Need suggestions to calm and distract my Mom who becomes frantic at dinner time?

Follow
Share

My Mom, 81, has dementia (possibly LBD) and Psychosis of Parkinson's. She has typical Sundowning type behaviors but this is more severe. She often becomes frantic during dinner that she must leave immediately so as not to be late for something. She runs around and grabs her purse and perhaps some files and papers and firmly asserts that she's leaving. For much of her adult life she was running to evening meetings, classes, rehearsals, etc. I'm very open to any suggestions because it was real bad tonight. We got in the car and drove around for 40 minutes and I could sense her gradually getting calm. 3 nights ago she was similarly agitated so I had my out-of-state sister call her. They talked (Mom talked non-stop, sister listened) for an hour which was a wonderful break for me. I used to be able to say "Oh, that meeting is not tonight" but that's not working now. Grateful for any tips.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
18

Answers

Show:
All excellent ideas Jackie18. Thank you!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Diversion is always a good technique- but it may only work for so long and for better or worse YOU are the diversion director. I have had people with dementia like to fold things...anything. Put a stack of handkerchiefs or pieces of cloth next to her and ask her to help you fold these. Generally you can use the same pile over and over and she will continue to fold. Repetitive actions are calming . You can hang up a wall calendar and make a pre dinner " study time" for her. Depending on what she did as a career, she will feel useful if you can give her some type of similar task to do. You mention rehearsals. What kind of rehearsals? Singing, acting? Follow with a type of activity that she was used to doing.
Wine may not be the best choice for her,( you maybe.?..) as it does interact with other medications, is a depressant, and can cause her to feel off balance and fall.
I think the suggestion of the celexa type medication is very good. These types of medications are antidepressants and act on chemicals in the brain and may make her feel calmer and less anxious. They may take a couple of weeks to work best. ( though you may see some good results right away).
Hope these suggestions were helpful, and don't forget about taking care of you too.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

You're welcome! Yes, we pretty much all understand it because we've been through it.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Thank you to everyone for all these fantastic suggestions. You all understand exactly what's going on!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

As elders really eat less and less, why don't you try to break "dinner" down into small portions of food and drink spaced out in 20 minute segments? Don't call it dinner.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

You have some good solutions here. I think I would first discuss it with her doctor, as medication for anxiety can be quite helpful, based on my experience with my cousin who has dementia.

Also, if she starts to get up to get ready to rush to a meeting, what if you say that they called and cancelled the meeting that night and they will send out the new time and date the next day. She's not likely to remember if you do that each day.

If my cousin gets anxious, which is greatly reduced since she went on meds, but, I will say that I have made a phone call and everything is now fine. That works for her.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Perhaps you can ask what meeting or class she needs to get to. Then call your own phone, answer it, and tell her the class has been cancelled due to (weather, illness, etc.). A mix of all these suggestions should work.
My Dad, before he passed, would stand outside his facility in the pouring rain at 11:00 pm waiting for his daughter to come pick him up for church. A nurse told him she had called and his daughter was ill. The nurses then hid his shoes from him, and he spent the evenings hunting for them. But at lest he wasn't out in the pouring rain or walking down dark streets.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Following other's insightful suggestions on meetings, can you arrange for a friend to visit on "meeting nights", and/or create your own meetings to decide on house plans - what to make for dinner for tomorrow night, what to do during the day?

If you can create a schedule of work at home, she and you can have meetings together. Perhaps she can even plan some meetings for the two of you.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Medication helps a LOT with this problem in my mother who is 98 and has dementia. Some trial and error may be needed to get the right prescription and dosage. Blessings and good luck.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

DMasty, I take care of my mother who just turned 92 along with 5 of my siblings. We have two outside caregivers also. She has taken Celexa 10 mg. in the morning for about a year. With that she would still have sundowning episodes getting worse lately. She would gather up her things saying she was going home ( she lives in her own home) etc. We tried trazadone at night at the dr's suggestion and didn't help. I spoke with the pharmacist and she suggested we double the Celexa to 20 mg. saying she has many seniors taking 20 mg. I took her off the trazadone and doubled the Celexa and she's calm and relaxed. IT's made a huge difference. I just wanted to add the 20 mg. of Celexa caused her to have diarrhea. And the pharmacist said it may or may not go away. I asked if I could give her 10mg in the am and 10mg in the pm and that did the trick. LIfe is peaceful thank you God!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

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