My dad is beginning to panic in the evenings and seems worried, confused and scared. Has he jumped to a new phase of Alzheimer's Disease?

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Several times now my dad has had came to my room in a panic. Twice he was wondering where my mom was (she passed 3 years ago) and tonight he was worried that I wasnt staying the night and wanted to know who else was in the house. Okay, anybody have any thoughts on this. Have we jumped to a new phase????? It is just tooooo sad to see the look on his face and know that he is worried, confused, and scared.

Answers 1 to 10 of 11
That's an awful feeling to be afraid. Can he be calmed with a soothing voice, shoulder/head massage? I read somewhere, that bright lights can help calm someone who is afraid. Can he take a anti-anxiety med just before bedtime? I hope you find a good solution.
My Mom does not have Alz. but started having panic attacks in the started shortly after my Dad passed away. When she still lived in her home town, she would drive herself to the the ER thinking that she was having a heart attack. When she first moved near us she would call in the middle of the night saying that she was scared and could I come over and stay with her.
When I ask her what she is afraid of she really can't tell me. I think it is the fear of waking up in a dark room, feeling alone, or getting disoriented.
I had her drink warm milk before bedtime...that really seemed to help. I put soft night lights around the area where she sleeps...that is good for safety, too. If your father's doc. says it's okay, he could have a glass. Limit all caffeine intake well before bedtime. Keep him as active as possible during the day so he will get a good night's sleep. Other than an occasional OTC sleep aid, I would not want my Mom to use a Rx for sleep.
It is scary to see your parent in such a panic state.
It could be what is called Sundowners Syndrome which is a form of dementia. I know it sounds like something made up, but it isn't. My mom would be fine until around 4:00 or 5:00 p.m. It would get worse through the night. My mother-in-law is going through the same thing now. I'm not sure there is much that can be done about it. Sleeping pills may help, but make sure the doctor agrees before you give him anything.
My heart goes out to you.
Sundowner's syndrome.

You should go with him to his next appointment & speak with his MD on it. These are all symptoms of anxiety as well as dementia.

My mom is on Remeron - an old-school antianxiety & anti depression drug - it has been an immense help but it has to be taken every night for at least 2 -4 weeks to build up to see the effects. Sleeps better and has the plus of weight gain.

For sundowners you kinda have to do things to remind them subconsiously that night is night and day is day. What I did was to place torch style floor lamps with timers in her rooms. They went on at 5:00 PM/before dark and off at 10:00 PM and go on at 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM - so that if the weather is gloomy in the morning it still is "daylight" inside. I did this first on table lamps but she would go and mess with them. For whatever reason the torch style, she doesn't touch!

This is not going to get better but only start happening more & more for your dad. A set schedule is also important - if there is a TV program or set community activity he needs to get reminded about it with a calendar, big Post-It sign or alarm clock that goes off before the event. So he get's trained that it's something he needs to do. For my mom, the food network every afternoon was it. She would even set the kitchen timer when she went to lunch at the IL so it would ring for the 2:30 shows. I think alot of this was that she was familiar with what they were doing and saying - she's never asked to go to the store to get ingredients or anything like that. A friend of mine dad can sit through hrs of those home repair shows on HGTV.
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My mother who has A.D. also suffers from sundowners. Light and music seem to help her sometimes. On nice days we sit on the porch and look at family photo albums. When we cant go outside, keep lights on in each room (when she lets us). TV noises start bothering her in the evening so we switch to soothing music, and DANCE. I have been trying for the past 8 months to find something my mom will do for an activity. One thing I can get her to do is play solitaire (with me) on the computer. The best thing so far has been putting together a picture collage of my brothers and sisters and our families. She likes to go through all the names of her kids and their kids too. We worked at that for hours! Some days there is absolutely nothing you can do, but be there. Hugs and kisses and reassurance that she will never be alone seem to offer some comfort. Get creative, and if you find something else that helps your dad, please share your ideas here.
Is it possible for you to be more engaged with your dad in the evening? I find that Mom will often get the most agitated or anxious when she has been left in front of the TV. Not that my trying to converse with her or do something with her always works, but often it does. We look at family photos we've gotten printed; we look at videos on YouTube on my laptop computer (especially old Gospel groups or cutesy animal ones); we look at recent family photos folks have posted on Facebook; play very simple card games; watch Northern Exposure (that was a phase several months ago; then all of a sudden she didn't like it anymore). I'm ordering some Alzheimer's puzzles from Springbok, which has a special line of adult-looking puzzles with fewer, bigger pieces. Engage, engage, engage. That's my mantra.........And then some nights that doesn't work either (sigh). A friend told me that she was comforted by knowing that the anguish her loved one was experiencing was at least anguish just in that moment, that her loved one would not remember the anguish once the moment has passed. Usually, such anguishing moments will last no more than an hour or 2. (though that hour or 2 will seem substantially longer). Take care.
It seems that things they like to do in past is best even if it's all pretend.
For those that did gardens, going thru seed packets or plant catalogs and helping create a garden on paper. If they sewed, going through buttons and notions to finish off a blouse. For sewing stuff, these are for cheap at thrift stores as hardly anyone sews anymore.

