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She is busy doing nothing. She is 81 and was diagnosed with dementia and has had Parkinson's for also 20 years. She is my mother-in-law and my husband and myself live with her. She is sleeping less and sorting more. She leaves books, papers, just stuff everywhere. She throws very little away. She sorts things over and over, moves stuff around. She stays awake late, until midnight, and gets up around 9 am.


I want to call the neurologist who sees her. My husband says no, there is nothing he can do. Is there something she can take to settle her down?

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With Parkinson's there can be issues with Impulse Control Disorders, especially if on a medication in the category of Dopamine Agonist. In some people this can cause impulsive or repetitive behaviors. This could be gambling, eating, rearranging things or more, regardless of the consequences. Obviously you should take her the doctor and discuss this.
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Reply to vegaslady
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I kept all the cards Mom received even Christmas ones. I put them in a nice box and she loved going thru them and sorting them. So yes this is part of Dementia. But seems to be an ongoing thing for MIL so it may be an anxiety that is not good for them. I would call her doctor and ask if there is something she can take.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Is your husband a doctor?

Why would he presume to know what can and can't be managed medically?
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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There is a purpose to what she is doing, mind you she may have no idea what that purpose is but it is in her head and you can not change that.
Getting her on a "sleep schedule" might help.
Get her up earlier.
Keep her busy during the day. Give her tasks to do. Try getting her out for a walk in the fresh air.
Keep to a bedtime schedule.
there are medications for the anxiety. But with Parkinson's there are many medications that would normally be prescribed but can not be used with Parkinson's. Before you try any Over the Counter medications (herbal or not) for either anxiety or sleep PLEASE check with her doctor.
But if this is a new behavior since the last time she saw the doctor it might be worth a call and inform them that things have changed.
the main concern I would have with the "stuff everywhere" is that it is not in an area where she might trip over things or that it becomes a hazard in other ways.
You can quietly toss things out if..
1) you are sure they are not important and
2) that you can get away with it.
She might not remember some things but she just might remember every scrap of paper in her little piles.
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Reply to Grandma1954
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Medication to temper the anxiety can be a big help.
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Reply to LoopyLoo
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What your MIL is doing is known as 'rummaging' in the dementia world.

Rummaging is a coping mechanism for the disorientation that dementia causes. The person with dementia is usually trying to reassure themselves that familiar items are still there or are trying to fulfill a need, like eating when hungry or doing something useful.

Hoarding is another behavior that is common with dementia, unfortunately. Here is a link from the Alzheimers website on those behaviors in general:
https://www.alz.org/media/greatermissouri/rummaging_hiding_and_hoarding_behaviors.pdf

Here is a link to an article on how to cope with rummaging in an elder:

https://www.responsive-homecare.com/common-dementia-behavior-of-rummaging/

It never hurts to call the doctor for advice and to see if there's a prescription suggested to help her with anxiety in general.

Wishing you the best of luck with a difficult situation.
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Reply to lealonnie1
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