5 Tips for Rummaging Behaviors in Dementia
Digging through boxes, cabinets, and closets, taking out assorted items from drawers, and searching repetitively through a number of items may be frustrating for the people providing care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, but in fact these actions are fulfilling a purpose. Rummaging behaviors in dementia can provide a degree of reassurance, along with the comfort of identifying familiar items and finding purpose and meaning.
The important thing then is not to discourage rummaging, which might lead to agitation, but to more effectively manage this behavior if it becomes disruptive.
How Can You Help Someone with Dementia with Rummaging Behaviors?
- Keep rummaging to a controlled area. Assemble bins of items the senior seems especially interested in, such as keys, paperwork, a billfold, tools, gardening equipment, sewing implements, sports memorabilia, etc. If the person starts to rummage in other locations, take out one of the containers and direct their attention there.
- Create an activity aimed at rummaging behaviors. Let the senior know you could really use his or her assistance with a particular activity that makes use of these behaviors, such as folding towels or socks, sorting nuts/bolts in a toolbox, or placing paperwork into folders.
- Find other stimulating tasks to help remedy boredom. Rummaging may be the reaction to feelings of restlessness, loneliness, or boredom. Experiment with a variety of activities you can easily recommend and do with the senior, including arts and crafts, puzzles, going on a walk, listening to music, etc.
- Keep valuables out of reach. Realizing that the person has the predisposition to rummage, see to it that any essential documents, pieces of jewelry, keys, credit cards, etc. are all kept safely away. It is also a wise idea to tuck away the mail when it is delivered, to be certain bills along with other items aren’t getting tossed or misplaced.
- Step up safety precautions. Now is a good time to evaluate how dangerous objects are stored in the house, such as sharp knives, cleaning products, even certain types of foods like raw meat that the individual may inadvertently mistake for another food product and ingest. Keep all items that could cause the senior injury in safe places, ideally locked away.
Hired Hands Homecare, the leading home care company in Santa Rosa, CA and the surrounding areas, can help with the professional in-home care services that offer companionship and engagement in creative, enjoyable, and fulfilling activities for anyone with Alzheimer’s, leading to fewer challenging behaviors. Call us at (866) 940-4343 for additional dementia care resources or to set up an in-home assessment to learn more about our services.