What one of the activities gals at her IL told me she uses as a resource is the cub scouts belt loops workbooks. Seems it's about the same level of dexterity and attention span with the elderly as a lower school elementary boy in her experience.
My Mother has Dementia. and lives with my Husband (he has cancer and is an amputee) and I. What you are stating definately sounds like Sundowners. We go through this every evening with my Mom. She gets very scared, confused, all lights have to be on, and so on. I am reading a book called "The 36 Hour Day". It is an awesome book and it may be very beneficial to you as well. It explains everything from beginning stages on through full blown Alzheimers. I find it very comforting to read and re-read portions of the book. Good Luck, God Bless,
This happed to my father shortly before he passed. It is called "Sundowners Syndrome". It is very common for older people to have this. Have you ever slept in a hotel and when you woke up you didn't know where you were. That is what happens to them mentally. My dad kept calling me and said that he had to get out of the hospital because the people there were trying to kill him! I just told him to stay in his room and I would be coming to take care of him. I also suggested that they give him some Ativan to calm him down. After they did that he laid down and went to sleep. My mother is now dying with ovarian cancer and she does the same thing. I just go along with whatever she says (like, oh yeah mom, Trudy is coming over tomorrow....) and that usually calms her down and she acts pretty normal. I am also with my mom 6 days a week and my sister is there 1 day per week. We have been told my mom had 2-3 months to live in October and she is still alive. This is the hardest thing I have ever done. You put your life on hold and it is like you are waiting for the other shoe to drop. This must be a very stressful situation for you. Ask his doctor if he can be put on a mild dose (0.5 mg of Ativan - the generic is Lorazepam) and that should really help him. You and your father are in my prayers.
My mom started to have anxiety when she lived alone but went to a senior day care program. Her anxiety started on the van ride home b/c she lived alone with her cat. Mom would often call me or my sister and tell us that her heart was beating so fast--that she couldn't stand it. After this had gone on for a while and my sister or I couldn't always go to mom when she called, we put her into a very nice AL home. (She tried it out for about 10 days and then decided that she wanted to move in).
Yet, mom still talks about moving back to her house, which is up for sale to provide the bill-paying for her AL. I reinforce to mom the reason that she no longer lives alone and the advantages of having a nurse or aides around to care for her when she has anxiety episodes. Mom has many weekly visitors, including myself, my sister and my brother---as well as friends.
Despite all of the good things about AL, mom still gets "nervous", as she calls it, when evening is coming. She gets ready for bed and gets her night-time meds around 7 pm. She then waits in the living room with the TV and other patients, until she feels sleepy, and then goes to bed. Mom gets a low dose of Xanax in the AM and PM, with a low dose of Buspar in mid-day (it doesn't cause drowsiness) to tide her over between the AM & PM meds. This seems to help.
Good Luck, whatever you do for your parent. It's sad to see our parent scared like a child, but it happens frequently. Do what you can but take care of yourself---it is a draining situation--and you can't help your parent if YOU get sick!!

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