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Mom would wash her hands for ages if I wasn't there. Same with brushing her teeth and rinsing her mouth.

Another thing. She always wants to leave some of her food or she asks if we want some even though we have our own food. Today she wrapped half her sandwich in a napkin. Told her we don't keep leftovers, she had to eat it. She always says, I thought someone else would like it.

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FF I was told as a child about the starving children in Africa. I said to my mom lets mail the meatloaf to Africa. Boy did I get slapped in the face for that 🙄

If anything is given to my mom and someone puts it on moms nightstand or wherever that's where she wants it.

When I was a CNA in LTC I had a resident when she got ready for bed, she wanted her bra under her pillow. That made her happy. We learned what the residents liked and everyone was happy.
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Debaron, the repetitiveness nearly drive us nuts, but it turned out to be a phase. Barely does it at all anymore.

As far as the OCD goes, I rather imagine that's her brain trying to hold on to that last bit of control. I would have been thrilled for Mom to wash at all. Every bathroom break was a battle.
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Keep, the CNAs should understand OCD in a Dementia patients if they work in a nursing home.

Debaron, I never tell Mom she has an appt until we r ready to walk out the door. Same with guests. If I tell her ahead, she wakes up all night long thinking its time.
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Just moved back to my hometown from another state in order to care for my mother, who was diagnosed with Dementia three years ago. (yes, I know, I should have moved home sooner) The repetition of conversations and/or instructions blows my mind. If I tell her she has a doctor's appointment on a certain date, we have to look at the calendar, write it on the calendar, and then discuss it ten to 15 times in an hour - "when is my doctor's appointment" "what time" "why am I going". I'm new to this, having only moved back home three weeks ago. I am praying for and learning patience, as I realize it is not good to let her know I'm frustrated - and very concerned. She can remember everything from her childhood and mine, but can't remember what was told to her two minutes ago. I know this is normal for a dementia patient - but today the repetiveness was so bad I actually wondered if I was going to be able to do this. Anyone else ever feel that way?
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My Mom is in a nursing home and completely bed ridden. She has mild dementia, but boy does she have OCD. She's obsessed with having the items on her tray in a precise order. And they must be aligned perfectly. When an aide or I moves the tray out of the way she becomes furious if we knock the items even slightly. She'll take everything off the tray and furiously arrange them again. Everything in her room has to be aligned just so. She'll ask us to move some thing and of course we move it too much. I must move things back and forth 10 times before she's satisfied and to my eyes it's in the same place it was when she started.

I have a hard time explaining the OCD to the aides. They don't get it. I try and tell them to just go with the flow. But some times she's nasty, calling them stupid when they can't figure out what she wants.

The woes of dementia.
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Gosh, I've been leaving food on my plate since I was a kid.... even dining out, I come home with a doggy-bag for myself. Now that I am pushing 70 and not having the energy I use to, I find myself even eating much less. There are always left-overs in our refrigerator.... like cold pizza, and cold Popeye's chicken :)

Saving food for a "rainy day" I wouldn't consider to be OCD, more likely not wanting to waste food. I remember my Mom telling me to finish what was on my plate because "there were starving children in China". That never made any sense to me, thus I wanted to send my left over food to China :)

