Why do people with Alzheimer's rummage and what activities can help curb this behavior?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 24, 2016
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Why do people with Alzheimer's rummage and what activities can help curb this behavior?


Expert Answers

Monica is an occupational therapist and designer of adapted dementia products through her company MindStart. Activities for Persons With Memory Loss. In addition, she works with the Minnesota-North Dakota Alzheimer's Association and the University of Minnesota on dementia issues. MindStart provides age-appropriate and stage-appropriate dementia activities, such as games, puzzles, and books. The items are simplified to meet the needs of various stages of dementia while remaining dignified and familiar in appearance

Alzheimer's and rummaging is often seen. There could be a few reasons for this. First, the person may have started to look for something, then forgot what they were looking for. They may continue look, hoping to trigger what it was they were looking for. Second, they may have an old memory being triggered that they feel they should act on. For instance, a former teacher looking for her "books". Last, it could be someone who has extra energy that has no other direction, so it is displayed in going from room to room, looking through different things. In all of these case, re-directing the person to a concrete, one or 2 step activity that is already set-up and with cues, as needed, can help to reduce rummaging. For instance, doing a simple puzzle or looking at a picture book together. You might also create a "safe" rummage area, maybe a dresser or desk where it is okay to look through, with you putting it back together when they are done.