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At 85, this is a learned behavior and you probably cannot force him unless you tie his hands behind his back. Is it picking inside his nose? Or is it just rubbing it because it itches? My 87 yr. old husband does the touching of his nose when he gets anxious with company or he is allergic to some irritant. Again, at 85 you may just have to turn away...
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How about giving him something else to do with his hands. Maybe a rummaging box or a stuffed animal? People tend to think of these things for women but men take to both as well.
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One can laugh hysterically, ignore it, or...do something constructive about it.
It can cause other medical problems, or it could indicate other medical problems.

Nasal and sinus passages get really dried out, irritated; secretions also turn into harder 'boogers' that PPL go rooting to pick out [young or old]--they start itching/tickling.

Some ointment or wetting Solutions:
==Borofax: Gma used this ointment; works great, really sticky, stays in place all night/day...but it has a peculiar smell of borax??
==Vaseline, plain: cheap, simple, safe, no smell, but will stain.
==Coconut oil, plain: water soluble, non-stain, safe if it accidentally gets in eyes, for instance--and it is slightly germicidal, so it actually can help decrease infections in those passages.
==Saline rinses: using a spray or Netti Pot, are safe, effective ways to cleans germs, reduce infections fast, and -temporarily- moisten those passages.

Some alternative Docs claim that nose-pickers are afflicted with some sort of parasites causing it; others claim it's yeast infections gone wild--most elders have plenty of that--and it can provoke nose-picking..

Mainstream Docs, and many people, have a hard time taking it seriously.
But if PPL keep digging in their irritated noses, it can cause bleeds.
Elders on anticoagulants, for instance, this can be pretty dramatic.
It can also cause them to catch more infections germs---more colds, flu, sinus infections...making more stench from post-nasal drip, and, it can also mean more Doc visits for infections, drugs to treat those, etc.
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Oh cattfish, I am so sorry for laughing. Have you ever looked at the man in the car next to you at a red light and observed this behavior? It is really gross to watch and worse to find the remains all over,
My mom has Parkinsons, I am her full time cg, live with her, and I'm thankful when she gets to the bathroom soon enough. She does do her own laundry, EVERY DAY, I just keep buying new underbritches and toss the old ones without her knowing. Choose your battles (or objections) wisely, just discourage that habit at the dinner table unless you want to go on a new type of diet.
Where does cattfish come from, I only remember Catfish Hunter.
Just think, he could start picking his butt instead, then you could tell him to watch sports on tv or go to Walmart.
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He doesn't know what he is doing. All you can do is tell him to stop. He will either stop or keep doing it. You just have to accept which ever he does. It's not worth constant conflict.
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You don't. Just ignore him or her. Might do it just to get you goat.
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The Vaseline idea is good in theory but watch out so it doesn't get all over everything (the furniture, the countertops, the fridge, etc.)

Can you do what we did with our kids when they were little and just knock his hand away when he begins? It's quick and effective.
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Oh, forgot to mention that it could be a sign of anxiety and yes, it should be addressed to the doctor.
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Word "behavior" does not suit dementia patients. Behavior is something people can control: "I will not take to to McDonald if you continue to do it" -- and we have a positive response! People with dementia have no control over their actions. They are not doing it to hurt our feelings, or get in trouble. They do not know they act not appropriate! So, as a caregivers we have to recognize it and learn now to IGNORE it. As long as it does not hurt them or others around.... picking nose is actually not as bad as many other habits I saw..:)
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The heat dries the air out. The secretions in his nose become dry as well. You may want to try a humidifier or if he can do it, saline rinses may help. A prescription like nasonex from ENT may help as well.
My mother in law picks her nail beds, and a growth on her head. It is a symptom of her Alzheimers. It is bothersome to us especially when she makes it bleed. She seems to do it less since we started her on celexa.
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Maybe it would be best to ignore it?

Don't know if he's anything like my Mom, a 95-year-old dementia patient. If she discovers, even from non-verbal signs, that I object to something she does, then it's for sure she will continue and probably turn it into performance art.

This was the case with rooting around in her nose with her dinner napkin and then using it to wipe her mouth. Guess I didn't do a good job of hiding how much this grossed me out. Now it's a regular, constant thing. Luckily she still can eat on her own so I don't have to be right there watching (yuck).

Before my sisters came to visit, I alerted them to this behavior and sure enough she did it in front of them too.

But the bottom line is to learn not to be upset by something you can't control. Good luck and God bless.
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He used to do it all his life.... but knew it's not accepted in society and it can't be done in public. Now this old man is loosing that sense of what it appropriate and what is not. Yes, it's his habit and you will not change habits he had all his life.
I had a lady who would clean her dentures at the dining table in the middle of the meal. Most residents "pass gas" any time they feel like... Old people come with many things we might find not appropriate. But there is nothing you can do to change it.
Just get over it!
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Something is irritating his nose. A checkup with an ENT might not be a bad idea. In the meantime, a Benzedrex inhaler will soothe; it has lavender and menthol. Make sure he has Kleenex available and some baby butt wipes to clean his hands or wash his hands.
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I do agree with Mike. He is getting older and going through changes and probably the best thing to do is just go with it and eventually he will stop or you will not recognize it anymore.

It is hard to take care of your father/ mother who all these years you have admired and has taken care of you. Now you still see him as an authority figure but have to treat him as a 10 yr old. What a major conflict in the brain it must be. Just try and remember the man who he was, but give him the attention he needs.
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My heart goes out to you. Really. There are so many things to be deeply troubled by when people start doing stuff like this as they get very old.

You could get him gloves or try to put a bunch of vaseline on his hands. They might discourage him (or backfire). But please be aware that these are "no harm, no foul" solutions. Whatever you do, don't put a substance that will burn or itch his nose on his fingertips. You don't want to get in a situation in which he's screaming in pain and you can't figure out how to get it out of his nose.

My suggestion is, though, is to let it go. I'm an RN. I expect you will get desensitized to this unpleasant, if not nauseating, behavior. And fighting this sort of habitual behavior is often a losing battle.

I want to give you credit for having the courage and common sense to ask about this sensitive, troubling issue. It's not the end of the world, but it sounds legitimately hard.
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If this question doesn't make you laugh you will cry. It is so sad that our lives revolve around nose picking. I thought I got past that when my girls turned 10.
My Dad hasn't started picking his nose but he does 18 other things that I used to get in big trouble for, slurping my food, sitting at the table with my head in my hands, being generally miserable, stomping my feet to get attention, saying mean things to others at the dinner table, then laughing when they get upset.
They used to yell at me and send me to my room. Now I wish someone would send me to my room. What a joy that would be!! My advise is to do your best to hand him a tissue and then ignore it. Worse things will come, don't sweat the small stuff or you will be crazy soon. Learn to laugh over things like this.
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