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.