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A few months ago my father threw away his bottle of medication. I assumed it was accidentally thrown away, thankfully we were able to order more, so I didn’t think more about it. He’s been organizing and throwing stuff away. I thought he was just bored during this pandemic and needed something to do. I was also happy he was decluttering. But now I’m wondering if it’s what they call dementia rummaging? I hear furniture being moved around constantly. Now he tells me he needs new winter pajamas. I’m wondering what happened to his pajamas from last year. I’m guessing they were throw out as well. It’s not a good thing if he starts throwing away things he really needs. Its going to be difficult to take everything important away, such as cell phone etc. Any tips on how to prevent things from being thrown out? I wonder how long this phase lasts?

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Update: my father said he gave his pajamas away because they were all too long. I said ok well we could have had them hemmed. I said I will buy you more pajamas. He said just purchase one pair. I said why only one pair? What are you going to wear while they wash and dry? (It’s suppose to be cold this week). He said I will just stand by the dryer and wait for them. I’m thinking his dementia has definitely been progressing lately ☹️, but I will definitely purchase more pajamas.
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Reply to Martz06
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I really don't know how to stop someone with dementia from throwing everything out. That could be a problem. My father would save everything, scraps of paper from 1942. Stuff that any sane person would have thrown out at some point. Which my Mother would do from time to time. Took me a long time to go through it. But I found some priceless things, so I'm glad he saved stuff:)
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Reply to Isabelsdaughter
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I would just go ahead and help him get another pair or two of pajamas and plenty of underwear. Sometimes people soil their underwear and pajamas and decide it is such a mess to take care of it they would rather throw it away and get new underwear or pajamas. Or, he may simply be sick of the pajamas he’s been wearing and prefer something new.
Rearranging things as a common and productive way of keeping busy when there is nothing else to do or physical limitations would prevent a person from going outside, especially during the extreme cold and possibly slippery weather. For a person of a certain age, who cannot run up or downstairs or whatever, doing things like rearranging furniture could actually be exercise.
Now, tossing the medications is another question entirely, if you are really sure they were tossed.
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Reply to RM1ofMany
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Imho, like the old adage says - do not make decisions (throwing out things, etc.) when your mind is not lucid.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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Not really anything you can do.

Give him a special new clean trash can just for his use then before you empty it, go thru it and take out the hood stuff.
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Reply to bevthegreat
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I don’t have any answers, but my dad would rummage through his office supplies at night. One morning, I discovered a box filled with office supplies inside a bathroom cabinet. When a landline phone receiver was missing (we found under a bed) he went through all of the garbage looking for the phone. It was very upsetting to watch this behavior with Lewy Body Dementia.
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Reply to Sunnydayze
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Is there any way you can get him a box and mark it "donation" and tell him to put all the stuff he doesn't want into that and you will take it to goodwill (but just take it to your place and see what really is junk or something that he needs).  You can always put in another bag and tell him you bought him something.  I know my dad threw a lot of "paper" stuff away that should have been kept but oh well.......it was gone.  from then on I checked the house.  found about 40 to 50 bottles of "miracle stuff" that he bought and put away and forgot he had.  like 3 or 4 years old.........those I threw away.  I don't know how long the phase last. wishing you luck
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Reply to wolflover451
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If he has old photos you may want to rescue and hide them. My mom, in her very early stage of dementia was sorting photos. I asked her to put whatever photos she didn’t want aside for me. She ended up putting it all in the trash. So sad!! She had very few albums left and I asked her if I could take them home to look at. Needless to say I have kept them safe. But so many many photos were lost.
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Reply to caring2
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I wonder which is worse, the hoarding behavior or this giving/throwing everything away... The only idea I can come up with is giving him a “donation box” for things he’s purging and a trash can for actual trash. This way as long as he can still see things as being useful to someone he might put useful things in this box that you can then shop from as he needs things otherwise you may be relegated to rummaging through his trash on a regular basis. Good luck!
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Reply to Lymie61
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My mom with Alzheimers, and dad with dementia are both rummaging and throwing away items that are new, necessary, or just in the way. They drop these items at the local charity shop where my mother still volunteers. When my dad insisted the rugs needed cleaning, we could not find the new carpet cleaner. My dad said he thought it was too heavy, so he donated it. He then instructed my sibling to go buy another one! My mom has thrown out all but 2 pans of a very expensive set. She said she only remembers how to cook things that go in these 2 pans. Many, many expensive items have gone to the charity shop. Some are items her children could use. They have days when they just start pitching clothing and household items which they then go out and replace when they can't find them. Two sets of hearing aids have disappeared.
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Reply to LRoach
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Bethanycares Oct 22, 2020
I love the response that she only remembers how to cook things in the two pans. How wonderful! Sometimes I feel the same way. I really only use 2 of mine.
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Oh my, I would have not thought about this as a dementia behavior. When mom's UTI behavior began, she started throwing stuff away. Dad said he just let it go because otherwise she would have gotten even nastier to him than she'd already become. Mom had a beautiful Christmas cactus that everyone admired and one day he realized she had chopped it up and thrown in away, along with the lovely stand it was on. He found iron skillets in the trash. Some of his clothes disappeared (although I did find them in bins under her bed).

On the first ER trip, they tested for UTI. The second ER trip happened just as the results came back positive from the test two days earlier, so she was given IV antibiotic in the ER. After mom's third ER trip, dad refused to pick her up, saying he couldn't keep her safe, and she was then diagnosed with dementia, which honestly took me by surprise. Also, other than the one dose of antibiotic in the ER, she never was properly treated for the UTI.

