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My mom has become incessant about picking her skin. We have dressed her in long sleeves and put high socks on so its hard for her to have access to her skin. This helped but now she won't wear the long sleeve clothing or the socks. When she is not picking her skin Mom will then focus on picking lint off of the carpet and furniture. She is undeterred in her determination to pick at anything. We used to be able to distract her with puzzles, crosswords, conversation and giving her lotion to rub on her skin. Now, she cannot stop or control her obsession. I was wondering if anyone has had to deal with this obsessive activity and could offer any suggestions. Thank you!

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Skin picking is a part of dementia and is not caused by itching. However, it's important for the docs to rule out any other causes. If it turns out to be dementia related, there are many good ideas that you can google having to do with sorting coins, buttons, etc. Also, there are velcro gloves for this purpose.
Blessings,
Jamie
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Thank you Sunnygirl1 for the link!
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The skin picking is an actual disorder. I wonder why the doctors don't know about it. I'm going to send you a link from a foundation that might offer some links for information. Of course, if you mom is competent and doesn't want treatment, I'm not sure what you can do.
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We have researched meds, gone to multiple doctors, psychologists, neurologist and dermatologist. We have ruled out detergents and bedding. It's just her obsession. My parents are not accepting of outside help at this time. My dad is hanging in there simply because she does sleep much of the day. I want them to live with me but have not been able to convince them. We did convince them to move into a independent facility a year ago. They have both declined mentally since that time.
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I think the cause of her itching should be first explored. Does she have diabetes, hypothyroid, allergies to food, detergents or anything else you can think of including medications. You could start by looking up the side effects of every medicine she is on.
It could also be anxiety. Once she starts to scratch an area continues to be ititqated so she goes back to it.
Picking at blankets and clothes is very common in the elderly especially those with a compromised mental status.
Is there anyone reading this when under extreme stress has not performed some kind of repetitive movement for distraction. For example rubbed on something in your pocket, rubbed your fingers together, fingered the pages of a prayer book at a funeral and anything else you can think of.
It sounds as though Mom is getting close to needing a higher level of care. No 88 old man or woman can stand the stress of caring for an Alzheimers patient.
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I"d discuss it with her doctor to see if you can get her some relief. I'd explore possible causes, like medication and treatments, which might include medication. I'd observe as much as possible to report to the doctor, so you can rule out things like allergies or skin conditions.
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My Mom has Alzheimers Disease. She and my father (88) live in an independent living facility. Mom currently sleeps until 11:00 am, eats breakfast and takes her morning meds, then dozes, cat naps or just goes back to bed until 5:00. They go down to dinner at 6:00. She will be back in bed around 9:00 tossing and turning scratching all night long. Dad has a bed in his study that he usually retreats to around midnight so he can get some sleep. Her dementia is affecting her ability to converse. Basically, she has conversation loops with repetitive questions.
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What is your mother's ailment? Here is a link for an article on this condition on this site.
https://www.agingcare.com/articles/compulsive-skin-picking-in-the-elderly-186225.htm

I'd consult with her doctor and see what they say and I might ask for psychiatric referral. I'd explore if medication could help. This condition is not just found in seniors or those with dementia.
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