Would an anti-anxiety medicine help my husband with Alzheimer's?

Asked by

My 91 year old husband seems to be in Alzheimer's mid-to-late stage 6 , and seems incapable of taking interest in anything he formerly enjoyed. Even reading lasts only five minutes before he gives up. All he wants to do is be taken for rides in the car. I take him out at least once every day, but after ten minutes at home he has forgotten and is asking to go again. He is following me from room to room now, wanting to be with me and asking to go for a ride, saying things like "If I don't go out soon I'll go crazy!" He threatens to take himself driving (he has not yet missed the car key I've removed from his key ring), or walking (never mind that walking from one room to another exhausts him). Would it be advisable to talk to his doctor and ask if there is an anti-anxiety Rx that would help him relax and feel contented? I don't want him to become a sedated old person, but if there is something that might improve this situation it would help us both. I look forward to any and all comments — thank you!

Answers 1 to 5 of 5
NAN:

Bring something back after every walk. A bag of chips, a milkshake. Something that you can turn into a memory exercise and cut down his hounding. Activities such as a 300 pc puzzle might keep him from nipping at your heels all the time and also help reconnect with things that might be a wisp of a memory. The last resort should be an opioid. Still, consult with his doctor for drug-free tips on how to alleviate this situation and you can have some peace.
Top Answer
I don't know a lot about Alzheimers -- the dementia flavor at our house is LBD -- but I would think it highly appropriate to discuss these new behaviors with his doctor. There may or may not be something he can be given to reduce his agitation but it is worth asking.

I know that we do not want to drug our loved ones into a stupor. We also don't want them to suffer if there are ways to help them. It is a very difficult line we walk. Give it your best effort and do not beat yourself up if you can't always find the "right" answer.
I've been thinking about this. My heart goes out to you. Distraction would be ideal, such as Eddie's idea of a puzzle. But if his attention span for reading is 5 minutes and he doesn't seem interested in anything he formerly enjoyed, that may not be terribly realistic. Do you think he would enjoy books on tape, or is his attention span too short for that, also?

I wonder if it would be best to try to provide more rides in the car? Do you have children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren who could take him for rides often? If there are friends, church members, and neighbors who have said "let me know if I can help" then let them know that taking your hubby for a ride would be a big help.

Can you break up your own errands to make the most opportunities for rides? In the morning go to the bank drive-through. In the afternoon go to the durgstore. (Even if it would be more efficient to do them both together.) I don't know how long this particular obsession will last, but at least he is not asking to get on a plane or swim in the ocean. What he is asking for is actually feasible to give him. I fully realize that you cannot drive him around all your waking hours, but maybe you could arrange for at least some more car travel for him.

Do talk to his healthcare professionals.
Loved your post Jeanne! Good stuff.
Yes, Jeannegibbs is awesome. She helps in all areas. Hugs, Jeanne:)
Nanfran: is there a Alzheimer 's daycare near you, or a senior activity center? Maybe he could buddy up with one who is alert and needs a friend. This could take some pressure off you. Try everything. You'll be glad you did. My Mother is not walking or able to ask for anything now. She 's 94. All I can do is sit with her now, take her for walks in her wheelchair, and tell her I love her. She speaks, but it is disconnected. We tried everything to keep her occupied and engaged for 21/2 years. I recommend deep breathing and stepping back as you need for your own sanity. Whatever works. Bless you. Ed and JG, too:) hugs, Christina

Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support