I realize dementia can cause strange behavior. My husband, who has later stage Alzheimer's and is on hospice, has started to do the weirdest thing. He's gotten fixated on other things before, but now he's rubbing any type of material - for hours. For example, I'm caring for him at home and he's been restless at night recently and not sleeping well. He'll rub the quilt or the sheets on our king bed - or my pajamas - between his fingers for literally hours. If I try to pull the material away (like my pajamas so it doesn't keep me awake at night), he'll put the material in a death grip to hold on. He used to feel kleenex and toilet paper, and now he's doing it with other material. Has anyone else seen this - or have a clue as to what's going on?

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This isn't unusual at all. Some people will do that with a tissue. Others a piece of material. There's some comfort there, I expect. I'm breaking my own rule about comparing people with dementia to children when I say this, but small children often do the same thing. The main thing is that your husband is finding some comfort in this behavior and it isn't really harmful.

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I don't see anything wrong with comparing an adult with dementia to a small child, because they do regress and in many ways, go back to being very much like a small child. That's not to say they should be always treated like one, but I see nothing wrong with allowing him to comfort himself by rubbing a piece of fabric. Maybe get him one of those soft, plush blankets that feels like velvet? I'm sure it comforts him.
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It's the body's attempt to self-stimulate and keep the nerve endings communicating. Like a child with a favorite blanket, the tactile action of reassurance. Sort of what you feel when you pet the dog.
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