Anyone have experience managing Alzheimer's and anxiety?

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Hello All, My MIL has moderate Alzheimer's. Over the past six months, we've noticed she sometimes scratches her arms to the point she cuts through skin. At times, she was even eating her scab (sorry, I know it's gross). We take her to the doctor to get ointment, and she stops scratching, but she's now at it again. A relative suggested it may be anxiety? She's in assisted living, and we see her at least 3-4 times a week. She does not seem anxious when we visit. Does anyone have experience with anxiety meds and Namenda? Any input is appreciated. I'm grateful for all who have given advice and encouragement in the past. Thank you in advance.

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Thank you all so much!! To give a little more background, MIL is 74 years old. Before she was diagnosed, she was more on the self centered side and very controlling. After hearing her diagnosis two years ago, she has mellowed a bit. Still refuses to acknowledge the disease and calls it getting old. We have POA. A little more than a year ago, we moved her from a granny flat to the home she is now. She was resistant, but for the most part, is happy-she does have her grumpy day, but who doesn't? When we noticed her eating the scabs, and told her she needed to stop that, she did. But she was still scratching. The home does place ointment and bandages, but it comes off. My husband sees her at least 3 times a week. She has had depression from most of her life. It makes sense-she went from being very spoiled, and selfish and often controlling, to pretty much being confined to a home where she is monitored (she needs it), her cell phone had to be taken away (to eliminate 3 am phone calls to whoever she wanted to talk to), and has no cash or credit cards (she has no need to have cash on her). She has literally ripped off her ID necklaces because she doesn't want the world to know of her condition. She does have fragrance free toiletry items. We are going to move forward with the fidget pillow and explore the anxiety meds and see if it improves the condition. Thank you all again for taking the time to help me and my husband out, we appreciate it very much. We are both in our early 40's and work full time (he teaches and I have a government job). When we made the hard choice to place her in the home, we lost many of our "family friends" (we have no actual family on his side and my family lives about 8 hours away) because my husband did not take care of his mom as they say. Sorry, we moved her to a home run by a wonderful family that has a young boy and a small dog (MIL always loved animals), she is closer to us (13 minute drive vs. 45 minutes) and her doctors. I say my husband did what he was supposed to do and then some, lol! But that's another post. Thanks again all, and I will keep you posted!
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My dad did that. Scratched his legs until it looked like eczema. We bought loads of creams/lotions and doctor gave him cortisone cream, which helped.
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Not sure if this is the case with you, but for my mom, when I notice her scratching or scratch marks I'll ask her: 1. Are you wet, do you need to be changed? Being incontinent, she also does not feel when it happens. 2. Do you want a bath, to feel better? Then bathe and lotion on itchy areas and powder.
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I had been having problems with any little skin nick on my arms developing into a hematoma under the skin,sometimes fairly large. My doctor knows I don't take aspirin or anything that thins blood, as it makes it worse, but recently I decided to try Vitamin K, and a spot on my arm cleared up in 2 days. I've also had to watch for hangnails all my life, and right now all my nails are completely healed. Also speeds healing on nicks with scabs that are easy to peel. I ran out last week and it made a noticeable difference. Vitamin E squeezed from capsules helps skin things heal as well.
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Dad will be 97. In a NH with end stage Dementia. Very anxious, but instead of picking or scratching, he purse lip breathes and has tremors. His right eye also closes. The pursed lip breathing worries me. He continuously breathes in and out very quickly. I'm afraid he will hyperventilate. This has been happening more often lately, more since his communication is diminished. The Psychiatrist prescribed a medication to be given every 4 to 6 hours as needed. As of last night it hadn't really kicked in yet. You just never know what symptoms they will present with. Next week could be something completely different. Bless us all!
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I would ask about anti anxiety medication.
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FYI - The single most reported complaint of "old people" is said to be "itch". In my late seventies, I notice "itching" a lot, often with a little unexplained bump under the skin. One simple thing that stops itch is hot water... as hot as you can stand, but not be scalded. Stay under it for 2-4 minutes. It stops the itch for hours. Works great for poison oak, too. (But DO NOT use this techniques for hives.)

The job of the doctor is to prescribe medicine, not be familiar with folk remedies.

(If you want a professional reference, dig up a copy of the 1961 Dermatology: Diagnosis and Treatment)
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I was visiting Mother every three months when I was living in Colorado. She had scabs and sores all over her arms, shoulders, face from picking. Her nails were long shaped and she kept them polished herself. She was anxious about short term memory decline. We had Nurses Aids 15 minutes twice a day to give her eye drops, meds and to put salve on her sores and scabs. When Mother asked me to move back home in January of 2015, I came back to be her full time companion and caregiver. I moved slowly then trusting in the Facility and not wanting to upset the family by taking over from the facility they trusted. I watched as the Nurses Aids dabbed a bit of salve on 1/2 the irritated spots and scabs. They refused to change from the iddy bitty dotting of salve when I made the suggestion. As Mother and I got more comfortable in my new roll, Mother and I left the Nurses Aids go. I changed her Dr. from one who was political with the facility to one a little more for Mother's best interests first. I spread gobs of salve on her much irritated skin. Her skin cleared up. It took some time. I believe it cleared up from Mom feeling secure with me being her full time caretaker and the gobs of salve. Things fell apart after that. The overly loving and caring Nurses Aid Manager became livid that I interfered. There were horrible repercussions for my putting Mother's best interests first in this and other matters. They forced Mother out of her Independent Living Apartment to their Personal Care hellhole. They made up stories about me and cut my hours back to visitation. My son and I got Mother out of that facility alive and with her eyesight intact although her Glaucoma went from moderate to severe. The salve and cream was the beginning of the facilities resentments against me. It was a forecaster of horrible things to come in other areas of treatment. We are relocated to another facility that is close to my home and the facility is very supportive of my being Mothers full time caretaker. She is starting to pick again and I want to thank you for bringing up this subject as it is a reminder to get her to see the Dr. for a prescription salve and also of my responsibility to find out if she has any insecurities or worries she has not yet expressed.
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I don't know if these are still around, but maybe you might want to look for some type of mitts for self injurious people. Another thing you can do is take some first aid gauze and wrappings and wrap her hands that way to make those little mitts and keep her from hurting herself any further. This would be an alternative to drugging her
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It sounds like dry skin & can develope into a scratching habit - make sure she is drinking enough fluids & has a high strength moisturizer - don't use run of mill but ask your pharmisist for a recommendation ... possibly a Rx from dr. -

We use a Rx ointment for first aid that has a small amount of local anestetic in it - there are also anti-itch Rx but tend to make the person sleepy but good at night so they don't scratch in their sleep
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