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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This is heartbreaking. Nearly all of us have had times when we've awoken from a dream with some momentary confusion. However, since we are cognitively rooted in reality, we quickly figure things out.
Your mom's reality has shifted. It's hard enough for her to understand her surroundings when she totally awake, so it's understandable that coming out of a dream could be very frightening to her.
Some medications make dreams more intense and "real" even for people without AD. I'd get in touch with her doctor so he or she can tell you if her medication may be causing this, or is there is a medication that could help prevent it. There may be a medication change indicated. If not, at least you can see what the doctor suggests.
Meanwhile, sitting with her and comforting her the best you can is important. Don't feel like you're not helping if your comfort doesn't allow her to snap right out of her distress. She still needs this.
I hope the doctor can help.
Thanks very much for your answer!!!
My mom takes aricept for her dementia, but yes what you are talking about is common, has happened to my mom and the best thing i have found is to hold her close and let her know i am here and no matter what i wiill always take care of her, the touch of a loved one and soothing voice seems to calm her, will keep you in my prayers.efferor is for depression so I would certainly talk to her doctor for a medicine used to treat alzheimers and dementia like aricept. God Bless
Your mom might benefit from an anti-anxiety medication, like Ativan or Lorazapam -- a small dose to help ease her anxiety and fears. When my dad didn't recognize our house (he built it himself), I suspect he was remembering his childhood home, or perhaps the first apartment he and my mother shared as a married couple.

I have found music can be very soothing -- old church songs or music from their childhood. Even humming can help calm people down when they are having an anxious moment. Alzheimer's and Dementia do often cause paranoia and fear -- talk to your doctor about anti-anxiety medication and see if you can find one thing that "grounds" your mom -- something that keeps her feeling safe.

I have one client who has a soft red jacket that she wears, zipped up, day and night because for some reason it represents security to her. Perhaps she had a red jacket as a child, and it makes her feel safe. See if you can find something that gives your mom that same sense of well being.
Mom's dementia is a bit more vascular in nature, but the same stuff. We left effexor because of a warfarin reaction. trying donepezil in addition to the clonazepam..and..(too many) but social interaction returns the social veneer. Getting mom to the Sr ctr or having her call old friends restores normality better than anything else I've found. From what I can tell, 'pros' are going to tell you to do this or that...I don't think much can be changed, you fight for inches when you need yards.
it is heartbreaking to see mam crying and upset, my mam dementia is vascular, but dad only died year and a half ago and she still has times when it hits her.Have you read contented dementia by oliver james, it really is a fantastic book and suggests we use special sense with our loved ones not always common sense. Its too much to go into detail but I would highly recommend this book I found it very inspirational, and certainly a lot of the advice given has helped so much in difficult situations
My Grandmother (not diagnosed with Alzheimers) would cry anytime of the day, not just when awaking from sleep. She would bow her head in her hand(s) and quietly cry. Heartbreaking and tough to watch. Sometimes during these episodes she would quietly talk to herself. While you couldn't always hear what she was saying, my impression was she was trying to calm herself or work things out in her head. IMO she was confused and didn't know what to do...feeling alone and helpless. So, I agree with others here who have said, let your mom know you are there...that someone is there. Talk with her...embrace her...let her know she is not alone.

I agree also that her medications should be re-evaluated. Meds maybe causing the confusion or could help relieve the confusion. Need to see if a different mix could help.

My thoughts are with you and wish you and your family the best.
My father had alzheimer's for over 8 years before he passed. He would many times get lost in the past, get upset for no reason, would leave the house and didn't know where he was. He didn't recognize us most of the time, but he had sane moments. One in particular I so remember, I was in the room, he was on the couch looking at the ceiling as he so often did. But all of the suddent I hear his voice and he tells me "Anita, you know I love you very much don't you?" As quick as he was sane and clear is as fast as he went back to his state of confusion and numbness to his surroundings. I tell you this because there's really nothing you can do but to be there and speak with her. Let her think whatever she wants to think and simply nod in agreement. It does no good to argue with her about whether she's right or wrong. She will forget more and more of who she is, who she was and unfortunately who you are. Please remember that you cannot teach an Alzheimer patient as their memory of everything they knew at one time will disappear. Unfortunately as days go by, she will even forget to eat or swallow or go to the bathroom. She may soil herself. I don't tell you this to sadden you, but to prepare you and to please ask that you simply be there. Unfortunately, there's nothing we can do and I don't know if any medication will help. Although today there might be something as my Dad passed away in '96. My heart goes out to you, this is certainly not an easy illness to deal with. My thoughts are with you and I hope I was able to shed some light and again I apologize for making it sound so grim.
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 . . .
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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