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Welcome to CareNotes. In this special section we will feature a reader's letter and provide an opportunity for an interactive exchange that will help find some answers and possible solutions to concerns. If you wish to respond to this letter, simple follow the link provided at the end of the letter and add your comments and thoughts to our CareNotes Board.

This Week's Carenote - 012308
Can I get some ideas on how to solve facial and head picking by my wife who has moderate to severe AD? Thank you.

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name: David Gillaspie
location: Oregon
Date: 23 Jan 2008


One caregiver's point of view: Remember #1 on the Caregivers Bill of Rights? First take care of yourself? See, this is about you. I'm taking a shot, but I'm guessing your wife's picking didn't start yesterday. You've probably seen it increase over time. It's a concern now. This is why it's about you. Sometimes the Care Recipient, CR is their own biggest problem. Sometimes it's us. For example: bought a lap dog puppy for my CR. Sleeps on CR's feet. Dog gets bigger, CR gets a pressure sore on his ankle. My bad. Back to you: has your wife taken any new meds that produce more activity? Is she more active any single part of the day? Mornings? Evenings? Does she show potential for poking an eye out? Do the clinical stuff. At home find something she can help you with that is hand-labor intensive like puzzles, or drawing. Something she can engage in. When she starts picking, take the project to her for help. It's a start. Hold hands together and try not making it feel like a trap, she'll know the difference. See if you can steer conversation to distract her from the pick. Best not to start that one with, "Honey, you're doing it again." Is this being manipulative? Sure. You see, caregiving is often lonely work, even with help just a phone call away. By our time and energies we do what the medical world can't do. Sure you can get your wife a prescription from your doctor and add another pill to the pile, then wonder if any new behavior is a side effect. Or you can talk about the good times in your relationship. You know, the past. While youíre holding hand. Review those times like a politician on the stump, as if you're selling those memories to the one person who shares them with you. Add a few elements and see if she catches you. Remember the first line in the CG Bill of Rights? Take care of yourself. You've heard the axiom of sports being all about fun? When you volunteer to coach a team you see the idea of fun in the full range of emotions. The unspoken truth is coaches are caregivers for sport, and the first line in the coach's Bill of Rights is "Have fun." Okay, I made that up, but caregivers having fun with their CR are taking better care of themselves and their CR. Sometimes you make something fun. It's up to you to find that fun.

name: Kaye
location: Texas
Date: 23 Jan 2008


Hello, Try putting gloves, mittens, or socks on your wife's hands. I don't know if she would keep them on. You may have to put medical tape on them to keep them on better. I hope that this helps. Blessings to you, Kaye

name: Jerie
Date: 23 Jan 2008


I would also like answers for my mother in law who has developed a compulsive behavior of head scratching to a point that she has scabs and can no longer get a perm as of last week. What is AD? She is having an EEG on Friday. After reading on the internet it seems that this kind of behavior might be linked to some kind of frontal brain lobe damage? Her doctor told us yesterday that after the EEG he wants her to see a neurologist and see if we can't find some solution to this compulsive scratching... They have ruled out side effects from meds. I've tried a "busy box" with manipulatives for several months, but she only takes something from it if I mention it. We've tried having her wear gloves (she gets a regular manicure to keep her nails short), but nothing works. She pulls the gloves off when my husband and I leave the room and puts them back on when we walk in. Jerie

name: Mary
location: TN
Date: 28 Jan 2008


You might try getting her to help you fold wash cloths. This is something my Mother always liked to do for me when I took care of her in our home. Now she is in a nursing center and can no longer feed herself. I've noticed if I place 3 or 4 wash cloths on her lap or on her bed she will spend hours folding them and taking her hand and smoothing them out. Also, since she always liked to sew, I will notice her taking her sheet or blanket and holding it up and then pleating it as if she was measuring and making a piece of clothing. So I try to have something like that to keep her busy. It has really taken he attention away from scratching her face, etc. Also, there's a catalog called Buck and Buck ( that carries all types of items for caregivers to order. It has an item that has zippers, buttons, snaps, etc. to help individuals keep entertained and also helps them keep their fingers limber while distracting from other things they might otherwise do. Hope some of this helps someone.



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