Honestly, it's not for me...

carrie630October 8, 2010

But, hey - does that matter? No - but the reason I started the thread is because I am going to have a hard time describing my mother's condition. She is in another state, but we talk frequently.

She is extremely nervous. She is getting worse and I want her to start to take some kind of medication on a daily basis. I know her doctor will agree - anyone who meets her can tell she is irritable, constantly agitated, has no hobbies, taking care of an 89 year old husband with dementia (not my Dad), etc. etc. Again, she's always been that way, but way worse now. I don't hear "depression" I hear more annoyance, irritability, rudeness. She does not have dementia but being forgetful is also beginning to show.

Problem is I am worried about side effects and after reading up on Paxil, Prestiq, etc. etc. I wonder which is worse, the personality problem and nervousness or the pill side effects.

Has anyone had experience with anti-anxiety pills with good results - and I know everyone is going to react different to pills, but generally speaking - what IS out there that can be considered "safe", especially at 83... Thanks

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Unfortunately finding a medication for her condition can only be done by her doctor by trial and error. Her doctor will give her what she/he deems best for her, it may or may not be the best, she may have to try a few before she finds something that works for her.

I would rely on her doctor's opinion, there are so many meds out there that I would let him/her decide what to try first (and hopefully last!).

Best of luck, I am sure there is something out there.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2010 at 6:44AM
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Thanks, michelle - This is scary to me because of side effects and I don't live near at all (9 hours drive) and the trial and error of what works and what doesn't just scares the heck out of me.

thanks, again

    Bookmark   October 9, 2010 at 9:05AM
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Your description of her life is what is causing her irritability and aggitation and I don't know if any medication will help. Forgetfulness is the first sign of dementia and not having others to talk to and keep your mind active speeds it up. Unless you want to deal with her dementia I suggest you do something to get her active--If you don't use it you lose it--an old addage but true when it comes to the brain and dementia.

If I had no hobbies and my day was filled with only taking care of a dementia patient and watching myself get older, I'd be that way too.

Contact the Alsymers society and see if there is any help available in her area to help with her husband. Then see what activities are available for seniors. Is there a seniors center or golden age club there. If she could get out and away from that situation for a day each week maybe things would improve. Drag her there if you have to. It would be the best thing you could do for her. She would have other people to talk to and if it's like the ones I've seen there are lots of activities too.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2010 at 12:06PM
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oilpainter - OMG - you gave me the best (and obvious) advice!

Thanks so much

She's never had hobbies. That is going to be hard so I need to find something she can do (besides cleaning the house) to get her mind stimulated. She would never do crossword puzzles, I've tried to explain to her how much fun it is to grow lettuce, herbs in pots (so she can pick and cook) - she said "no time"... so she's a bit impossible to convince to do even the slightest things.

I've suggested sitting down to watch good black and white movies as a sort of interest - or any movies for that matter - it's entertaining and relaxing - but she can't sit still.

Drag her? I'm 9 hours away - so on the phone is where I have to give the encouragement.

I have lots of thinking and work ahead of me to get her out of her own funk


    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 7:25AM
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Phone the golden age club and see if any neighbors or friends belong to it. Ones that could talk her into going.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 8:06AM
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Great idea - will do my best with a very stubborn lady...


    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 8:47AM
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First of all, she needs to have help coming in to help with your father. His dr. should be able to write a script for home health aids, so that Medicaid will pay for all or part of the cost. Even if they don't pick it up, it's not that expensive to have someone in a few hours a week.

At your mother's age, there's little likelyhood that you're going to be able to change her lifestyle and get her to take up some hobbies. You need to undertand that, and stop batting your head against a wall in that regard. You say your mother doesn't have dementia--I wouldn't be so sure. At her age, more people have it than don't. Some mildly, some more severe. And in the early stages, many are very, very adept at hiding it. Especially if they feel obligated to care for someone else, and feel no one else can do the job they're doing.

Nine hours is way too far away for you to be able to care for things. No matter what the situation with your parents is, today is the BEST it's ever going to be. I've been there, of course, taking care of both my elderly mother and a single aunt. We all hope things will get better for them--but chances are, that's not very realistic.

Before you even attempt to have meds prescribed for your mother, you need to look into first--what meds she's taking now, what the side effects are, and what the combinations can do to a person. Many older folks end up having issues BECAUSE of other meds they take, then their drs prescribe something else to treat that, etc etc. Some meds produce the kinds of symptoms you describe, as a matter of fact. If there's no medicine issue, the next thing you need have checked out is her health. Is she physically healthy? and/or is she having any emotional/mental/dementia issues.

Most importantly, though, you need to be closer to your parents if there's no family living near them. Either you need to have them move near you, or you have to find a way to move to their area. They ARE going to need more and more help in the next couple of years. You also need to understand (and be prepared to make your mom understand) that it's rarely possible to keep Alzheimer patients at home as they reach the end of their journey. It's NOT SAFE for your mother. Many A. patients become very violent, even toward the people they love--because they are so confused that they see them as dangerous strangers. One older woman my husband knows had promised her husband to care for him. She awoke one night, with him beating her mercilessly with a flashlight. My husband saw her a week later and she was in terrible shape, and had to have her husband admitted to a facility where they were better able to care for him.

Even if your father doesn't become a danger to your mother, it's NOT possible for one person (and elderly one at that) to be on call 24/7 to care for an Alzheimer's patient. They often get up in the middle of the night and wander, they need more and more help doing simple life tasks, they become more and more confused, and it's heartbreaking to watch.

Your mother has enough on her plate. Don't consider trying to add mind-altering drugs to her burden. I'm certain, if you find ways to help her, and lighten the heavy burden she's shouldering, her outlook on life will get much, much better.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2010 at 9:15PM
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azzalea - your post was totally, totally on spot! I've tried my hardest to get them moved here - and i am going in a couple of weeks to try and explain to them again - she's a stubborn Italian - that's all I can say!

I can't move there - I am married and my husband has his own business where we are. It is impossible for us to sell our house and relocate. If we were retired, it would be no problem.

Your post, while so right, scares me into really trying to figure out how to move them. A friend said that he could be transported "ambulette", but it's my stubborn mother who refuses to leave her house. It's a dilemma and she has ALWAYS been stubborn.

Thanks, again -


    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 7:18AM
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