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Mom is 85 and obsesses about many occasions and situations. My sister and I try to avoid giving her too much information ahead of time because she will go on and on about what, when and where? Is there a forum on line to help us deal with this behavior. She also cuts up papers, plastic soda bottles and re-arranges my refrigerator when she visits. She lives in the garage apartment on my sister and brother-in-law's property but when my sister goes out of town overnight Mom stays with me.

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I am 57..I have OCD for cleaning...There is medication..but it turns me into a zombie....I am a Maid..so all my clients homes are Better Homes and Gardens Ready all the time...From the floor Vents to the Rafters you cannot find a bit of dust..from the Sink Drains and stoppers to each fork, knife and spoon, lined up perfectly...every shoe shinned and in place...While at home..I am recovering till I go back to clean...I am frustrated at my own home!!!! It is not easy...You cannot always control it...With all obsessions..YOU CAN CHANGE THE OBSESSION if you want to..Give them a Something to do..depending on the age of the person...it has to be something they can be caught up in...a deck of cards and solitaire...A pen to write letters to a list of friends..any child's game like a memory game..or spider solitaire...tic tac toe...with a bean bag toss...if crafty get them started in the 1 store Velvet painting where they use a Pen to fill in the color......buy 2 or 3..and do one with them...and display the art...giving a color book and crayons and do a page in your own...MAKE memories...ask them to DATE the page.....they color..YOU would be surprised...bring out beauty..and creativity...the dollar tree has these small things without spending a mint...the OCD might kick in...and learn to paint or do art...THE ICON that you see on this page with name is a PAINTING I DID in OILS I did not even know I could do anything..this is just one of my painting....TRY IT 2 dollars one for the crayons..one for the color book...sometimes...we never get to be a child..till we are all grown up!!! what could it hurt...
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It is advised to baby proof your home/apartment, cabinet doors, drawers, with AD,
those OCD's are terrible.
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My mom acts like she has OCD--she 96 and has dementia and drove me nuts while she was still living with me. After I went to bed at night, she'd be up all night long rearranging everything in the house. I'd spend 30 to 45 minutes every day in the kitchen trying to find where she put things so I could begin cooking! What an aggravation. In my mom's case, I think she realizes that she has something wrong with her thinking processes and compensates by keeping physically busy. But, it disrupts the entire household. It's impossible to keep anything organized and in one location, as most people do, so you can get your work done efficiently.
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My mother never showed signs of OCD but since she's been in a NH the past year she's become a "picker". She's deteriorated terribly and had another stroke 3 months ago. When the NH had a bus trip to Walmart (before the stroke) I had to watch where I wheeled her between the rows and she'd keep picking and grabbing at things. Didn't want them, just picking. Visiting yesterday I noticed she kept running her fingers over her chin and picking - for chin hair or something imaginary? If I get close enough lately she picks at my clothes and goes down my pockets with no rhyme or reason.
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I agree OCD behavior was there already only nobody noticed it now that it is getting in the way, you get it...

Old people do not being shuffled around, why don't you stay by your mother when your sister goes out of town, it would be easier for both you and her.
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Maybe we need to stop obsessing over a parent's OCD. I believe we all have a tiny bit of OCD in us that isn't all that noticeable to the general public or even our friends.

My Dad [92] likes to cut out and save newspaper articles, and put them into notebooks depending on subject. I feel that keeps him busy and up-to-date with the world news.

