How do I know if dementia medications are necessary?

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I thought it was automatic to give them Namenda or Airicept when the diagnosis came back dementia/alz. I know my mother-in-law's doctor put her on it asap to try to stave it off as long as possible.
I think it depends on their behaivor and at the beginning it is trail and error -for a younger person with dementia Airicept is good to keep things from getting worse but if you follow the gross out thread some have found meds make things worse-you reallt need a good doc who understands the eldery and after trying a med things are better then you know you are on the right track-Naheaton you were here when I started 3 yrs. ago and you will always be my hero for being so kind to this newbiw bless you.
Thanks for answering. My mom is 88 and the doc wants to try aricept, but I have heard and read about horrible side effects. I am torn as to what to do.
pigeon Your question is a good one, and this is a great place for answers, I do believe those who learn from experience have better well rounded input. I have learned that noone cares or focuses as much as the caregiver child. I am sorry to hear about your Mom - another person with this terrible illness. I can share my experience on the matter. First of all, if the Dr. wants to give your Mom, there must be good reason. I would ask the Dr. questions ...for example what is the diagnosis (type of dementia) Dr. should give you full explanation for his determination. If you don't know this by now, he might not by Law (HIPPA) share this info without your Mom's signing form to do so. Which brings on a whole other subject POA (I'll get back to that). My Mom (72 at the time) was brought to a behavioral health unit in a mental hospital, due to her wandering around town in her bathing suit, on a cold October day (thank god it wasn't her birthday suit in January), . The police in her town were aware of her confusion due to her prior odd behavior but not dangerous until that day. She asked to go to hospital and police were aware that it was mental not physical. After a 30 day inpatient stay, the Dr's gave me full explanation of her Meds and diagnosis (cognative impairment dementia), and her need of 24/7 care. So someone needed to take the caregiver role. Anyway she was given aricept and namenda and shes type 2 diabetic and highblood pressure meds along with abilify (mood stabilizer). The aricept and namenda work wonders for her confused state and everyones body reacts different to any meds, naturally, as far as side effects. The abilify was too much for her so I consulted with Dr. and switched to seroquel but shes in NH now and they weened her off and shes harder to handle but more like herself. It's not good long term for her. By law they cannot give it to her unless she is combative. The only side effect for her is weight gain and rash and rash is going away without the seroquel. She is ever so slightly more confused than 2 years since start of meds but extremely better than without. As for POA if you don't have one you should get one this will allow you to handle her business and health proxy for medical. You need to do this before she decresses mentally due to you needing her consent by signature. You are helpless with out POA and its easier than guardianship and cheaper. Make sure you take inventory of finances and POA should be worded specifically naming accounts according to your needs if you ever need to transfer or change the way things we set up by your Mom. Reason for this a bank or pension holder can deny POA if it is not worded properly . I am struggling with that issue, I cannot stop Fed withholding tax she set up and I need it to pay for NH. Think of Mom in a happy way stay focused and..... Remember caregiver rule #1 take care of yourself too!!!
Pigeon, Recently I took m-i-l to her doctor because I was concerned that she'd had 'an episode' is all that I can call it, where she was much worse that day then the normal bad memory day. He gave her a pretty long test where she had to answer questions and remembers stuff, which she failed miserably. He told us that the Namenda only works for 2 years then you might as well stop it. At first I agreed that if it's not working why should she keep taking it? Later I changed my mind when I talked to the health adviser at her asst living place. She said that if there was a chance at all that it's still working and we take her off of it, then when she has another downturn, putting her back on it will never get her back to where she was before. So we're keeping her on it for now, just to be sure. The Airicept caused diarrhea but the Airicept so far hasn't had any side effects.
I meant the Namenda so far hasn't caused any side effects.

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