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Bumping this up, just in case someone has any comments or info to add.
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Realtime,
You wrote,
"My mother also taps constantly, usually when she's lying down. She has some other odd movements, also --- constantly rolling her eyes up, then down; rolling her lips in and out. She was diagnosed with tardive dyskinesia by her neurologist--- just an age-related phenomenon that she isn't even aware of, and there's nothing to be done about" in a previous post.

 I revived that thread, because, I have a similar issue with my LO, as described below. 

She's started patting/slapping the table, when she's at the table with her flat right hand. If she's not near a table, she'll pat the mattress on her bed. When she's lying in bed, she'll pat the wall next to her. Usually, she she does it 3 times. Then stops. Within a few minutes, she'll do it again. I think it's incessant, based on what I have seen.  (It's more like a slap, but, not very hard.)

I'm going to discuss it with her doctor. We have tried to remove almost all medications, so, she's not on much anymore. I've read that the tardive dyskinesia may resolve with alternating or reducing medication, but, that has already been done. She still takes something for anxiety/depression, but, it's not an anti- psychotic.  Not sure if that is what it is or not. She also constantly wheels around in her wheelchair. Just incessant movement. I've read that it can be caused by boredom, but, when you try to engage her in an activity or conversation, it's not possible. She is focused on the wheeling around and patting things. Somehow, the MC staff get her to sit still for her meals and treats and to get her manicures. (They perform on site.)  She does sit for that, probably because they are holding her hands. 
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Midkid, be glad he didn't.

It really worked! Great! But after a few months the RLS was coming back. After 6-8 months it was back...but far worse than ever before! Starting earlier in the day, and lasting longer...often till dawn. It was a nightmare at the end.
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My hubby has done this tapping thing for as long as I have known him. He taps his head or his leg. He is 66. He has RLS, and finally found that gabapentin helped that. The tapping is really when he is just super bored.

Ah--he was prescribed requip but wouldn't take it--I didn't know it had been taken off the market!! Gabapentin helps him the most.
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RLS. It can effect both legs, feet and arms, hands.

There is a form of RLS that is medication induced.

No one really knows what causes it, how to treat it. The only medication (requip) was withdrawn from the market years ago.
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My mother also taps constantly, usually when she's lying down. She has some other odd movements, also --- constantly rolling her eyes up, then down; rolling her lips in and out. She was diagnosed with tardive dyskinesia by her neurologist--- just an age-related phenomenon that she isn't even aware of, and there's nothing to be done about.
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My mom whistles
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I used to do preliminary evaluations in a hospital ER. There was a nursing home nearby that brought patients for ER treatment. There were many notes on charts about "hand swiping, fabric stroking and finger tapping habits". When my own mom started aging she did the finger tapping on the arm of her recliner. I asked why. She had severe hearing loss. She said that she was pretending to listen to music.
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I don't know, but I've seen similar behavior. I remember when my grandmother was in assisted living there was this really sweet lady who'd walk around the nursing home with a huge grin on her face, snapping her fingers, and making a rhythmic sound (ta ta ta dah). I don't mean sometimes...every single day, sun up to sun down. I couldn't help but smile when I saw her. She seriously looked so happy. I wonder if the brain gets caught in a sort of loop, causing such repetitive behavior.
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