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I guess you could call this an obsession but my husband has mild Dementia and he used to smoke an occasional cigar outside NOT in the house. Now he still smokes outside but he will smoke 2 cigars in a day now. If he runs out I buy them at a local store until his arrives in the mail and the day they are expected to arrive he asks me to go to the post office and get them before the mail runs so he doesn't have to wait on the mail. I go because he would just want to drive up there and that would lead to WW III. He also now loves Klondike ice cream bars and will eat maybe 3 in a day. 6pk for $3.98. Cigars $40.00 each order. Thank you

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IAmAmy, that is so sweet. I tell my dad and mom that I love them every time I see them, even when my dad isn't receptive or is hostile (which is less often these days, but still happens). It's good to remember how important that is. Thank you!
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Thank you HelperMom! That is a mouthful of a word but there it is. On first sight it looks like other words i.e. preserve, perseverance, perversion. haha
Gladimhere, good little read! Thank you.
JBelle.. Finger pistols lol
I initiated writing things down for dad when it was time for my sister to take over so I could go home for a couple of days (I live an hour from him) I learned the hard way not to let him know I was leaving in advance because he would fret, worry and his confusion would skyrocket but I felt bad about 'pulling the rug out from under him' because he doesn't like it when my sister is in charge, she gets impatient and try's to avoid him (by her own admission) and he knows it. The first time I left him with her, on a moments notice, I came back 3 days later to heartbreak. My sister answered his repetitive questions about where I was and if I was coming back by snapping at him in frustration (Needless to say I fired her and boy was she was glad) He was more anxious than I'd ever seen him, more uncertain, more insecure and his tremors were at an all time high. It took another 3 days to bring him back to a comfort zone. After that I wrote down every detail from my departure to return in a note book and gave it to him an hour before I was to leave. He read it at least 8 times before I left and when I hugged him and told him I loved him at the door his face lit up and he said, "you do love me" and pointed to the notebook....
Aww I'm getting choked up here :-)
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My moms obsession was moving things from room to room and hiding things. When she still lived with me she would carry arms full of dishes and glassware upstairs in the middle of the night to stuff into bedroom dressers and closets. Now that she is in her AL she spends a good amount of time daily moving everything from place to place or stuffing things into bags and even into her refrigerator. Every visit I make includes a scavenger hunt to find her lost items dentures, shoes, and room keys.
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And believe me I know how hard it is! After four years of 24/7 for mom and L, I better know. And it did help me to remind myself that it is the disease, this is not my mom; it helped to keep me maybe just a bit more sane.
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But glad is spot on JB and we really should all be grateful for the reminder, however hard it is to enact from time to time. Thanks glad xxxxx
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Jude, I was thinking the same thing when I read them. I added my own number 9 that read:

9. Do these for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for umpteen years and see if you're not totally nuts at the end.

A huge consideration is that there has to be a balance between caring for someone with dementia and for ourselves. Respite, helmets, and finger pistols help a lot. (We don't have a garage, so I can't go there to scream.)
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Oh glad if only I could act on those guidelines. Its jolly hard when you are asked for the umpteenth time is it Christmas yet? and you know you have another 8 days before you can say YES. Even when we make card or christmas decs she still keeps asking the question. I just go hide in the garage and scream a little (a little more often these days)
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Helper, thank you I knew there must be a word for it, but had no idea where to try to find out. Here is what I found. (From Home Health Blog by Meghan Lewis)

What can a caregiver do when the loved one coping with dementia engages in perseveration?

1. Practice patience, stay calm and remember that this repetition is involuntary; if anxiety is the trigger, escalated tension will only exacerbate the situation

2. Avoid reminding the individual dealing with dementia that he or she just asked the same question; shame or embarrassment can worsen the episode

3. Try to determine the cause or trigger and learn any patterns, e.g. pulling at clothing could mean patient needs to use bathroom

4. Try ignoring the behavior or question and distracting your loved one with an activity or snack

5. Reassure and comfort the individual with calming words and soothing touch

6. Avoid discussing plans with a person with dementia until right before; anticipation or worry that he or she will forget the event is going to happen may ramp up perseveration

7. Try placing helpful signage, like “dinner is at x time” on the kitchen table, etc. to remove anxiety and uncertainty about anticipated events

