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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.

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All excellent ideas Jackie18. Thank you!
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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.
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You're welcome! Yes, we pretty much all understand it because we've been through it.
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Thank you to everyone for all these fantastic suggestions. You all understand exactly what's going on!
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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!
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My husband's Sundowning is not quite that bad, but I will find him in the closet rearranging things or in the bathroom rearranging our little space. You don't go from an 1800 sq. ft. house to a 670 sq. ft. apt. without feeling a little confused and agitated. I am still trying to get used to things, but I will go in and tell him he has done a great job of organizing (which he was always good at), ask him to come see a program on, or tell him the dogs "need" him. He can spend hours just petting one of the dogs head. She loves that! So find out what works and do it. This symptom will resolve on its own once the destruction in the brain continues...Have patience and know we are all in this together!
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Also, I would add to make sure she isn't dehydrated. This can come on suddenly, even when you think they are drinking enough! I now have my husband on a daily dose of watered down [because of all the sugar] GATORADE every day. No more sundowning, alcohol is not recommended with the Alzheimer's medication. Borderline diabetes is also possible... seems to run along with Alz. Offer a sugar snack in the middle of the day to increase their sugar intake. See if this helps.
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Dmasty, I dealt with sundowning behavior with my mom. Her constant worry was where her children were. Some nights she recognized me, some nights she didn't.

If you mom's behavior change has intensified suddenly I would suggest having her check by her doc. She may have a UTI or some other type of infection.
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dmasty, she is so lucky to have you! This sounds like it can be real stressful sometimes. Love pam's list. Could you let her know the meetings are now all regularly scheduled at your place, since they know it will be more convenient for her, she's done so much in the past. So like you said, then you have the outings to help prepare the next topic? I know I'd come :) so I hope others will join you all sometimes too.
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I am choked up and have goosebumps because all these suggestions are so good. My kids have also suggested the meeting in the living room. Some nights she's expecting her 4-H group to come over for a class. Maybe she needs an evening outing? I was thinking going to the public library to check out a DVD or Lowe's to check out the plants.
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Offer a small (3 ounce) glass of wine with dinner and play soft calming music to distract her. After dinner have a movie ready, or do a "meeting" in the living room on a topic of her choice. Run a youtube video of that topic. Borrow a chalkboard on an easel and make it feel very official. Make sure she has her notebook and pen in hand. Ask a lot of questions, make her feel knowledgeable and in control.
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dmasty, my Dad also did that meeting thing when he was sundowning. I would get a call early evening where Dad said the meeting ran late, and he missed the bus to come back home, so he will stay at the hotel.

I think with my Dad, he would go to the main dining room for dinner. After eating he would go back to his room and doze off with the TV on.... thus wake up and in his mind he was back in the 1940's as that was when he use to take the bus to work. The hotel was his room at Memory Care.

Maybe get one of those pink "while you were out" notepads for telephone calls and write down "meeting was postponed until next Monday".... "meeting cancelled due to weather".... "meeting cancelled, power outage".

I was able to distract my Dad by changing the subject over to the weather, which was his hobby.
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Have you tried changing the time of dinner? And try putting your mom to work with dinner preparations. She can wash lettuce or stir a pot, set the table, pull apart bread and put it in a basket. Distract her in some way. Have tasks for her ready to go so you're not fumbling for something for her to do.

Is your mom on medication for this behavior? I would think that being frantic wouldn't feel so good to her, maybe her Dr. can prescribe an anti-anxiety medication.
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