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Long story short I have been taking care of my 94 year old Narcissistic Grandmother who likes to pick her skin until she bleeds. First time last Summer she ended up in the hospital because she picked a scab on her leg and caused an infection. That took months of recovery and took over my life. I wouldn't complain however after that healed she peeled skin about 2x2 ,off her finger....another infection of course requiring medical attention. That's just the past 10 months now she refuses to do much for herself. This past Friday I get her to my vehicle to head out of town for my oldest child's wedding but got delayed because my grandmother let her body go limp letting go falling back on me , she was fine I get her back up try again she refuses to help me & once again just let's go like it's a game only this time she twisted and bumped her leg. My grandmother is intentionally doing things to hurt herself and not giving a rats ass about anyone (me). She tells my Dad who is also disabled therefore why I took on her caregiver role that she is better off dead. What do we do now? It's like she doesn't care how her hurting herself may affect me. It's all about attention & when she doesn't feel she is getting enough of it she hurts herself for it. So much more to share I'm just so overwhelmed from her last stunt. Has anyone dealt with this behavior.....FYI no dementia or serious issues especially for 94 other than the ones she creates ....Advice welcomed please!

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My aunt (91), who has dementia, does this. Not to the degree you mention. She seems to focus on a part of her body and then move on. One time it was on top of her nose and her doctor asked us to put a bandaid on it to see if it would heal. She said if it wouldn’t it might be skin cancer. We did as instructed and it healed. She would constantly take the band aids off. Then she would move on to her forehead or face. Now it is her left ear. Once I showed her in a mirror what she was doing and she cried and said that she didn’t want to do that to herself. I more or less accepted that it was involuntary and she couldn’t stop.
Recently, quiet by accident, she was out of her Allegra allergy tabs. I give her 1/2 tab (Costco label) daily with her meds. She was out for about a week. Her bathing aide said that she scratched her back and picked at her ear even more so during the time she didn’t have the pill. I have no idea if it had anything to do with having the allergy pill or not. But I thought I would pay closer attention to this connection.
It is a common problem with the elderly.
Keep her nails short. Keep her nails clean.
Someone told me to try putting Vaseline on it to keep the skin soft and not as easy to pick. We do put lotion on her arms and legs daily and she leaves those areas alone. It might be worth a try.
I don’t think it has anything to do with you. Is there anyone else who could care for her and give you a break? For both your sakes you might need some time away.
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Check out similar posts on picking at skin:

https://www.agingcare.com/search.aspx?searchterm=picking at skin
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Someone (I can't remember who), has posted on the disorder and the medical condition of picking at skin. This a condition, with a specific name, but I can't recall it right now.

Sluggoswife, I'm not convinced that the concerning behavior is deliberate; I think there's an underlying condition, but as I wrote I just don't recall what it was.
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You were typing as I was typing so I just saw your post about the antianxiety medication. Maybe your grandmother needs a antidepressant also.

Your grandmother sounds like an older version of kids who harm themselves via cutting---the cutting or picking are ways to cope with anxiety or other negative feelings or situations. The person may not be able to stop it. Asking your grandmother to stop picking at her skin doesn't seem to help so there is no need to continue asking her to do so.

In the past (when healthcare workers could use restraints), they tried mittens or gloves to decrease sharp fingernails from scratching the skin. I know that the weather is getting warmer, but maybe long sleeve shirts or long pants with loose elastic hems might help decrease access to the skin. Also, she may be bored and picking is how she copes. Let us know what your doctor says.

I am glad to hear that you are talking to her doctor tomorrow.
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I agree that your Grandmother may be suffering from depression or anxiety. She is 94 years old...most people her age have died so she probably doesn't have any friends or family from her generation (or are in their 90's) that visit her or that she can visit. Contact your doctor so that he/she is aware of what is going on. Your grandmother may need to see a geriatric psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner who can prescribe antidepressants or antianxiety medications.
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Sluggoswife May 13, 2018
Thank you we are calling her Dr tomorrow
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Have you talked to her doctors about the possibility of her having depression or anxiety? Anxiety could be what causes her to pick at herself and depression might be why she doesnt care if she gets hurt. This might not be the underlying cause for her behavior, but its worth looking into.
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Sluggoswife May 13, 2018
We are calling her Dr first thing tomorrow about this. She takes anti anxiety med at night but so far that's it.
Ill ask her to stop picking warning her she will cause another infection but she ignores me.
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