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Mom is nearing the end and she is constantly folding her sheet or blanket and the gown she is wearing. I try to keep a smaller towel handy so she will reach for that but sooner or later I find her folding her sheet or worse, trying to work her gown from underneath her to fold it up.

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Thanks everyone for the help. I had no idea why mom is constantly
Interested in making a perfect square out of her napkins at the dinner table and then her sheets when she’s in bed. Was driving me nuts. Now I understand
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My Mother in law folds napkins & toilet paper into tiny little squares & stuffs them everywhere. My husband goes in her room & empties them & can fill a plastic grocery bag full. He has go through each one though because sometimes she wraps her belongings in them. He has found her dentures, jewelry & money among them. My Dad had AlZ & did this too.
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I do hope for the best. You hand in there and take care.
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ramiller...no actually things got worse. He was just a mess. The Director of the Memory Unit suggested the adult onesie. It zips in the back so he can't get it off. It will mean diapers, but it is what it is. They will toilet him every 2 hours, so hopefully he'll remember to still use the bathroom. If not, it is what it is. The wat he's going, AL will turn him away and that would be awful. He's a person there, with his own room. He goes to the dining room, can walk around the facility and walk outdoors when he pleases. In a nursing home, he will simply be a patient. Hopefully the issue will be resolved with the onesie. He simply refuses to keep Depends on. Thanks for thinking of him!
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Lucy i saw your post and was wondering how dad is doing. Did things get any better with the depends coming off issues. I sure hope so. Just thought i would let you know I was thinking of you. To anyone dealing with dementia patients folding is so common. I have a client who folds everything she gets her hands on. It seems to calm her. Whatever works is ok by me as long as their in no danger.
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I think with Dementia patients, the changes in the brain not only cause confusion, but aggitation. The need to move the hands usually results in repetitive motion. Folding keeps the hands busy. My dad folded paper towels fir awhile. He would pull a piece off of the roll, wipe his mouth and fold it before he threw it in the trash. Then he would click his nail. Over and over. Now he pulls his pants up constantly. He's been fresh to some other residents at his AL so he was put on a mild anti-depressant. It's made a world of difference. In the long run, don't even try to get in their heads to wonder why they do something, you can't. It's just the dysfunction in their brains.
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What I was thinking for those old to deal with the folding issue is to have them help you on laundry day since they like to fold things so well. Keeping them busy is key to helping them feel useful. Accept it as a blessing, especially if you hate folding laundry. I strongly believe anyone who says that back in the real old days, the elderly kept busy by staying useful on farms. They were healthy when they stayed busy doing something useful. Staying busy is actually key to also keeping your mind healthy. I also read somewhere that coconut oil has been known to be very beneficial for anyone with dementia or Alzheimer's because it not only improved symptoms, but it can also help to diminish or even reverse them. I was actually shocked when I discovered it online. Coconut oil is actually very expensive, but a good way around it is to just eat coconut.
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From my personal experience I would have to say not necessarily. My surrogate dad and my elderly friend were actually seemingly normal until right up to the time they both had to be put into nursing homes.
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If a man has never folded anything in his life, would he start folding the laundry then? Or do something else repetitive?
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My mom also folds anything within her reach.. While hospitalized she was given dolls which she would hold and played with but the best thing given to her was an activity blanket.. This keeps mom busy for hours and at the same time is therapy movement for her hands as it has different activities which rouse her curiosity and she works on most of them..
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Lucy, so sorry you are having to deal with this. I hope he can het a higher level of care to help him. Talk to doc too see what he can suggest. Hugs to you as you travel this journey you are never alone.
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We used to keep 2 baskets of clean towels of all sizes handy for my grandmother to fold. Two, because she would recognize the same towels if she folded them twice in a row, so we mixed them up. It seemed to keep her mind and hands occupied for long periods of time after she began not being able to focus on reading or tv or conversations. And it gave her a sense of contributing.
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ramiller...yes, they do a 2 hr check on him, even during the night. Nothing seems to get him to wear the depends. I notice in the last month, he's declined mentally. It's really not possible to have a conversation with him. He doesn't talk. As for leaving AL, it wouldn't phase him in the least. I tell him all the time that we have to wear underwear. Gies in one ear and out of the other.
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Lucy, you may want to tell pop her will be asked to leave AL if he does not wear depends and stay clean. The smell will soon become overwhelming and if he goes to dining room they may ask him to leave. No throw rugs in bathroom they pose tripping hazard. Can you get him on a two hour check where the aids come in help with bathroom and assure hes properly dressed this might be a big help.
