Is OCD a symptom of Alzheimer's? - AgingCare.com

Is OCD a symptom of Alzheimer's?

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My mom has been obsessing over her nails. She files them every day, several times, and buffs them for 20 minutes at a time. It is driving me crazy!!! When it's not her nails, she seems to find something else to obsess over. Her hair is thinning, and she's obsessing over that as well. We tried Rogaine and several different shampoos. The doctor said that it's not due to medication, checked her thyroid again, and thinks it just aging.

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OCD with repetitive behavior is not necessarily associated with dementia. It is a separate psychiatric disorder. Check the 2013 PDR. The Merck Manual does not address dementia either under OCD . Check with an MD, other than the one you have.. They'll probably want to examine her.
friendofnature: Isn't it a shame that your mother, now confined to a wheelchair,
does nothing for herself?.......a waste of her final years.
How 'bout magazines? Picture books?, sewing?, jewelry making? You didn't say how old she is. Hopefully, there's TV where she is.
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Mom has dementia and has gone through several series of repetitive behaviors. She used to file her fingernails into a sharp point! Don't know where she got that one, but it passed. Then she tied and retied her shoes constantly. It scared me when she did it in the car, leaning down while I was driving. She would constantly wipe her nose (yes it was dripping some). That drove me nuts when she did it all the time in the car - I'd have to hold my right hand by my eyes to block the sight of her doing that but still allow me to see to drive. At home, she'd pile up the partly used Kleenexes on the arm of her easy chair. She'd get a stack about 1" - 2" high. She'd let her dog out constantly, but I looked at that as beneficial since it was her only exercise. He seemed to enjoy the gig, too. None of these behaviors were harmful, just somewhat annoying.

So now she's in a memory care home and sits complacently in her wheel chair with her hands folded in her lap. I'm guessing that now she's stimulated without having to make her own activity.
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OCD can occur at any age. My son developed it at age six with compulsive hand washing. With treatment he has been able to function in adulthood. Repetition and memory loss appear to be pretty constant in AL although this is not my area of expertize.
My comment concerns the use of Ativan in the elderly. It is widely used for anxiety in hospice patients young and old. The dose is usually very small to start and gradually increased if the response is positive and more is needed . If the agitation increases which sometimes it does another medication is tried. Elderly people do tend to metabolize medications slower than the younger population so caution with dosage needs to be exercised. The worst effects of Ativan can lead to coma and death. Also with any new medication the drug interactions need to be checked before giving a dose this also includes herbal remedies too. On another track inserting a catheter is pretty pointless and in my view assault if the patient refuses. She will just pull it out anyway, this happens all the time. It must be remembered that no drug is 100% safe for 100% of the population but the risk is usually worth the result. Who wants to die in pain when medications are available even if in an addictive class. Some people require unbelievable amounts of narcotics at the end of life but hospice is not described as comfort care for nothing
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Thank you all for your insight. I really appreciate it!
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I'm not sure the specifics of the disease, all I can do is identify with you. My grandfather died of dementia and alzheimers and he demonstrated very repetitive behaviors for a few years before he died. I believe when people get older the things they worry and obsess about during their life become magnified as the mind goes and those things become more of a concern than ever. With my grandpa he had four outside doors on the house, ceiling fans and furnace issues, turning things off at night out of home protection. When the alzheimers and dementia set in, he would make the rounds at night locking and turning off, but he would do it 15 times before he was convinced it was safe to go to bed.
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Bags. Plastic grocery bags. I moved Dad out of his house and found bags and bags of bags with lots of bags.
Keys. I once had to Fed Ex him a key to his car. Now I found at least 10 duplicate keys to that car around the house.
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@hacken7902 I read your post about the trash obsession and had to chuckle. That was one of the ocd behaviors that my husband did. He couldn't even wait for the grandchildren to eat all of their fruit cups and sometimes dumped the remaining fruit out on the table so he could walk to the outside trash can. If there was "trash" in the car, he would throw it out the window. He did this to a book, a camera, bills to be mailed, a bill of sale for an ATV and a garage control. I would have to circle around to try to find it again, hopefully in one piece. He would meet the mail lady out by the mail box. He would then promptly put it all in the trash can. On Fridays, trash day, I had to be sure to race out to the curb to retrieve any important mail before it was gone forever. Several bills didn't get paid on time and a couple of pay checks had to be replaced when I didn't quite get out there in time. LOL
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Thank you all for your insight. It helps to know I'm not alone.
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My father who is in the end stages of Mixed/Vascular Dementia started repeating himself over five years ago. He talked constantly, but it was all repetitious. About three years ago he started with routines that he had to do continually. If you distracted him, he would become angry and agitated. Once you backed off, he would start his routine. He talks a lot, but doesn't comprehend anything anyone says to him. He is impossible to redirect. I think they get stuck in their own world. Maybe, it is comforting to them. They feel safe in their own routine so any disruption causes them anxiety. I am no doctor, but I think it is the way the disease effects different people and different parts of the brain. It is extremely difficult to be around for any length of time.
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My husband had Alzheimer's and he didn't do that and his aunt didn't. Could be her medication. Doctors over due on meds. That's a known fact
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