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She won't accept it is dry skin. She has lived in 3 facilities over the last 3 years, and at each one at some point -usually winter - she complains there are bugs in some of her clothes that are biting her. She wants everything washed and fumigated. We have asked about meds causing it, and it is possible that the benedryl she takes to sleep could cause her to be dry - but she has this problem way before she started taking the benedryl so I tend to think that is not the problem. Any suggestions as to how to handle this? I am at a loss other than taking her to the doctor again to tell her it is dry skin, or nerve endings tingling.She doesn't believe it.

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Oh, you can have this disorder, even if you don't have dementia.

I think I might have someone pretend spray the alleged infested area, pretend take it all to be fumigated at the cleaners and then a pretend lotion that wards them off her body. Then print out an article (that I prepare) that says the bugs will be all killed along with their eggs within 48 hours. Then inspect and confirm they are gone. That might help her feel better.
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It sounds like she has a condition called delusional parasitiosis. It's not that uncommon. It can be treated with medications that help her psychologically, as convincing her that the bugs are not there normally doesn't work. A psychologist might also be of help.

Here's a link about it.

wikipedia/wiki/Delusional_parasitosis
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JessieBelle and GardenArtist - thank you for your quick responses. We tried the humidifier, which became a big issue where she was living at the time. I couldn't get to her every day, and they were not good about filling it, or cleaning it. I had actually forgotten about that - so will try again as she is near me now and I see her just about every day. The staff here would be much better about checking the water levels. She does complain more in the winter, so I know it is dry skin. I try to make sure to put cream on her back and shoulders, which is where the problem is. She says it does no good, and bugs are still there. I do believe it is connected to winter and dry skin. I will definitely try the creams suggested, and thank you for jogging my memory about the humidifier. I guess bugs or poison ivy are so much easier for them to explain the itching. Thank you both again!
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For a special treat, go to a store that sells herbal products, REAL herbal products w/o multiple chemicals. Depending on the blend, the fragrance can be mentally soothing. I have some mint lotion that's even better than the coconut lotion I mentioned above. And it's not loaded with all kinds of chemicals or any of the parabens.
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How about moisturizing her skin? Dry atmospheres make me itch to the point that I've wondered as well if I've been bitten. After 3 days in the hospital last year my whole back itched, and continued to itch for a few days after I got home. I just kept moisturizing and drinking lots of fluids.

On that subject, how is her fluid intake?

The fact that this occurs in winter suggests it's from heated air that isn't humidified, as it isn't in any facility in which I've visited.

I think some people are just more sensitive to drier air than others.

Dry skin is not only uncomfortable, it can be unhealthy. Put a hygrometer in the room to measure the actual moisture content. I'm guessing it will be as low as 20 or even lower.

You can get small samples of various lotions in travel sections of grocery stores (at least that's the case here in my area), try them out and see which ones she likes. Then make it a ritual to help massage her skin and make her feel better.

Or ask a dermatologist what's a good moisturizer.

I've found the best by far is a thicker lotion is "Creamy Coconut" from Bath & Body Works. Hands down, it provides more moisturizing effect than anything else I've ever used.

And consider getting a humidifier; it'll provide moisture to the air and make the entire room more comfortable.
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Oh, the skin ailments will drive you crazy. My mother has skin maladies all the time. For the last year or two she has had "poison ivy." She tells people that we have poison ivy all around our house and that's where she got it. I've looked and we don't have any poison ivy. Besides she never goes outside.

Lately when she talks about her poison ivy, I ask her if she got it in the dining room. She says no, then points to a place outside and say she got it there. I tell her she hasn't been out there. She then tells me that she knows it is poison ivy and that's where she got it. And she wants me to order the medicine for it right now. We go through this a lot and I don't take it so seriously. Older skin gets dry and bumpy. Sometimes I think she keeps "poison ivy" by putting so many things on her skin to treat it, especially the calamine that is very drying.

Older folks often do get irritation from a mild infection of the hair follicles of the skin. It can be particularly itchy if they scratch or pick at it. I imagine that the warm clothes of winter can rub against the hairs and exacerbate the problem. Dermatologists can prescribe a cream that can help. An OTC hydrocortisone cream may also work. Lotions, e.g. Cerave and Aveeno are also helpful with dry skin. Dermatologists recommend Cerave most often, but I prefer Aveeno.
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