In the past few years, my parents re-use table napkins over and over again, probably a throwback to the Great Depression. I find that gross but then again they are both in their 90's so apparently it isn't harmful.
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Mom is very elderly in her early ninties and become very forgetful. No dementia.
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I wouldn't say these are OCD traits as much as it is the generation she comes from which includes the Great Depression. Everyone had to save, save, save. Whatever she is thinking, her thinking must tell her to get things in order and don't waste stuff (especially food). What's so bad about rearranging a refrigerator. She can come to my house anytime. Mention it to her doctor on next visit, since you do not say whether she has a "dementia" diagnosis. Just love her for who she is right now. That's all any of us can do anyway...
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The last 2 years that Mom had lived me, Mom would
keep every piece of mail that arrived to our residence. I have spent time off and on since last August cleaning out Mom's closets and drawers and destroying junk that has magically appeared everyplace! I have reorganized photos and letters that Mom will not see again. I am now reorganizing Christmas and other cards by family and friends categories, deciding which ones are worth keeping or ones that may be destroy to clear out some of the clutter from our condo. PV
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My husband is going through the same thing with his 94 yr old father.and 92 yr old mother. One hates to say the word hoarder but considering their inability to clean out their stuff now, items just are piling up without their letting us help. The father did the cooking for the past 10 years (at least) and for breakfast they ate a half a banana and peanut butter toast, evenly sliced in rectangles. For lunch at 2:00, they had rice and beans. He has always been a controlling person. Demeaning to his family and is in denial of his current condition. Beekybird - this man has 20 days of rehab currently after taking a serious fall. Hopefully this center has a psycho/behaviorist as this could be beneficial. With OCD/Dementia has anyone ever heard of one becoming so angry that there is physical violence?
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Intensification of any OCD symptoms is VERY common in aging!
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Tyler2 - Totally agree with you. My mother looks around her apartment and says "I hate living like this," (wiht all the clutter she cannot throw away), but when I say I can help her and come over and we will organize and throw out things together, she says no. So I say I'm sorry Mom that you are a child of teh depression, but if you don't let me help you, I can't. Then I just go home. I'm not mad at her; I just can't help her.
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I think another factor involved in this can be the fact that our parents did not grow up in a "throw away" society so everything was saved and used until it could not be salvaged anymore. Even the plastic bags that are common to us were sturdy brown paper bags in our parents time. My mother won't throw out a safety pin even if it's bent and also has the piles of junk mail covering her kitchen table, floor, etc. I personally wish I would pick up some of her "neat and clean" impulses, but it hasn't happened yet:)
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MIL is OCD about her routine...she's 91 and have noticed her security seems to be grounded in her routine...she's almost blind but insists on reading her paper every morning...will sit at stare at it and doze on and off for hours...sometimes still on the front page. Gets very upset if the paper comes late...as long as she has her paper right after breakfast, she feels like everything is still ok.
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My 94 yr old mom has the OCD problem especially with regard to dates/events. Birthdays, doc appts, etc. She started going down that dark road at age 90. It got so bad we had to take away her calendar. She still asks for it but not with the gripping anxiety she used to suffer. The reason for this: her psycho/behaviorist comes to visit her in her memory care facility once a month, and his main job is to monitor her behavior and adjust her meds accordingly. Her meds are: lorazepam, citalopram, and 2 others for dementia. The first two have really helped to make her more relaxed and content, and that is all we could ever hope for.
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Just be as kind as you can.............Your turn is coming...!!! I am on my way too and I am learning....it is not easy....but I keep thinking..WHAT I PUT out into the world..will come back to me....SO I am trying...REALLY...I did not start out with this frame of MIND...I wanted to RUN FAR AWAY....but I am coping..learning..and hurting..as I watch my husband ...fade away..day by day..I was so angry...that this is happening..but It is better to have him in any capacity....than for him to be dead......I do not want to be left all alone..
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Oops ... Now that the dementia is progressing
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I also think that this OCD behavior was there before dementia but dementia intensifies it...

