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Friday, 27 January 2017

People with dementia WILL move your stuff around

Have you ever walked into a room and wondered why your there? Were you coming in or just going out?

I do this regularly, often half way up the stairs I stop and wonder to myself was I going up or coming back down!  Or on the other side, I often put things down and find them moved in in a different place.

I’m in the unfortunate position where I will one day have full dementia and I’m almost prepared having looked after family with Dementia.

What I have learnt and I want to share with you - People with dementia WILL move your stuff around.

…and that’s okay, because it’s really normal.

This is a hard thing for a lot of caregivers, including ones who work in senior living communities. 

You often hear in homes we work with that things have been moved, from the interactive library or from the activities centres (for those homes which offer such simple opportunities).  Staff often complain “But the residents move things!” they’ll say. “They put them in their rooms and then we have to go get them.”
My response is always the same: “So what?”

The point of these interactive points is for residents to do just that: take items that interest them, and move them around. Is it a little annoying when things go missing? Yes, of course it is. But, that’s the point: residents should be able to interact with their environment.

I have also had family caregivers complain of the same thing with their loved ones at home. “My dad takes all of the socks out of his drawer, and then he puts them in the kitchen,” one woman said to me. “How do I get him to stop doing that?”

While that is an annoying thing (having to go collect socks every day) it is not really that bad of a behaviour. Her father probably thought he was being helpful!

Dementia is a group of brain diseases—it changes the way that the person interacts with and understands the world. For one reason or another, moving socks from the drawer to the kitchen made sense to this man.

What, I also found with my relative was the incessant need to move the spoons.  Every spoon in the house was always moved to the airing cupboard, why! I don’t have the answer, but in the grand scheme this was far from being classed as an irritant.  It was “normal” in our house and we just accepted it.

So remember, no matter how annoying it may be for you, it is perfectly normal and you will miss it when it stops.
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