Rummaging through drawers or papers is one of many different repetitive behaviors some people with Alzheimer’s tend to show. This can be triggers by nervousness, boredom, anger, or vulnerability.
As a caregiver, here are some tips for you:
Appreciate that this curious system is a function of the disease that can’t simply be stopped.
See if you can identify what triggers the behavior.
Try not to dwell on the behavior and focus on the person more generally.
Redirect annoying or problematic rummaging to a less problematic alternative.
Create a dedicated box or drawer for this behavior.
Look for other ways to channel nervous energy into other activities involving the hands. For example, balling yarn, working with hand tools, or playing with worry beads.
Speak reassuringly and use positive body language.