Follow
Share

Hello and thanks for all the good advice I have already found! I recently left my very good job of six years to take care of my mother because all the other options were untenable and making her miserable. The people who have seen her then and since say she seems a lot happier and such, however there's some hurdles. I gave up my bedroom to her and now sleep in the spare room however she was moving things from my living room into what she considers "her room" constantly. She would also go in there and sleep all day and be up all night futzing around with all my possessions in the living room (has a lot of bookshelves and knickknacks and such and also all the books that were in her apartment formerly as I thought she would like to have them around.) At least five times a day she tries to get into the bedroom with an armload of stuff that mostly never was hers and gets mad at me that it is locked. I ask her if she has had an accident in case she is trying to get clothes or something but that is generally not the case- she hides the same things in there over and over. The only way for me to not spend half my life (which is taken up with making purees and cleaning and other things for her anyway) moving stuff back to where it belongs. Is there anything I can do about this? I have gotten her some things to entertain her that she used to enjoy but she hides, for example, the simple needlepoint kit I got her recently, in the bedroom and forgets all about it. I had some success with giving her a feather duster so she could "take care of" the bookshelves but she has now hidden that as well :/ Any suggestions? I can't let her sleep all day because that just makes matters worse but I am having a really hard time redirecting her from the locked door during the day. I usually go with "that room is for sleep, at night, and changing clothes. I will unlock it when it is time for bed, which is not yet." My mom isn't combative about most things and generally pleasant about everything but saying "please don't re-arrange our home." I have also tried saying that the books prefer to be on the bookshelves, which has little impact as well. Thanks and good luck to anyone who has given up their life for the person who gave it to them!

I think FF and CW make good points. It's frustrating, but in the long run is it worth the expenditure of energy? W/o being maudlin, when she's gone will you remember these moving episodes and regret that you might have been too frustrated to recognize that they're primarily irritating, but they do keep her busy?

I think there's another underlying issue: she's TRYING to accomplish something, even if it does mean things are being misplaced. So how can you turn this around to be a positive event for both of you? Do you have magazines or things that she can move, and HELP YOU? I interpret this as having some sense of wanting to be active, to find some level of control in her environment, to acclimate herself to your home, and probably some other issues which none of us will ever understand.

It does trouble me that she's locked out. This is now her home, but she doesn't have access to one room. That's literally inferring that she's still a guest, not a resident. To the extent that she might feel this way, it's certainly not a positive sentiment to convey.

I would pack up the valuable possessions and put them somewhere inaccessible, maybe another room. Then let her move things around; eventually you'll recover them, and if they're not necessary for daily use, being out of the way wouldn't really hurt anything.

I'm wondering also if a redirection of attention could help when the episodes start. Are they inbetween meals, before meals...is there any correlation with what else she does? If they're "idle hands" activities, maybe that's time for doing something together, even if it's just a walk outside to get the mail, check on the flowers, listen to the birds....just something positive to channel her need to be busy. Maybe just listen to music together (redirect her attention), chat about old times, discuss the weather,

Also, can she help you in the kitchen when you're pureeing, even if it's just to get out the food/ingredients, put the meals in the frig...something to let her know she's HELPING you, and that this is where she now belongs. It is her home too.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to GardenArtist
Report

That sounds so frustrating! I don't think that there is an easy solution for you as it is my understanding their obsessions are nearly impossible to change, I've sometimes thought that my mom's dramatic physical decline was preferable to the inexplicable, heartbreaking behaviours of so many with dementia. Would it be worthwhile to temporarily pack away the knick-knacks and books? Is there a good local adult day care available where she could spend some time to (hopefully) refocus her thoughts and work off some of her nervous energy?
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to cwillie
Report

SleeplessInABQ, I personally never had this problem, but I have read on the forums to pick your battles. I can understand how annoying it could be to see your Mom moving the books and other items into her bedroom, I would suggest just let her do it. Unless it is harmful to your Mom or the items are getting damaged.

Sounds like Mom has nervous energy, along with dementia. Maybe your Mom's primary doctor could recommend something very mild to calm Mom down.

Also ask is there something that you could give your Mom to make her sleep at night. Then that way you can try to reverse her staying up all night fussing over thing, and be up during the day.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to freqflyer
Report