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Tips to Manage Rummaging and Hiding by People with Alzheimer’s

These typical behaviors can be challenging for caregivers, but there are ways to deal with them.


This article is based on information provided by Home Instead Senior Care.

It is common for a person with Alzheimer’s disease to put things away in a “safe place” and then to forget where they are, or to search for items in a confused way. Keep in mind that these behaviors are not purposeful. They are symptoms of the disease. Your loved one may hide or hoard things in an effort to protect them, regardless of the significance of the objects. The items may even belong to someone else. Rummaging can be based on a sense of loss or boredom. 

There are several ways to alleviate these behaviors, however. Following these practical tips should help to make things easier for both you and your senior.

5 Ways to Cut Down on Lost Items

1. Keep your home office or closet locked when you’re not home. This will protect important documents and valuables from being reorganized and “put away.”

2. Let your family member keep a set of old keys, and tuck your own away somewhere safe. Rather than using a hook or shelf by the door, you could put your keys in the back of a lower drawer or shelf.

3. Go through cupboards and cabinets daily for that open jar of peanut butter or quart of milk.

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4. Regularly check the back of your loved one’s closet for inappropriate items hidden. You might be surprised to find your wallet, favorite pen, jewelry, or even a cup of urine.

5. Unplug all appliances that can pose a danger, such as a toaster, for when your loved one decides to place a spoon in one of the slots. 

Tips for Dealing with Hiding & Misplacing Behaviors

· Let your loved one hide insignificant things like a washcloth or pen, while you hide important items like your cellphone or checkbook.

· Keep your home as devoid of clutter as possible.

· Give your loved one a fake set of items to hide, such as an old remote or keys that don’t open the doors.

How to Avoid Losing Money

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· Accept that people with Alzheimer’s tend to hide money.

· Try to locate your loved one’s hiding places.

· Do not get into a confrontation about lost money.

· When you go to a restaurant, discreetly speak to the waiter/waitress and prepay the dinner by giving your credit card.

3 Tips to Help Prevent Hiding and Misplacing Things or Rummaging

· Losing things is frustrating, so set aside time to get organized.

· Plan out meaningful activities before each day to help avoid boredom.

· Help your loved one succeed in his or her environment.

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