How to calm an anxious Alzheimer's patient?

Follow
Share

I take my mother (stage 4 going on 5) to the beauty parlor every 8 wks or so. Its an outing for her but it also allows my father who is primary caregiver, some hours of respite to do what he wants (errands or simply watch the ballgame in peace).

The problem is my mother gets very anxious being away from him. They are joined at the hip for the most part so she starts with wanting to know what he is doing while she is getting her hair done. I tell her he's out doing some errands. She then wants to know what errands so I say bank, Costco, gas etc. She is ok for 2 min then wants to know again where he is & what he is doing. She then starts to get very agitated and wants me to call him. Every few minutes she begs me to call him or grills me about where he is or what he is "up to." (she imagines my 85 yr old father is running after women) This goes on the entire appointment.

Afterwards the hair appointment my father always wants me to take her out for a bite to eat. This becomes another struggle. She wants my father to join us. I know he doesn't want to but she makes me call and ask. Over and over and over she asks WHY doesn't he want to come? WHERE is he? Then at the restaurant she will insist I call him to join us again and insist on me buying him a take out meal.

How can I calm her down about not having my father around for a few hours? She literally panics. He just gets annoyed when I tell him. He just wants a few hours to himself and he deserves it. Suggestions?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
6

Answers

Show:
I sure empathize with the every 2 minute retell of anything!! Dad has been that way for months, and it is somewhat tiring to keep telling him the same thing!!
However, my dad accepts what we tell him. We rarely need to Fib to him, as he forgets so fast anyway!!! My folks are joined at the hip, as you say. They are rarely apart. The few times they are it is usually when there is one of us with each of them.!! They both have dementia, but his is worse than hers at this point.
I like the idea of calling your own number and having a 'conversation'. You would be in control of everything then. If your whole demeanor is relaxed and confident, will that give your Mom the assurance she needs??I am sure you have tried so many things!! God Bless You!! Please know that prayers go with
you from many of us!!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

it doesn't matter what my answer is. I can say he is at x or x and she thinks he is out looking for another wife! Yes she said that. She thinks if she never leaves his side he will not leave her--that's what she said. So any answer I give her whether he's at the ballgame or the dentist, she thinks he's lying. There is no win.

I would prefer not to drug her. She already is on heart medications and insulin injections amongst a slew of other meds. When I say panic, I don't meal full blown out panic attack. I've had one and my daughter suffers from them so I know what they are. I just mean she gets upset and wants my father to be there. She doesn't cry or anything, she gets irritated and demanding. If anyone needs an anxiety pill its me lol

My father wants her to continue getting her hair done (cut & colored) at a beauty parlor. That's why we can't just stay home and let him go out. She doesn't care but he does. I'm not going to argue the point with him about it. I did tell him that she gets upset he's not there and he just laughed and said she'd get over it. Ok but I'm the one dealing with it not him.

can't win!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I agree with pamstegma...talk to a doctor. My mom began having panic attacks whenever her caregiver would leave for the day because I wasn't there for the transition. Yet, it's our household routine to have someone she knows to wait with her until I get home from work. Nonetheless, after two emergency room visits due to her panic attacks, her doctor prescribed a low dosage anxiety pill. As a result, we have not had another panic attack since. Whew!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

does your mom get as anxious when he goes out and she is home? If she is better when she is home, maybe you could stay there with her and let your dad go to your home to watch ballgame. Could you tell your mom that dad is upstairs napping while you and mom make his favorite cookies. I noticed that my mom was not as anxious in her own surroundings. Good luck
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Cinderella, when Mom insists you call Dad, call your own number and have an entire conversation with Dad while you listen to your voice mail recording! But you should try for better responses to offer Mom. Think hard about what would be acceptable to her. Could he be at his own dentist or doctor check up? What about him being with one of his buddies or siblings? Think back to your younger days, what did Dad do without Mom. Could he be meeting a former work buddy? Helping a neighbor with a house problem? With dementia, 'gentle story telling' can be huge help!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Ask her MD if it would be OK to give her something calming during these absences. Perhaps an Rx for low-dose Lorazepam which is fast acting and dissipates in about 4 hours. Give it a half hour before they part company.
Avoid using any products with diphenhydramine with Alzheimer's.
Diphenhydramine (benadryl) works well for Parkinson's patients to relieve tremor and muscle stiffness, and make them calm, but NOT for Alzheimer's.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Related
Questions