How do I handle my mother-in-law picking at herself because of an imaginary waxy substance that only she can see?

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My 83 yr old mother-in-law imagines a waxy substance secreting from all body orifices. She has had two major heart valve replacements. No dr. can find anything wrong nor does anyone see or feel anything. She spends all day picking at herself and her hair,nose, ears, etc. It has gotten very bad and appears to be a mental/nerve problem. Please help

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This sounds like obsessive compulsive behavior. She may have OCD or she may be in a stage of dementia, but it seems to me that this resembles many picking behaviors which result in sores. This is a very real problem. Maybe you need to see a doctor who knows more about OCD and/or dementia to see if an anti-anxiety medication can help (or some other type of medication). Heart surgery (or any surgery) can push an elder over the edge into dementia. She does need some help.

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