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She has had sinus trouble most of her life, and abused nose sprays for years which has resulted in a large perforated septum causing a large hole in her nose. So this stays dry, crusted, and sore, which causes her to pick at it obsessively, then it bleeds off and on because she won't leave it alone. She is hard to care for as it is, taking up most of my time, but this problem has me so stressed out!

This has made it where I have to clean so many areas over and over again daily. She constantly is getting lots of ice from the freezer, (we just don't have the room or money for one with an automatic ice machine) so I made a separate ice holder for me and my husband, but sometimes she gets her hands on that too. This is just one example of many problems that are caused because of her disgusting habit. I'm at a loss because her hands are everywhere every day. An ENT told her about the hole and told her the hole will just get bigger over time, I wasn't at the appointment, this was about 4 or 5 months ago in Ca before she moved in with us. Any suggestions?

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I hear you about the spell checker! I do the exact same thing Veronica. I'll try different letters, and sometimes have to just pick another word. I use to spell so well and I'm only 57. I have Fibro and short term memory loss is one of the many symptoms, but who knows, perhaps stress is killing off our brain cells? Also ditto on the small print vstefans. Don't they know were not all under the age of 40 with 20/20 vision? And you know what? The tension and stress has gotten so bad just this past week. And I have to admit I have lost my temper with my Mom several times, usually it is when I can't stand to even look at her, and she senses I'm stressed, so she responds with following me around, smothering me. I tell her to please give me some space. She responds with dropping her head down and sulking the rest of the day. Now she says she is going back to her sisters in Ca, after we spent 1,000s of dollars to bring her here,fixed up a bedroom nicely with furniture and Jim hung up her lrg screen tv, (for nada, cause she never watches it) took her to all the specialists she needed to see, bought her so many things she needed, hearing aids, lrg print books jut to name a few, tried our hardest to get along, to overlook many of the irritating dirty habits she has. She is not senile, but she would not make one lousy change to help me, i pleaded with her about these different issues, she says ok, I'll do that, or, I won't ever do that again, depending on what it is, like her nose, or her filling her drinks to the rim and spilling stuff all over. I so badly wanted her here until we could no loner care for her so when she does wind up in a NH I can make sure she is being treated well. Instead shes going back to her 2 sisters, one she will live with who ha early stage dementia, the other one does very little to help, plus my brothers live there, they have never helped her, only used her, but she says they love me and you don't give a #### about me! I was stunned because I know and she does to that I have been there for her for support, and I even considered her my best friend! The most perplexing and amazing thing to me is I did not ever see the scope of her mental problems until she lived with me, this being the third try. She lies and manipulates to get her way, and loves to use guilt as one of her weapons of choice to use to get what she wants. I told her I'm done, when she finds herself with no where to go except a NH in an area where they are very bad, short staffed and dreary looking, do not call us to come rescue you again because I know I cannot live with you. She is a toxic person. I am still so sick about it all, and trying to let it go, to make myself see I can't help her any more. I am physically and mentally drained. So is my poor Jim who was so helpful and giving to her. We gave her all we had, and it was not enough.
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Veronica - I love that answer. And they use the small print so much because it is part of a secret conspiracy to sell us more reading glasses.
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This is something I did when I was working. There was only one man in our group and he never put the seat of the toilet down. Some people were exasperated by this but not one had the guts to ask him to do it. Didn't bother me - I am married to a man!!!!!!!!!!! I was at the bottom of the totum pole so did not volunteer to tell the guy, instead I found a cartoon of a scared cat sitting in the toilet and wrote underneath. "Gentlemen kindly return the seat to the down position" Nothing was said, faces were saved and we never found the seat up again.
Perhaps you could try a similar stratergy. I use a lot of cartoons from rubber stamp catalogs found on the internet.
You mentioned that you can't afford a fridge with an ice maker. could you maybe find a used college dorm size just for Moms stuff and keep it stocked in her own room. Note on your fridge with skull and crossbones. "MOM YOU ARE BANNED FROM THIS FRIDGE" she may be glad to have her own stash and no one nagging her all the time. Do you have her own room set up with TV, comfy chair etc so she can have some private alone time and pick her nose in peace. Short of hand cuffing her she is not going to stop, it is a habit but also a comfort thing. There are worse orifices she could be inserting her digits. Stay strong but try and laugh too.
PS I wish this site had a spell checker!!!!!!!! My words get a red line but when I have exhausted my ideas I have to resort to a dictionary. even had to buy a new one at the $1 store (Why do they use such small print these days?)
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Would reminding her every few days to continue doing the things you'd like her to do work? Even if she still is doing it you could remind her every time you see her going toward whatever the thing is you want her to keep clean.

