Dad is in his 12th year of Alzheimer and over the past 6 months he's become afraid of everything. Any advice?

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Not just at night all the time. When he walks with his walker with me right beside him, He watches each step he makes and holds on to the walker with a death grip. Its almost impossible to get him in the tub or the car. And when I try to undress him ,he acts like I'm hurting him. When I ask him if that hurt he says "no". He does it with the lady I have coming in 1 day a week also. He's never fallen or been hurt and he wasn't afraid of anything when he was younger. I accidentally barely stepped on his toe the other day and you would have thought I killed him. Does any one else have these issues. It's making me crazy.
thank-you Linda

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Yesterday I watched my mother as she walked out of the kitchen. The floor changed from linoleum to wood. She stopped and carefully put her foot over, like she wasn't sure where the floor was. She has walked through that door a million times. I felt so much compassion, knowing her eyes and mind have gotten so bad that she no longer trusts the floor is still there. I have to admire the courage it takes to make that step, instead of freezing at the threshold. Even though she had walked that way so many times before, it was like a new and frightening experience to her. Where was the floor? The changes in flooring, curbs, and other changes are hard for someone with poor vision and dementia.
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Unfortunately I agree that this anxiety is a part of the disease and can only be lessened by medication. The medication may make him less secure when he is walking. Another dilemma of Alzheimer's disease! When our memory disappears, every step is a new experience and can be frightening. Ask him to do less, go fewer places. Make his life as comfortable for him as you can.
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I think maybe it has to do with his vision, part of it anyway. Does he have cataracts? The world can be a scary place when you see shadows and things that aren't there. Also perspective and distance are hard to judge. I imagine his skin and joints hurt too.
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You probably know already that you won't be able to reason with him about his fears. Try and reassure him the best you can and try to imagine his point of view. To him the floor my seem like falling over a steep cliff. I'm not one for more meds for elders but there may be some med available to calm him.
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gee i could have sworn I wrote what you just did. I think (as even I notice for me) that as we get older we lose a little confidence in our "balance". I think become more aware of how we could get hurt IF we do fall, etc. And now lets add the ALZ to that, it makes for a scary world. Just let him know when you are with him that you won't let him fall and also their skin gets thinner and their sensitivity to pain is more intensified so even a slight bump could scare them. Good luck..............
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Pretty sure some degree of this comes with dementia of any kind, not necessarily just ALZ. My mom (vascular dementia) is also a little more wary/frightened of things - particularly sounds. Seems EVERY sound alarms her, and she has to know what it is. ("I just set my cup down on the counter, mom." "I just closed the microwave door, mom.") I feel like a mouse, trying always to tiptoe around and make as little sound as possible.

Also deal with the "you're hurting me", no matter what care activity is taking place - changing clothes, washing, applying lotion. And all of those things are done with the greatest of gentle care. Some days it is unbearably unnerving and agitating to hear that lament (always in the back of my mind wondering how many caregivers throughout time may have been wrongfully accused of elder abuse!); other days when I am perhaps more fortified by prayer, I am able to face it with compassion and gently soothe while not exactly ignoring it, but allowing it to roll off my shoulders (not take it personally or let it agitate me). Because, as I'm sure others have found, letting their agitation cause you agitation just creates a vicious cycle of agitation feeding agitation! And at some point you have to realize that the one with dementia does not have the power to stop that cycle.

Once again, for what it's worth, it is comforting to hear others describe in detail some of the heartbreaking scenarios I deal with on a daily basis. That has happened enough on this site that I am now able to realize pretty much every oddity I encounter - even when it is new to me and I have never heard it mentioned before - I will be able to find another account of it on agingcare.com. This site is a great resource for information, encouragement, and support.
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A sense of balance is thrown off it's like when you first get a pair of Bifocals depth perception and center of gravity is affected. We take this ability for granted until it's effected by a stroke or Alzheimers, medication or inner ear infection. The sensation is extremely frightening. Try validate to the patient that you understand their experience as best you can. Assure them that you will make sure they are safe. Trust is very difficult for a male to believe a
female can prevent them from falling during transfers bathing or assistance. Maybe a male assistant might help the situation.
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Yes, medication.

Please know that there are Senior Behavioral Clinics that specialize in this treatment. They only need about ten days to work with the patient to "perfect" the medication. It change our lives dramatically for the better and, after insurance, cost only $1,000. Well, worth the money.
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As far as I know, my father doesn't have ALZ but does have some dementia and mental illness. He too is overly afraid of things. He sits in his recliner all day. I have told my brother about renovations that the 38-year-old house needs that I plan to do if I outlive my father. There is mold all over, holes in the floor/ceiling, and so on. One day, my brother told my father I wanted renovations, and my father who has been pretty calm since my mother passed got very agitated, screaming and cursing like he used to do but I could hear the intense fear in his voice. He is petrified of any change. I get that but I don't know what to do about it. He and I have never once had any kind of emotional discussion because he has always been just about the matter of fact things. So, I have no advice but know you're not alone.
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Does it occur more during late afternoon this could also be sun downing syndrome.....my mom who has dementia and also is afraid of everything I just try to keep her calm late afternoon I make sure all lights are on in area she is in this seems to help
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