Should we increase the dosage of mom's Zoloft to help with her symptoms of dementia?

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My 94 year old mother has dementia. She is getting to a stage where she is becoming suspicious, angry, agitated and also has hallucinations which have been going on for the last two years. She is currently on 25 mg of zoloft and her dr seems to think that increasing the dose to 50 mg might be of help. She dreams of her deceased relatives and thinks they have visited her during the night. I would appreciate any comments as to whether increasing the dosage would help. Also, would anyone know how to protect the assets from a life insurance policy which has a cash-in value from Medicaid. This policy is solely for her burial costs, but I was told since it can be cashed in, it is considered an asset and would keep her from getting medicaid, should she have to go to a nursing home. She lives with me and my husband and has no other assets. Would appreciate any comments on this as well. Thank you.

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My dr upped my mothers zoloft from 25 to 50 dhes like a,dam zombie she has dementia n on other neds n has walking pneumonia now doesnt think she needs hospital shes going to be 90 next month i had to help her in bed she can barley walk she's not getting any zoloft tomorrow period n im calling the Dr i had emts here early cause she was lathargic but got worse i know its the meds n im not giving any meds tonight for dementia she barely can sit up shea down hopefully tomorrow shell get her amoxicillian n reg meds the zoloft im cutting back
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If the insurance is worth more dead than alive, she can also transfer the ownership to the funeral home of her choice..
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My mother started Zoloft about 2 weeks ago and it's worked miracles for her. She is 90 and had started crying all the time, she quit being able to feed herself and could barely talk. After being on Zoloft for a week, she started to improve. She is now better than she has been in months. She is feeding herself again, talking and seems to be much more content. (She is in a nursing facility). I feel like a miracle was performed. I thought she was going to live out the rest of whatever time she has in tears and helpless. I am just hoping and praying she continues as she is and perhaps improves even more.
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As for the insurance policy you can have your mother sign a transfer of ownership with the insurance company giving you ownership instead of her. This takes the policy out of her assets and adds them to yours. Ownership and beneficiary are two different things.
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Report the worsening symptoms to the doctor. There are lots of alternative meds of this type to try.
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NO to more Zoloft, because it is an SSRI that can trigger manic behavior when you give the patient too much of it. Nor will it increase memory, nor will it stop hallucinations, nor will it treat anxiety. Instead, treat the anxiety with Xanax or Ativan or Klonopin. Hallucinations need totally different drugs than taking antidepressants. Make sure the MD knows ALL the symptoms, because more is not necessarily better.
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Could Zoloft worsen or increase the hearing of sirens and emergency vehicles for someone with dementia? Our 90 year old mother started taking 25 mg, and her symptoms seem to have gotten worse very quickly.
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goldenzz, no drug works consistently for every person. Zoloft may be swell for many persons in your father's situation, but obviously it isn't swell for him. Even though he does not want to go to his doctor appointment I hope you can get him there, and then discuss the medication issues. If for some reason you can't go to the appointment or it is not very soon, discuss your concerns with the doctor by phone or email.

Putting him on Zoloft may or may not have been appropriate, (often the only way to tell is to try) but keeping him on it at the present dose does not sound appropriate.
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My Father was just fine at 96 a month ago.He had urinary tract infection.He went from assisted living where he was able to eat well and drive his own car to a nursing home where they put him on Zoloft.He is unable to eat well sleep well and is depressed.He don't even want to go to his doctor appointment at VA.He told me today he feels like giving up,tears came in his eyes.He was fine not long ago and his urinary tract infection is gone.Zoloft is sure not working.I think it is making him depressed.It sure isn't helping.
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JeanneG my ? too.

Gkerg, what type of hallucinations? JG & I both have experience with family that has Lewy Body Dementia. Certain types of hallucinations are a hallmark of this type of dementia. The LBD drugs are kinds different from the Alz. ones. I'd do the up in Zoloft especially if you have confidence in how mom's care has been so far.
My mom is on Remeron for anxiety & Exelon for LBD. For her, getting them consistently at the same time is very important.

At 94 you don't have any breathing room for the Medicaid look back. As others have said if it has a cash-value, Medicaid will require it be cashed in and used to pay for her care. Do it now so you can do the "spend down" the way you need to rather than have to give it all to the NH.

“Spend down” – means get assets (excluding homestead & car) under the state’s Medicaid asset ceiling. They can buy funeral and burial policy, a small term life insurance (like 1K or so to take care of final expenses). These must be irrevocable with no cash value. Glasses, dental care (spotty on Medicaid), hearing aids, walkers. You could go to Target,etc.and buy all new clothes for her,
Just keep all the receipts - you may have to show that really you did buy her 3 pair of SAS* shoes and it cost $ 248.00. No $ gifted to others. Everything must be for their care or their property. You could buy her an inexpensive car - although this might red flag the application but they CAN own a car. The Medicaid look back is 5 years. The state can go thru 5 years of all bank records & also require to see receipts to any item that pique’s their interest. Medicaid is different for each state so go to your state's site to see the specifics.

The Medicaid application is cumbersome but not difficult if you are organized and haven't commingled any of their money and they don't own anything.Good luck.

* I swear ever gal in my mom's old IL had at least 5 pairs of these shoes.
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