to the Dermatologist and he removed a Seborrhoeic dermatitis (elder barnacle) from the side of her nose and if she would just leave it alone it would heal. It healed almost all the way and now she's been working on it and you can see that it is starting to grow again. Doc warned about this.

I have tried creams, etc but she ends up rubbing them into her eyes. When we put Neosporin on the spot after it was removed she woke up with her eye swollen shut because of rubbing the neosporin into it.

Bless her heart yesterday I caught her picking and hollered NO PICKING and she jumped and we both ended up laughing.
(Sidebar: As a little kid, I would hide and jump out at her. Now I have no idea how she put up with it. These days she sneaks up on me while I'm at my desk and scares me airborne. When I get a good jump out of it she laughs her tail off, just like I did when I was a little kid.)

Interesting to me is the fact that my Grandmother, mom's mom, was a consumate picker. She was scabbed all over her face and scalp. Grandma died before the dementia was really bad, but she had dementia for sure.

I guess my future is this too. Can't think about that now.

I will ask her doc about anti anxiety meds, but I am afraid that they will make her sleep the day away. She doesn't take much med and just a little goes a long way. Any idea which meds they might recommend?

Thanks Carol, this site has been a Godsend for me and my family.

lovbob
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thanks for

I do keep her nails short and work hard to keep her hands clean. I've tried giving her a stuffed animal but she doesn't have any interest in holding anything. She will work on tissues and papertowels though and she has plenty of them. I'm going to try the ball as well as Nataly's suggestion with the macaroni.

thank you sunshine and nataly

lovbob
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My mom has dementia and recently started picking her face. She has no skin disorders. She says she is picking stray hairs (I do have to shave her chin from time to time) but there are no stray hairs on her face that need picking (or shaving). It breaks my heart to watch. So far, no scabs or bleeding. I just pray that's not the next step. #DementiaSucks
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