8. Step into the person’s reality to carry on the conversation or allow the person the reminisce about memories; by discussing and airing out this specific topic or memory, it may stop “looping”
Similar to keeping a journal by your bed to write down any recurring thoughts in order to let them go, allowing the person with dementia to “let out” nagging thoughts, however subconscious, may give him or her traction to get out of the thought or behavior rut.
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I think the word is "perseverating". Not simple, but it is descriptive!
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Good point about these things getting stuck in their brains. It's easier to call them obsessions but there is a difference in obsessive behavior and what they are experiencing. There should be a simple name for it like there is for sundowners.
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Obsessions? I think obsessions are what happens to people with healthy brains. In the case of people with dementia it is not willful behaviors. I think something gets in their brains and gets stuck on replay. It is important to realize that they do not have control over these behaviors, they are not willful.

My mom would eat an entire box of ice cream bars in a day. And she is lactose intolerant so I HAD to curtail that behavior and stopped buying ice cream. She would finish one bar, go to the fridge for another within minutes. If I told ner she bad just had one she would get angry saying "I did not!" So easiest solution stop buying them.
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Oh yes. I don't know what my dad would do without his multiple obsessions. He was always a meticulous guy in his pre-dementia days but he wasn't obsessive like he is now, bless his heart. I'm grateful that my dad's obsessions don't involve the expense that you are dealing with but when he insists that you go to the post office even tho it's not time then I'd say hop in your car and feel the freedom! Of course that doesn't work if he tags along. One of my dad's obsessions involve his flannel lined denim shirts; not only does he insists on wearing one every single day, hot summer included, but he has to have them ironed. (The only shirts my mother ever ironed for him were his dress shirts) but when he gave me my first ironing assignment I was so desperate for a break that I went downstairs and "ironed" ha!
I got out the board, the iron and even laid a couple of his shirts out on the ironing board in case he came down to check on me. Fully prepared I flopped down on the couch to read a book and even got to take a little nap, it was paradise! Well paradise living is temporary and soon enough I heard him descending the stairs. I dashed over to the ironing board knocking it almost all the way over in my frenzied attempt to become an instant laundress. I was ironing away like a pro by the time he hit the bottom step and then he said, "Why are you out of breath honey?" ....ummmm
"Amy, you don't even have the iron plugged in!"
...Oops
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As long as I have money to spend on cigars and ice cream I will I just had to vent the other day.
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Tarajane, it almost sounds more like he is deriving comfort from eating familiar comfort foods and enjoying his cigars than like he is obsessed. At least in my experience, dementia obsessions are highly charged and usually last for a few days before giving way to a different obsession. They often involve something that your loved one "has" to do, like writing a letter, finding a lost dog or child, going to work, etc. Does he have enough to do, to distract him from his appetites? (The appetite thing can also kick in with dementia, especially because they can't remember eating or how much they ate. My dad with Alzheimer's would eat a whole bag of chocolates without even realizing it, so I have to put them away after he's had a few.) I know it must be hard to deal with the expense of these habits, especially the cigars.
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Thank you all so much. All very helpful for me
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Yes, definitely. My mother thinks the house is jacked up and air is coming through cracks in the floors. She puts quilts down to try to keep the air from coming in. Antidepressants have not helped. One antidepressant (mirtazapine) made her so obsessive that we had to take her off of it. She decided she needed to wash all the coins in the house, and then all of her old clothes. It was frightful.

She obsesses a lot about other things. I just try to work around them the best I can. She really gets stuck on things, so it can make me crazy after a while.
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Yes, yes, yes..

Patience... If going to the PO makes you less stressed then just do it.. You have to pick your battles..

Good luck.. I know how it is.. You're not alone..
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My Dad has mild dementia and he will get stuck on one thing and won't shake it loose.

Example, he thought he should write a letter to his former primary doctor explaining why he wasn't seeing her any more. I told him he doesn't need to do that, doctors have hundreds and hundreds of patients so losing one isn't going to matter. Gosh this obsession went on for 4 months.

Now that obsession is gone, and Dad is on to something else :P
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Well, let me ask this in a simpler way.......do Dementia patients develop obsessions ? Thanks
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