Health > Elders with Dementia & Obsessive Compulsive Disorder are more Troubled – Know How & Why
11th Jul 2022
Dementia In Elders With OCD a Nightmare

Elders with Dementia & Obsessive Compulsive Disorder are more Troubled – Know How & Why

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterised by continuous, recurring thoughts (obsessions) as well as the utilisation of routines and behaviours (compulsive tendencies) that one feels the urge to repeat often. If OCD is extreme, these routines could disrupt a person’s daily activities and interactions. If a senior is concerned with viruses or filth, for instance, they may acquire a tendency to wash their hand again and again. Somebody who is paranoid about burglars may secure their door several times while retiring to bed.

The following are some examples of common compulsions among real-life people:

Washing ones hands excessively

  • Washing one’s hands excessively or repeatedly bathing

Cleaning or dusting in excess

  • Cleaning or dusting in excess and regularly

Checking doors, locks, appliances

  • Checking doors, locks, appliances, and light switches regularly

Organising and reorganising materials

  • Organising and reorganising materials in a certain, precise arrangement

For somebody with OCD, doing such procedures is not joyful, and it provides only temporary respite from the distress brought on by their intrusive thoughts at most. Obsessive-compulsive syndrome is typically thought to become a lifelong worry. However, symptoms in old age might be linked to the start of Alzheimer’s, Dementia or other types of cognitive illnesses.

Most OCD sufferers fit into one of the following groups:

  • Contamination is a concern for them. Compulsive cleaning or hand-washing behaviours are common in them.
  • People with this OCD regularly check objects they link with injury or risk (oven switched off, door secured, etc.).
  • Such doubters fear that something horrible will happen if everything isn’t flawless or done correctly, or they’ll be penalised.
  • Order and symmetry are obsessions for counters and arrangers. They might be afraid of specific numbers, colours, or configurations.

What is the Difference b/w Healthy & Obsessive – Compulsive Habits?

Normal people acquire routines, like double-checking to verify if the burner is turned off before leaving home, but routines are thoughtless and serve a specific mission (to ensure avoiding any fire-related incident in this case). Individuals with OCD, on the other hand, execute their routines repeatedly, even if it is painful and conflicts with their everyday lives. The goal of rituals is unconnected to the deed itself (it is to minimise anxiety caused by obsessions). People with OCD have a hard time controlling their compulsive behaviours.

Even though most individuals with OCD are aware that their behaviour pattern is pointless, it is likely that some with OCD are unaware that their behaviour is abnormal. Examining things frequently, arranging things (particularly in a specific order), changing things, and counting are all popular rituals.


Similarities b/w Obsessive – Compulsive Disorder & Dementia

No research has directly connected OCD with Dementia; however, there appear some similarities between the two disorders. Adults with Hypertension and neurodegenerative disorders, for instance, may have obsessive thinking and adopt ritualistic behaviour, which their caretakers find perplexing. In the early stages of the disease, several persons developing dementia-related behaviours may resemble the intense patterns common in OCD.

Generalised anxiety is prevalent as seniors with Alzheimer’s dementia develop an understanding of their environment and continue to operate at a “normal” level despite growing cognitive problems. Selective memory impairments may drive people to repeat particular behaviours similar to routines. For instance, the ritual of washing hands can go from twice daily to five times daily. Furthermore, the practice may become more frequent with time due to memory loss. A person may not even have a background of obsessive or repetitive activities, and he or she may develop signs of OCD later in life. In that case, it is critical to see a doctor very soon, as they might be exhibiting early signs of dementia.


Hoarding – A Condition that Affects Seniors Gravely

Another cognitive tendency strongly linked to anxiety and OCD is hoarding disorder, defined as the excessive gathering of objects and trouble parting with them. Hoarding frequently results in confined, unsafe, and unhygienic living circumstances, with only small routes weaving their way through mounds of debris.


Hoarders usually perceive their belongings to be crucial to their identities. Leaving or letting go of an item can cause a lot of worries, as well as a feeling of loss and sadness. Hoarding frequently displays the need for consolation due to the patient’s profound worries. And it worsens in case of dementia, as some will save stuff since they are afraid their recollections may be gone if they do not have material proof of the old days.

Hoarding gives most elders, with or without memory, a feeling of security, preparation, and control. Extreme stockpiling, on the other hand, significantly influences a human’s physical and psychological well-being, physical security, relationship, budgeting, and nearly every other element of life.


OCD Treatment & Conclusion

OCD is a mental illness that responds well to therapy. Because depression and uncertainty are now at the core of OCD, exposure-based counselling administered by a certified physician can help somebody with OCD grow desensitised to their concerns. Friends and relatives may not realise that OCD is non-consensual or that it has limited influence on routines and compulsive behaviours; therefore, group therapy can be beneficial. De-stigmatising mental diseases like OCD can assist friends and family in comprehending why some might engage in uncomfortable behaviour. This may lead to more support for such people to receive the essential assistance to cure their situation. If the patient has Dementia too, request their doctor to recommend therapy basis the same.



Is there a link between Dementia and selfishness?

Yes, memory loss is selfish; understanding this, equip yourself against its manipulating tendencies, learn from others who have gone before us, and utilise your newly formed intellect to pursue the struggle for a greater understanding and coping with dementia’s selfishness.


Is it possible for Dementia to lead to improper behaviour?

Dementia patients may change how they react to sexuality, they may be improper or violent, misidentify a person, or act sexually in public. There are strategies for dealing with difficult behaviour.


Is it beneficial for Dementia patients to colour?

Colouring’s repetitiveness might help ease agitation and hostility, which are frequent dementia signs. Colouring has been compared to mediation by some specialists because it helps you switch off,’ which may be highly beneficial for persons with Dementia.


Is it possible to detect Dementia via a brain scan?

MRI brain imaging, can detect Alzheimer’s and has been utilised as a part of a larger examination. A brain scan isn’t required for everyone, especially if testing and evaluations indicate dementia is a common condition.


Is it true that Dementia affects bowel movements?

Yes, Dementia can make it difficult for people to realise when they need to clear their bladder or intestines.


Do you speak the truth to Dementia patients?

It’s more likely to give your seniors anguish, uncertainty, and distress if you always tell them the truth, especially whether it’s about an emotive matter or something trivial.


What causes Dementia sufferers to be so agitated?

It might be an indication of dementia-related physical abnormalities in the brain. A person may get irritated rapidly due to a shift or a particular cause, including increasing loudness or being unable to perform a previously readily performed task.


What effects does Dementia have on a person?

Dementia impairs a person’s everyday life and activities by causing them to lose cognitive functions such as thinking, remembering, and reasoning.