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Yes, he knows to go to the toilet. I also suggested a non-slip rug to catch the spills but AL says no. As for the Depends, I bought him the pull-ups when he came home from rehab in May. The aide at the time said he didn't need them and had him in regular underwear. Things were good for awhile, then he started asking to go upstairs to lay down. It was then that he insisted upon taking all his clothes off. This is what he does. He simply refuses to wear underwear or Depends. He doesn't appear to be in any distress. I believe it's the Dementia. It's discouraging to me because he has lost his dignity.
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Johnjoe, yes, I agree to allow the folding. You know where she puts them therefore, you can collect them when she is not looking. We had one fellow who would take all the washers from the linen trolley, only to hord them in his draws. He would become very aggressive/ angry if washers were taken off him. Staff would wait until he left his room, then quickly swoop in there to recover our losses. He would was completely unaware of them missing, even though every draw would be jam packed with the items.
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Lucysmum501, might be good idea having a non slip, small carpet (washable) near the toilet to catch the drips. At least he is still going to the toilet. He sounds like he's still independent with cares. If he refuses the depends try pull ups but if all clothing ripped off, he will most likely continue the same behaviour. Is he suffering with agitation. Sometime addressing the underlying cause of behaviours can help
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Michell13 I find My own Mother folds cloths quiet a lot and stores them in Her bed. At first I wondered how this could be for a Lady Who had always been so tidy and correct, but I guess with Al/s the brain works differently to the norm. It's harmless, and if it creates contentment well this is good.
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I don't mean to sound flippant - but I actually find folding laundry somewhat relaxing. Well, except for fitted sheets - those are the bane of my laundry existence!
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We knew a lady who was a clothing inspector and she did this all of the time, and I remember that one of my aunts, who had been in nursing, would also do this, so we made her a quilt with squares of cloth attached that she could fold. The repetition would be calming, I would think.
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Michell13...any suggestions on how to Depends on my dad? The AL get them on him in the morning. He takes everything off from the waist down. Sleeps totally naked and refuses to wear the Depends even during the day. He seems to know to go into the bathroom to go. AL thinks as he's finishing, he turns to leave and ends up with a puddle ( or worse ) on the floor. He then walks in it. They extract his carpet a couple of times a week. Thankfully he hasn't come out if his room without his trousers! He tells them he's never worn underwear. Of course he did!
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Lol- that would be Autism! Almost looks like I was going for Satinism! When will I learn to wait until after my second cup of coffee to try to communicate?!!!
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Thanks ramiller! I've got tons of experience with Sutisn - my 22 yr old son, work for a non-profit than ran a program for individuals with Autism for ten years and my friends now are all parents of children with Autism - a your "regular" friends fall away. Up until recently I had zero experience with dementia. But as I go along, figuring out what works and what doesnt, I've begun noticing a lot of similarities: repetitive behavior, fixations on specific items or subjects, sensitivity to touch, visual thinking vs auditory thinking (how pictures can be used for understanding) the need for short, concise verbal cues and final that routine is critical for sucess in daily living.
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Rainmom, very interesting insight.
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Michell: Good thing they can't take it off. Not a pretty sight!
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Having worked in aged care for years, I see folding cloths & changing of garments as a very common behaviour in the dementia. Packing cloths is another one. Leaving only a few cloths in wardrobe can control this pattern. Dress person in a one- piece back to front so buttons or zip on back. They cannot take it off. Works well also at night when preventing pad being ripped off if incontinent.
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after my mom had her big stroke that she finally passed from, hospice called it picking. That might be the same thing as folding, but I'm not sure. They said pretty much everyone does that towards the end.
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Yes, is your answer. Guess it gives them some measure of comfort...maybe they think it's laundry.
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Not folding, but wringing her hands and twirling her ring.
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I've been thinking about this question...it got me thinking about repetive behavior in people with autism - maybe there's a similar reason, maybe not. With autism the repetive behavior can be about comfort. It has to do with reassurance, expectations and control. These individuals often have very little control over their own behaviors and lives (familiar?). They CAN control the object i.e. it will fold the same way every time. The outcome is predictable and thus reassuring. Often individuals with autism will watch the same movies over and over - they know what comes next, it is again predictable, reassuring thus comforting in their unpredictable world.
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