need advice once again with alz. mom

mar_ciaJuly 7, 2005

You all are great and have helped me before. I have two new problems and am wondering if anyone else has gone through these and gotten answers. Mom has alz and is a care facility. She has gotten frail and has a hard time walking. She has fallen twice and she is supposed to use a walker or wheel chair. The problem is she can't remember to use the walker ...and it gets left places other than where she is sitting anyway. If we put her in a wheel chair, she just would still get up and walk to somewhere else. By law, they can't restrain her. The second problem is more off the wall. Mom has a sore place on her forehead that she keeps picking at. It has been going on for almost a yr and everyone is exasperated and has no answers. Anything like gloves she pulls off. She constantly takes off the bandaids and is always bleeding and bloody fingers. I made her some cotton mittens with ties for at night and they said she fought them until she pulled them off. I actually had to have it biopsied last week but thankfully there are no cancer cells. She just can't understand not to pick it. She thinks at this point that everyone is against her and always bothering her with bandaids etc and is gteting more and more unhappy. We are actually thinking about some sort of helmet that she cna't get off, but it is going to make her so agitated and mad. Any suggestions? The home where she lives told me something has to be done. Marcia

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The NH that had my mother would put her in a chair that had a tray like a child's high chair. The tray was snugged up against her so that she couldn't climb out. It worked well even though she was quite active. It was not really a "restraint" but it kept her down. Now for the sore spot, perhaps it needs to be removed or frozen off even though it's not cancerous. Is this a large well equiped NH? Does a dermatologist make regular visits?

    Bookmark   July 7, 2005 at 9:00AM
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PeeBee, Thanks so much for you answer. That type of chair might work and it is something I never thought of. As for the wound...there is nothing to remove. It started out as just a scrape, but she would pick the scab off etc and it has just continued. It is not really a nursing home. It is a home with three levels...independent, asst. living, and an alzheimers unit. There is a nurse for the whole building...based in the alz area. There are some docs and pt people who come in, but I don't know of a dermatologist. I took her to one, though, and they had no ideas of course abouthow to keep her from picking the wound.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2005 at 9:41AM
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Have you tried Liquid BandAids? It's a sterile solution that is simply put on top of a cut, small wound, etc., and it seals it. Lasts a few days, even through water. For people who get cuts on their fingers and have to use their hands for their daily work (e.g., musicians, computer users), it's a godsend because a regular bandaid does not stay on and it gets in the way.

Of course, it would depend on how large the scrape is.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2005 at 10:14AM
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Yes, we have tried liquid bandaid...didn't work. The picking has become such a habit...her hand just naturally goes to her forehead. She just kept picking until it would be bleeding again. They say when they check on her at night she is actually picking at it in her sleep. Now you see the problem, huh?!! Making us all crazy.
PeeBee.....was the chair a wheel chair or just another kind of chair? I need to look for something like that.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2005 at 12:41PM
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Gosh, this is a frustrating one! AD pts can be so obsessive/ hard to break that....I'm just wondering if they can somehow try to replace that habit with another one...maybe put something in her hand, although I don't know what...I'll keep thinking about this...maybe be able to come up with something...good luck, Mimi

    Bookmark   July 7, 2005 at 12:48PM
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Are her fingernails kept trimmed as short as possible ?

    Bookmark   July 7, 2005 at 12:52PM
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Marcia, I think it had wheels on it so that it could be easily pushed, but I don't think it had the self propelled type wheels. I was wondering about putting latex surgical gloves on her hands. They would be snug enough that she might have problems with taking them off and they might keep her from digging so much. It's just a thought.Maybe they would have a pair at the home that would be small enough to fit snuggly.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2005 at 1:11PM
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How I can relate with you as my Mother had the falls until now she can no longer walk. She still attempts to get up from her wheelchair, so recently her doctor did give an order for her caregiver. What it amounts to is a foam restraint attached at front of her waist to rear of wheelchair, used at 15 minute intervals. This allows the caregiver to feed one lady in her room & not worry so much about Mom being alone in her room. At first I thought it sounded awful, but is working out for all. Even my Mom seems accepting of it. She is very frail, weighs about 85lbs now due to not eating much. We do our drop-in visits, so feel comfortable with this method of helping Mom from falling. This particular caregiver is such a wonderful woman working out of her home. There was an adjustment period for us all, but has become pretty smooth.

The best to you, my dear.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2005 at 2:24PM
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Hi Marcia... My mother's geriatric chair came with a tray. It has wheels, but someone must push from behind. Hope it works for your mother.