I never felt like she had dementia (and still disagree with that diagnosis even though she is now gone). Just wondering if maybe your father has a UTI causing these unusual behaviors.

I was not successful in finding the article referenced by someone else, "Rummaging, Hiding and Hoarding Behaviors."
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Reply to graygrammie
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My mother lives in an AL and has always taken care of her hearing aides. She does have extended periods when she refuses to wear them (says she hears better without them; not true) but she stores them in their case. I noticed she wasn’t wearing them and they weren’t in their case. I looked everywhere for them. I asked her where they were and she calmly said she threw them out! The cost was over $7000.00. They were no longer covered for loss. When she gets into this mood, she throws away items that she selected and had to have like slippers or sneakers that she wears for months and are so comfortable. It seems like she has to control her environment and this is the only way she can do so.
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Reply to Susanonlyone
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My mom has dementia and it is our experience that a dementia person goes through a lot of phrases.  I would hide whatever he's throwing away and replace it with something else.  When he ask be very convincing that you haven't seen the items.  He'll soon forget about throwing away things and move on to another phases.
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Reply to GloriaBess
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Grandma1954's suggestion about a special trash can for him and checking it before it's dumped can help to make sure important things are not tossed. Hopefully you live together, so that you can monitor things. If there are outside trash containers, can they be secured, aka locked somehow, so he can't access them? Perhaps install some kind of audible alarm if he opens the door so you might be aware of when he is emptying his trash?

How long it lasts? Who knows! With my mother it was mainly papers. At least that's all I was aware of. For some reason she just started digging through old paperwork, stored in the dresser of a spare BR (she lived alone at the time.) These papers were there for several years, and never touched! It would have been better if she could "rummage" for the items she NEEDED, like trash bags, TP, paper towels, plastic wrap/baggies that SHE put in the spare bedroom closet. Nope. She use up what she had in the kitchen and then tell me she needed more!

The first call of many she kept telling me someone died and left her money, but it doesn't say who or how to get in touch. Everyone in her generation, except my dad's younger brother, were gone already. She insisted it must be him who died and left her money! He was still alive. She never liked my dad's family and didn't really treat them well or "mingle" with them, so I would find it odd that he would leave her anything! Actually, when I did manage to make contact with him, it was funny. She thought he died and he thought she must have died already!

Anyway, YB was the first to stop by and he brushed it off as nothing, but didn't tell me what it was or take it away. She still went on about this on the phone with me after that. I finally was able to stop in and found it was W2s from several years prior. I tried to explain what they were and pulled out the tax paperwork to show how the dollar amounts meshed. She pointed out that these said Death Benefits - OI! Yes mom, because dad died and you get... before I could finish she says Oh he died YEARS ago! Some of it finally did stick, but then she asked why these were just sent now? ANYTHING on the kitchen table *JUST* came in the mail. I had to chalk it up to someone being stupid and mailing these out in error.

I had YB take her out and went there to clear out ANY paperwork. When I had pulled the tax docs, I noted a folder on the bed marked D's papers. She managed to find a life insurance form, one you would give to HR, filled out by dad, but the FL address was crossed off and current address put in, so he likely had to start over with a clean form and for whatever reason kept this one. She insisted on filling it out. I showed her on the tax forms that she was already paid. Nope, she insisted, so I said fine, go ahead. What's the mailing address? Where's the envelope to mail it in? I left that with her, but when I "swept" the place, I checked every drawer and took ALL papers, even those on the table! It was a little funny, she never really missed anything, but the next visit I made, she had a vague recollection that there was something, but couldn't quite remember what it was - no help from me!!!

She also had an odd filing method. If the bank statements were 2 pages, she filed page 1 here and page 2 there. One RE tax bill was missing (I was going to take over her finances and had been doing the taxes, so I needed these! At that point, I temp forwarded her mail, to get all billers, and contact info. I called the town re the missing bill, and she OFFERED to change the mailing address for me!)

Sadly her diamond is missing. I haven't gone through all the jewelry containers that were brought here yet, but with a quick run-through while packing up things didn't reveal it. She was also wearing some odd ring I had never seen before. She didn't wear other rings. We did try bringing in aides, 1 hr/day to be increased as needed, but less than 2 mo she refused to let them in. I often wonder if one "swapped" rings w/ her.
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Reply to disgustedtoo
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Is he living alone or are you living with him?
If you are living with him (or he with you) I would give him a garbage can that he can use and just go though it before it is tossed out. I know kinda gross but ya gotta do what ya gotta do. Make sure he can not get to the outside trash bins if you have those.
If you have boxes in the basement or attic have him go through an old box and he can sort into keep, toss, donate or sell bins. That might keep him occupied.
How long the phase lasts??? Ya never know. And you know what he is doing now you never know what will be the next (what I like to call "quirks") in this mystery that Dementia is.
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Reply to Grandma1954
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My mother kept telling me she needs new underware it was because she soiled herself and threw them out. Check his bed sheets he may be ashamed to tell you and yes check out that website very helpful !
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Reply to Onlychildbutnot
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Dear "Martz06,"

In the Google search box, key in: dementia rummaging and scroll down until you see the alz.org website where it talks about "Rummaging, Hiding and Hoarding Behaviors" - you may find that helpful since it's from the Alzheimer's Association.
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Reply to NobodyGetsIt
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