My mother picks at her legs constantly, causing them to bleed. I clean them, bandage them and yet she continues to pick away. What can I do? - AgingCare.com

My mother picks at her legs constantly, causing them to bleed. I clean them, bandage them and yet she continues to pick away. What can I do?

Follow
Share
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
8

Answers

Show:
She may have obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Picking is often a sign of this illness. If she has Ahzheimer's, there is a phase that many people go through where they pick.Either way, it's difficult to control and frustrating to the caregiver. Please keep in touch with a doctor. She could have a skin disorder, or she could have anxiety. There may be a mediation that can help.
Good luck,
Carol
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

hey there frog,

your mom has 'busy hands' and the leg picking is what's there to be played with.
My mom kept picking at her face and then I figured it out and got her other stuff to pick at. Everybody is different but my mom responded to pretty fabrics so I got a load of different colored and textured cloth napkins that I keep in a little picnic basket. I tousle them up and then put them next to her on her left side For some reason if I put them on her right side she will not play with them, but if i place them next to her on her left side she goes for it and begins to pick at the fabrics and tries to 'organize' them into folded stacks.

It's all about distraction. Can you put your mom in pants so she can't get at her legs? Neosporin plus pain relief is a good one as long as it gets covered up so they can't continue picking and then get the stuff in their eyes. it may dull the sensation in her legs until they heal up and she establishes a
differerent habit may it be fabrics, or whatever you finally figure out.

Good Luck,

lovbob
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

When my dad was in and out of the hospital,the ICU people told me that most people at his age and condition pick. He didn't seem to know why either.The worse thing he did to totally freak me out was pull the port they had hooked to the vein in his arm out one night.Just like a kid I thought he was being a little to quiet,so I checked on him. He was totally covered in blood as was the bed.It was threaded in his vein,he ripped it out.It was a pretty terrible sight.He had a look of a little boy who just got caught doing something naughty.His sheets was soaked in blood.He made it hard keeping him out of nursing home.Anytime he was in hospital,they would restrain him, which was upsetting also.Once he asked me to hook his hospital bed to my car and pull him home down the interstate.Could ya'll see a elderly man in a hospital bed being pulled down the bypass.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Must be very frustrating for you, peacfrog. Tough part is that for those self-created sores to have a chance at healing her legs need air, so don't cover her legs too soon without ensuring that her sores are starting to scar over, especially if she is diabetic and slow to heal. Make sure that her doctor offers you plenty of guidance on the symptom as well as the best way to allow her sores to heal. If she has several bowls within easy reach and lots of items she can sort through, like costume jewelry, etc., it may offer her something to "pick at," instead of her own skin.

Ask her to help you sort extra buttons, or coins, if she can safely do so without putting any of them in her mouth. Coin jars are a good sorting activity, even if she counts the coins incorrectly, at least she will be busy.''

Hope you are successful in re-directing her attention. I agree with the advice shared with you by the others who also responded to your message.

Wishing you a positive outcome.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

ooohhhh... I like the costume jewerly idea. Rocks.
thanks.

lovbob
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I once found that a lady who could not communicate was trying to put her head in the aquarium had a brain tumor. Sometimes you may need to consider that the picking action may be a sign of some pain or cramps that they can not express. Holding a stuffed animal or doll can sometimes give comfort if it is nervousness. My Grandmother had loved dogs but when she would get aggitated I would distract her by talking about the stuffed dog. We would pet it and then put it outside or in the other room. Just the distraction and tactile touching of the furry stuffed dog seemed to get her off the "issue" that she was stuck on.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

thanks for the suggestions. My mother also pulls out IVs and did that when in the hospital and during her herceptin IV drip. Very frustrating. She also does pick at her face - any body part will do. She is in pants but just pulls up the pant leg and goes to town. Bandaids and neosporin have been helping when she will leave it alone. Now I think she didn't take some of her meds this morning and stashed them in a kleenex somewhere which I will find later when we do her shower. Very frustrating. She walks with a walker because she broke her hip which is what started everything. She also has mild dementia. Talk about a triple whammy. I just can't win and some days I just want to walk away but I can't because financially we cannot put her in a home and she would not do well in a home - she had a breakdown in the hospital and at a week of rehab. oh boy.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

The only other thing I can think of is that my uncle was paralized and lived for many years in a hospital bed. My aunt was having to clean up the "snow" that came from his picking his depends to pieces. She had someone alter his clothing which was usually a top and bottom of sweat pants so that there was a soft velcro closure in the back that he could not reach. The top and bottoms were sewn together so that he could not get his hands "in" to pick apart the depends into tiny pieces he would throw everywhere from his bed. I imagine some kind of large loose sock sewn to the end of loose fitting cotton pants. You could cut soft pant legs out and leave the top pants part out. This allows depends to be changed without having to take off pants. Sew the loose socks into the pant legs like kid's pj's are sometimes. By cutting the top out of, say cotton/spandex pants, she could wear a gown and yet her legs would be covered, protected from picking, and warm. I guess gloves might help. Good luck and let me know what works.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Related
Questions