I know how frustrating it is; believe me. Glad you can come in here and talk about it and maybe people will continue to give you ideas.
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I really don't get her. I have told her as gently and tactfully as I can to please do certain things, ie, use a disinfectant wipe if she dribbles on the toilet. She will agree whole- heartedly, even say she will never do certain things again, but it only lasts a few days, then back to her nasty habits. I honestly do not think it's forgetfulness, I think she plays mean little games to show her resentment of her being so completely dependant on my husband and I. It does help so much to vent. I will keep trying and praying for patience and stamina to care for her. I am sooo thankful to the person who invented sanitizer. It is my constant friend right now!
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Absolutely; that's why we're all here, yes? To try to give each other some support in our lonely situations.. She does have to follow some rules; it is your house after all, despite that she's your mother. People have to respect each other. If she has memory issues it will be harder, but still possible. Maybe ask for her help; maybe you can get her to see that if she doesn't follow some of what you ask of her, that she's making it much harder for you and everyone else and she probably doesn't want that so it might get through to her that way.

Despite being our parents' children, we are people who deserve respect and sometimes we have to demand it and gently enforce our rights to our own wants and needs.
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Cornucopia, thank you for the encouragement, a few words at the right time can mean so much. And you are so right! I was thinking on this earlier today, thinking, i can't live this way much longer. I have to get through to her that she has to go by some house rules, like cleaning her hands frequently. I have been cleaning the bathroom 2-3 times daily, she leaves the sink pretty yucky looking. And all i see is her snotty hands every where!!
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Debbierose, totally get the challenges of making any changes at all; it's so hard. But you do have to take care of yourself and if it seems "bold," remember you have rights too. I wish you the best...
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There's some good advice here. Unfortunately I've tried many of these things. She has no septum, just a hole because she had sinus problems most of her life and she abused taking medicated nose sprays. Sad huh? We took her to an ENT and he suggested any antibiotic ointment applied with a q-tip 3 times a day I will try the longer sticks with the foam if I can find them or maybe some longer q-tips. And I keep her in constant supply of saline spray. What makes it so hard is my mom is a very difficult person to deal with. I believe she has borderline personality disorder, which causes me and my DH a lot of grief and trouble. Veronica I laughed when I read your suggestion of locking the fridge! Actually it's a great idea. Only she is in and out of the fridge and freezer all day long getting soda, tea, and ice. I could just see the steam rising out of the top of her head when she finds it locked! I do make her have a separate ice holder and trays. Cornucopia I will try talking to her about the hand sanitizer. It would help so much if she would get in the habit. She used to be so clean and kept a very clean house but we all know how things like hygiene can become a challenge for some elderly people, especially if they are chronically ill with serious conditions. Sigh.... I so appreciate all your suggestions. I will try my nerve up to put a sign on the fridge, not sure if I can be that bold. Thanks you all, and I will let you know if we make any progress.
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I would suggest she use a saline nasal spray, it will keep everything clean up there.
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Do you know why Mom has this hole in her nose? This could be a habit she has always had or it really irritates. A visit to the ENT is a priority. he can maybe prescribe some numbing ointment and demonstrate how and where to put it. A Q tip may not be big enough. There are sticks with a square of foam on the end that are used to clean mouths and are much larger.
Hand washing is clearly a hygiene issue and my only suggestion is routine regular hand washing. make it special "We are going to wash our hands before dinner and both of you do it. produce a "special" bottle of liquid soap from your pocket, fill the sink and both of you wash your hands then rinse under running water. (You can wash yours again after she has left the area. Keep her finger nails cut really short. Can you lock the fridge so she does not have access? You can tell her the reason and if she does not like it too bad.
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Perhaps getting her in a routine of using a hand sanitizer each time after nose-picking. You could sympathize with her, such as "I know you are uncomfortable and feel that you need to do this, but it is not sanitary. Please use this hand sanitizer after each time your fingers are in your nose". Perhaps put a hand sanitizer taped to the freezer door with a sign, "Must use before opening freezer."

My mother with dementia never picked her nose before in her life and now does it too. Inhibitions are just out the window. I am able however to get her into routines such as hand washing if I lead her to the sink several times; she then starts to get in the habit. Wish you luck.
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I know exactly what you mean! My mom is a huge challenge to care for and even though she is mobile she can't do much of anything because she gets so out of breath. Her health is deteriorating and she requires a lot of attention. The whole situation is so stressful, but the hardest part for me by far is knowing she has her fingers in her nose off and on all day. She gets nose bleeds easily and constantly blows, and digs, she says she has to because there is mucus and blood clots forming all the time and it makes it to where the oxygen does not get through. This is true, so I know there's no stopping her. So my work load is non-stop! I am constantly cleaning everything I know she touches multiple times a day like faucets, microwave, all the surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom etc. And like you JesseBelle we won't eat chips she has opened. She also does not wash her hands. This is driving me nuts! i don't know how much longer I can take it, seriously.
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debbierose, it's not just your mother who is a chronic nose picker. My father was a habitual nose picker and my mother still is. I tell my mothers that I'm going to stick mittens on her. She'll stop if I tell her to, but go back to it when I'm out of sight. She says that it itches in her nose. I think a lot of it is that she is bored. She never worries with her nose when she has something to do, only when she is sitting in front of the TV. It is one of the reasons that I never eat anything that she has opened, e.g. chips. I know where those hands have been and know they are seldom washed.
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Maybe an ointment, something bland like A&D or even Vaseline, would soothe the itching and crusting inside if you can get enough in there with Q-tip. Would a sign on the fridge to WASH HANDS FIRST be of any help?
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