As for picking her forehead... That's quite a dilemna... Any time I'm faced with something too big for me I cry out to God for help. He is merciful and able to set her free from this habit... May He bless and help you and your precious mother. ~abreeze

    Bookmark   July 7, 2005 at 2:48PM
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Thanks everyone...I am reading and rereading your helpful suggestions. Yes, they keep her nails trimmed pretty close. They have tried surgical gloves. They actually taped them around the top. She pulled at them until all that was left was the top part with the tape. I am looking for some soft cotton gloves...even thinking of sewing them to the end of long sleeves. Probably drive her nuts. My husband suggests a motorcycle helmet or hockey mask !! yikes

    Bookmark   July 7, 2005 at 3:34PM
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Actually sew the gloves right to her long sleeved shirt...Or maybe loose mitts. Or maybe paint the liquid bandaid over a larger spot so that she is picking only bandaid, and then reapply in a couple of hours. Then maybe the sore could heal up. I don't know where you can buy a case of liquid bandaid tho, LOL

    Bookmark   July 7, 2005 at 10:52PM
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HI...about the wheelchair...PT can fit a tray onto her regular wheelchair.It is commonly done in rehab facilities for people with a paralyzed or paretic arm. It would keep her in and not require a new chair, if hers is a good fit. You would probably need a PT consult from her MD for wheelchair fitting. I had a foam vest for my mother to help her maintain an upright posture in the chair...that would also work and be permissable, depending on how the order is stated. However, she may be able to squirm out of it. We had the "case of the missing cane and walker" for a couple of years.It was amazing to see how well she could walk in search of the cane!!!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2005 at 1:04AM
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Well, I asked at the senior home about a chair with a table and they said they can't have it. They said it is considered a restraint and by law they can't. They did say that if they were a nursing home they could...they are technically not a nursing home. The nurse told me that there are a lot of things they aren't allowed to do there. So, I am afraid my mom will just fall again and break something and then she will have to go to a nursing home and the nursing homes around this area (western Pa. ) are the pitts. Thanks for all your suggestions and I am sure you will hear cries of "help" from me again sometime. I did find some of that tape that sticks to itself and it is very sticky and hard to get off...that is the next thing we are going to try...putting that on all of her fingers. I will keep you posted. Marcia

    Bookmark   July 9, 2005 at 11:19AM
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Sounds as if you need to make the best of what may be an unavoidable decision. Look around and choose the best of those Nursing Homes. Put her on a waiting list so that if you have to move her, you will be ready to do it. You are right, if she falls, and she probably will, it will be a NH of your choice.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2005 at 1:09PM
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Marcia, where are you in western PA?? i'm between Erie and Pittsburgh!DianePA

    Bookmark   July 9, 2005 at 10:14PM
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And I'm south of Pittsburgh! :) ~breezy

    Bookmark   July 10, 2005 at 8:53AM
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Hi neighbors !! I am actually southeast of Pitts. in the Irwin area. Well, yesterday, Mom was in a pretty good mood and still picking though, so I put some of that tape around all ten fingers...I talked nice while I was doing it and told her we were just going to try something new. She was okay until I got them all on and then she got extrememly agitated....she kept saying things like "I can't pull these off" and "that was a dirty trick" then she began swearing (my sweet Christian mom) and crying and begging me to take them off. I calmly explained that they didn't hurt etc. ...she continued somehow pulling at them until about 10 min. later Houdini had them all off and was laughing about it. I give up. If she could just understand.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2005 at 2:41PM
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Hi Marcia... I'm about 40 minutes from the Irwin area! :) I've shared your mother's need with my family, and we're praying for her to be set free from this behavior. May God bless you both... ~breezy

    Bookmark   July 12, 2005 at 9:45AM
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I might have a fix for the sore on her forehead...


this sounds horrible, but the highest content are found in personal lubricants used for non-standard activities, and come with names like anal-eze (in my opinion, if you need a painkiller to do it, you shouldn't BE doing it...but that's just me ;)

she'll be less likely to pick at it if she can't FEEL it, and it should only take a week or so to heal on its own, once it's left alone.

getting her someting to figit with might also help- my grandmom used to braid one of my doll's hair over and over again after she couldn't do regular things (7 strokes in 3 years left her unable to do much)

    Bookmark   July 19, 2005 at 10:40AM
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Chinacat, you are so sweet to still be thinking of this. Believe it or not, part of the problem I think is that she CANT feel it. She had a severe facial nerve pain problem earlier in her life and back then the only way to get relief was to severe the facial nerve on one she has no feeling on one side of her face. So, it is an open wound that she keeps picking at and it bleeds and looks so sore to everyone else, but she feels no pain, so continues to pick. The dr. started her on a very mild dose of zyprexa. It caused problems during the day...and it actually caused a fall and trip to the emergency room so they only give it at night. I read up and the side effects are scary and I don't like more and more drugs.......but they say she is a little more mellow and doesn't fight the bandaids etc. She seems to be picking a little less so we will see how it goes. One thing she can do is roll up a ball of yarn so she does that here at my house...but they don't give her the yarn where she lives I dont' think. They have a tendancy to sit them in front of the TV if there are no activities...which in my opinion is the worst. But, this home is way nicer than any other around so I try to be agreeable and appreciative.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2005 at 11:20AM
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