My MIL had OCD before she became ill, but it became worse when the illness got worse.. My Mom on the other hand has never had OCD but not that her dementia is progressing she shows signs of OCD...
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Recalling my own 90 year old mother's obsessive behaviors has helped me to monitor my own at age 68. My mother's diagnosis is dementia with Frontal/Temporal disintegration, so there are firm causes. I believe my "neat and clean" impulses are age related and involve being retired without enough outside focus. At this stage of life having things "just so" has become a fulfillment. And yes, I volunteer and belong to a Book Club.
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LittleBird you're a saint! :-)
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I'm pretty sure it is all part of the aging process. As long as your Mom isn't really hurting anyone, it might be best to just roll with it. If anything it is helping her keep in touch with normal things she used to do and if nothing more, gives her self something TO do. In a restaurant, my MIL refuses to put her coffee cup on the paper placemat because she doesn't want to get it dirty (???); she will fold her napkin very thickly and put her cup on that. Of course, not balanced properly it slops over and we have to have her area cleaned up. After a couple of times she stops. At first I'd get upset, then realized this was a 'cycle' she had to go through. I bless the wait staff, they see us coming and stand waiting for her to do this, help clean up and distract her with her meal so she doesn't do a repeat. We even time the coffee so she only upsets it once. Amazing how the mind works!
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*away any mail, sorry.
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My mom is 86 and obsesses over the thought of not reading something. Therefore, she cannot through any any mail, especially junk mail. The table is piled high and when the piles fall over, she puts them in a bag and starts a new pile. Hoarding of sorts. Then the bags pile up. It makes me crazy! But I can't stop the behavior. She recognizes it but does nothing to change. We've had many heated discussions over it but it's not worth it. When she dies or moves, I'll just throw it all away. Too bad I have to wait for that. She is also has OCD with bags, any kind of bags, paper, plastic, gift bags. She now has "bags of bags" in her only closet.
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I find that my father, age 93, has set himself up in a routine. I truly believe it's because he realizes that his memory is not what it was and by doing the sameon a daily basis, it helps him to feel that he's remembering. He takes many medications so he has legal pad after legal pad filled out with the name of the medication, the date and the time it was taken. I see myself doing little things repetitively that I didn't do before. I truly feel that it's a part of the aging process. He saves plastic bags from the store. They're piled on a kitchen chair. He says he uses them for his garbage, well, I'm sure he does, but does he need 100? It's not harming him or anyone else so I let it be. Sometimes you have to pick and choose your battles with them.
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I've wondered that as well. My Mom (85) is obsessed with order and cleanliness. Shes been reorganizing my refrigerator and pantry since I moved out of her house. She's always been like that, but now things are exaggerated. And now that she can no longer do things for herself, I wonder if I should do them for her, or just tell her to live with it. For example, the bath mat must be placed with the tag down. If you do it wrong, it's now dirty and must be put in the laundry hamper. Or the toilet paper must be folded into six squares before its used. Lots of yelling screaming and crying when I refuse to do these things for her.

She's now in a nursing home and they do things though that would bother me as well. For example they put her shoes on the bed, or the toilet bowl brush on the sink. Yuck.

I think it has something to do with control and the lack of control that they now have in their lives.

I'm curious about what others will say.
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YES its as they lose the ability to look global at things so focus on the small nitty gritty. sometimes some happy pills help to smooth the really OTT states, Ive noted my Ma has improved, but she still packs up everything and rearranges the room at the rest home EVERY day..
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My mother shares a lot of these traits, OldestDaughter1. As you describe, information overload and obsessing about that is very typical but I sometimes wonder if that is a way of trying to hold on to information when so much is so easily forgotten? I also don't know if this behavior is attributable to the aging process or more an exaggeration of the person's lifelong tendency to some OCD....this is definitely the situation in my mother's case. "Things" always have to be/look "just so" and that always causes a problem with reminder notes that I try to leave visible on her table....she doesn't like the way the table looks so moves or puts them in a drawer and then has no idea where they went. As I write this it sounds like your mother's additional behavior of cutting up papers, plastic bottles, etc. and re-arranging your fridge are another form of just trying to keep some additional order in her life when she feels she is losing this. I'm not sure if I have any real answers for you other than to realize the behavior is unlikely to change but this is an excellent forum to vent and garner support for all that we collectively deal with. Good luck and hugs for support.
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