Now the constant hand washing, teeth brushing and rinsing, that would be OCD. It depends on how often Mom does that. If it is twice more then normal, I wouldn't worry about it. Many grown children can't even get their elderly parent to wash up and brush their teeth.
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Thanks everyone for inputs.
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Yes JoAnn, practically everything has become an OCD process for my mother. Wiping the counter, playing with her food (dividing, sorting, positioning food on plate), kitchen routines, its mind-boggling to watch but it is due to certain areas of the brain being affected, very strange behavior and she is on Donepezil and Namenda. She has also developed the giggles since starting Namenda... no doubt they included some mood elevators in that drug because everything is funny now
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They keep old routines, and they function longer because the brain can no longer remember new instructions. Or maybe it gives them a sense of control in an increasingly confusing World of Dementia. IMHO
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Oh dear, JoAnn, my mom does it too. She saves little morsels for me.
I asked her if she ate the special blueberry muffin I left for her breakfast
and she said no, she was waiting for me to share it with her.
She hides cans of soup in her bedroom.
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Mom eats light. Usually cereal and toast at breakfast, soup or sandwich at lunch. I understand they don't eat much and I don't give her much. The problem is she is saving it for someone else. She seems to think she needs to share her food. When u say no we have our own, she eats it. Happens more when I cut something in half. Saving leftovers depends on if it is something that will keep.
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My mom can finish kid size meals, adult portions just get taken home only to be tossed out much later
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With my loved one, the OCD occurred in certain stages. Now that she has severe dementia, she doesn't obsess as much. She isn't as aware of what's going on, so she doesn't concern herself with it. But, previously, she was very OCD. She was obsessed with her cat and could not bare to allow the cat out of her sight. She was terrified the cat would escape from the house through a crack the size of a pea. She would also cut her trash into small pieces and put it into plastic zip lock bags before putting it into the trash. As she progressed, all of that faded away through.
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Rainmom, I just stopped to think. I only eat a half sandwich now. I'm 64 and a whole sandwich is too much for me.
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When my mother lived in IL a dining room allowance was included as part of the rent. This place had a very nice dining room that was also a restaurant that was open to the public - the food was very good, wide selection along with daily specials. Anyhow - without fail everytime my mother ate there she ended up bringing half her meal back to her apartment in a to-go container. It wasn't a budget thing - mom never ended up using her full monthly allowance. It was strictly a matter of just not being able to eat that much food. When my dad was alive and he had a full time caregiver she would make lunches and dinners that often consisted of half a sandwich, about 4oz of yougurt and roughly eight grapes - it was all daddy wanted and all he could eat. I was alarmed at first but came to realize that he and my mom just didn't need large quantities at meals anymore. As for this being OCD on behalf of the mom here - I just don't see it. But I do agree that obsessive hand washing and teeth brushing might qualify. But I gotta say, as OCD behaviors in the elderly goes - these seem the lesser of the evils. I wish I could get my mother to brush her teeth more often!
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Brains that have dementia are broken, often in ways that are beyond our understanding.

With regard to eating, please understand that elders often eat small portions and do just fine in terms of maintaining their weight. Don't force her to eat a whole sandwich if it doesn't suit her. Jessie is right, if it's not hurting her, don't try not to let it bother you.

I don't know a single person over the age of 80 who doesn't take home a roll or a piece of bread from restaurants, senior centers and buffets. It's a generational thing.
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Pick your battles.
Non threatening little habits mean something to them AT THE MOMENT. Will be forgotten.
Out of sight, out of mind.
I am learning!!! !!! !!! !!!
:^)
M88
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You don't keep leftovers? Even for a poor dear who is confused and just wants to save her half sandwich to enjoy later? What harm would there be in putting it in the fridge for her, and throwing it out later if she doesn't eat it?

And what do you mean she had to eat it? Are you controlling the portions she has to eat? Do you mean eat it now or we'll throw it away? Or that she has to eat it now?

I like Jessie's approach. If it isn't harmful, don't make a fuss about it.
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many conditions can cause overeating to be uncomfortable . ive never heard of someone who dosnt keep or reuse leftovers . that is the act that smacks of ocd to me .
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JoAnn, I think obsessions and compulsions go with dementia for a lot of people. My mother has some really strange obsessions and does the most strange things. She thinks the house is jacked up on stilts and air is coming through the cracks, so she covers her bedroom floor with blankets. I pick them up. She puts them down. I've given up trying to get her to stop.

When she gets something in her mind, it is stuck.

When she eats, she always leaves a couple of bites of food on her plate. When we go to a restaurant she always gets a bread, then wraps it up to bring home to enjoy later. I always throw it in the garbage in a couple of days. The behaviors are always the same, but I can't get her to change them. Most of them are not harmful, though, so I don't worry. The blankets on the floor is the main one that bothers me.
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