My mom is in middle stages of Alzheimer's disease. When she awakes from sleep she is especially confused and cries bitterly.

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The crying lasts 30-60 minutes and she is particularly confused and upset that she doesn't know where she is ( in her winter home in Florida) or in Canada. It breaks our hearts and we really do not know what to do or say. Any suggestions, help, advice would be so appreciated. Are meds an option.....she already takes 75 mg of effexor in the AM. Thanks

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Sharirose, we used to worry about Daddy leaving the house because all the things you have mentioned can be lost. My med alert bracelet keeps breaking. I used to say I was going to have Daddy (I'm having a senior moment, those ID tags that are injected between the shoulder blades) like I did my dogs. Of course I was joking, but then again I wish it could be done. One idea we came up with was having a small ID tag engraved with needed info & put it on his shoes where he could not remove it. Unlace 1 side of the laces, put the tag down toward the toe & lace the shoe back up. I'm not saying he wouldn't be able to remove it, but it would take a while to get it off. You might want to considered 1 for each shoe so if he were to lose a shoe he would still have the other.
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Has anyone had extreme sundowners issues with pts. As a caregiver for my spouse with cognitive disorder, I explained at 1:00 that I had to go to the physician myself and would drive to the city and also shop a little. He was fine acted like he wanted to stay home and watch old TV shows. I was home by five it was beginning to become dark. We live in a rural area. He replied well I was getting worried that you were not home and I did not know where I was to go. Our daughter had called and checked on him one hour before that and explained I would be home soon. I have him wear a med ID bracelet. I have him carry a cell phone all time. I have an in home alarm system but did not set it that time because he was so lucid at 1:00 PM. Again after getting up from TV this evening at 9:00 PM he began saying he was not sure he could find where he was to go outside tonight. I explained you are going to bed, I am taking you there. It is only at sundown and dark that this occurs. Any hints for increased safety except forcing him to go with me everywhere.
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My mom, who passed away almost 3 months ago, was in mid level alzheimers. She too would wake up and be so confused and scared and anxious and wondering where everyone was, and if they weren't there "where did they go" and "why didn't they tell me they were going" .... all I could do to ease her was to tell her that I'll get in touch with them so we'll know exactly where they are, and isn't is great that she and I are together, and let's have breakfast.... and by the time we got our breakfast and talked together - she had forgotten about her fright and about wondering where the others were. The thing I learned best about being with alzheimers - is the vital importance of validating their fear, and living in their world, and not in the reality of mine. By best to you - it's a journey.
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Thanks everyone for your thoughtful comments.
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If its possible, try adding familiar photos and things like mom might remember from her past home to her room, an older bedspread, ect. My mom also took to crying at time for unknown reasons or her own reasons. I tried to use humor to help her out by telling her I was trying to figure it out also. We would usually end up laughing together until it passed. When she wanted to "go home", instead of telling her no, I would say "well, let me get this task finished" and she would wait. It would pass and we would both do much better than me trying to tell her no, or to tell her any other thing besides ok. hope this helps. mom was a regular "hit the door at 5pm and demand to go home" person! you could set the clock by her sundowning.
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Rusty, I have to tell you this... My mother watches a lot of "reality" type shows. My father has brain damage and also lives in the TV shows. One day Mama was watching Maury. All of a sudden Daddy got upset because he thought he was the father of all those women's babies. We too have to watch what is on the TV. But, sometimes you just have to laugh at some of what goes on.
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I wonder if it would help her to wake to soothing music. You could set a clock radio to go go off just before she wakes up. I think there are even some that start softly and gradually get louder to gently wake a person up. Hugs to you and her.
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I found showing my mom things that were in her room that were familure to her helped. We had moved and towards the end of her life she was more confused so by pointing out the ceder cabinet, my picture etc, helped her to know she was "home". also giving her a kiss on the forehead and telling her I loved her . Just sitting having a cup of tea or coffee with her also helped. As as they say routine is the most important with no confusion happening around them. If we had company she got confused and the t.v waas real to her so we had to be careful of what we watched when she was up. One day she had lunch with John boy Walton and supper with the Walton family. she told us granma was a hoot. Things like this werre very enjoyable to us and her.
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I have found a little music helps with those bouts of saddness. By playing some of her music or singing the same songs mom use to sing to me when I was little and had unpleasant dreams. Sometimes mom is even able to get a couple of lines out herself and in turn, I get the most beautiful smiles. I also have a DVD of FANTASIA (by Disney) that I used to calm our over-stimulated toddler that seems to work wonders for mom now.
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drsharyn - I have found that keeping surroundings consistent and routine seems to help my husband with dementia. I wonder if your mom moving twice each year (Florida in the winter & Canada in the summer) isn't a good idea any more. Just a thought . . .
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