My Wife Has Vascular Dementia And Constantly Scratches An Area On Her Scalp Breaking Away An Area Of Hair. Is This Common To Dementia?:

Question

Asked by Brian Mann

My Wife Has Vascular Dementia And Constantly Scratches An Area On Her Scalp Breaking Away An Area Of Hair. Is This Common To Dementia?:

Answer

HI Mr Mann

I am sorry to hear your wife is focusing on her scalp and damaging her hair when she scratches it.

Skin picking is a comparatively common type of behaviour in people with various types of dementia. It is, as Carol says, important to get a accurate diagnosis to exclude skin conditions and diseases, side effects to any medication she may be on that can cause itching, and a number of other diseases that may contribute to skin picking.

Because people with dementia have increasing trouble expressing themselves and their needs it is important for caregivers to try to interpret the behavior. In that way it can often be stopped by redirect their attention to more satisfying passtime.

In studies caregivers report a number of causes for this type of behaviour. It is variously described as one that diminishes anxiety, as an attempt to gain, control, be involved in a meaningful activity, and as a means to gain social contact with others.

The behavior will change as her dementia progresses, but it is worth redirecting her to activities she enjoys and increase your interactions with her at these times.

I hope this is helpful

Alll my best wishes

Christine

Answered by Christine Kennard