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He obsesses about when the heat and air come on and go off. As soon as someone throws something in the trash, he takes that bag out and replaces it with another one. He has lost 40 pounds over the past 6 months, but all his tests come back normal. He no longer carries a normal conversation. He is taking celexa, trazadone and ambiem.

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OCD maybe?
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Many thanks for this thread. My father who was ageing slowly and had a minor memory loss was doing pretty well for a 92 year old (minimal loss of thought process). He was admitted to hospital for dehydration and put on a saline drip. He was later (next day i believe) put in a drug called zopicline. The point i am making is that the drip resulted in a huge improvement in his cognitive behaviour. However. That was short lived, and, in my view the zopiclone made his memory worse. Zopiclone didn't suit my father, but, my mother who is the same age had the same problem one year earlier got on well with Zopiclone. Different people react differently to the same drugs.
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Actually it was 'Transient Global Amnesia'. I forgot. ha
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Thank you for sharing that personal experience, naheaton.
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About 3 years ago my husband got new insight and understanding into the whole asking the same question over and over and over and over... that his mother does. On a Saturday morning he came home from work, we talked for awhile then he went to sleep and I took a shower. I got out of the shower and was right in the middle of putting on my makeup, when suddenly I couldn't remember anything. I knew I was putting on my face, but I couldn't remember if it was because he and I were going somewhere, or is was it just the normal routine. I woke him up and asked him what's going on? Are we doing something today? What day is it? Well it nearly scared him to death needless to say. On the way to the hospital I asked him for the hundredth time, 'what day is it?' He told me it was literally a hundred times, but to me it was only that once. Well it turned out that I had what they called T.G.A (total global amnesia) for no apparent reason and would probably never happen again. It started going away about an hour after I first looked in the mirror and had no idea of what day it was. My point was (I had one) that I kept asking him what the day was, because I kept trying to get a handle on what was happening to me. I just knew if I could just remember the day of the week, then I could understand what was going on. So now when his mom repeats herself, or asks constantly the same questions, he's much more forgiving then he used to be. Which is a good thing.
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newton thanx for the good idea comment , I forgot one thing, the asking repeated questions is most likely a stage that will pass to a new stage, I remember now how I got clever and finally figured out a solution and as soon as I did there was a new one unfortunately, like a growing child only backwards.
Austin is right you should not let others think it's OK to shovel everything on your plate although, I totally understand that everyone thinks that thier life is far more important and it's like you asked for the job and all the drama. This only means your the one that cares and you should be proud. I also learned that although this time is tuff you are the one blessed with the awareness of "LIFE" and how this is the most important treasure we have all been given! Those who look at "LIFE" through sellfish, uncareing, heart and eyes is a punishment they bring unto themselves!!! I am glad I will never suffer with that reality. The more you give the stronger you will get. The more they shut out the more suffering they will encounter. Stay possative and focus on good and keep evil and greed far away. Honesty and a good heart is your best weapon. Remember this... if your not a part of the solution your part of the problem. It might help you to express that thought maybe they will wake up. Good Luck!!!


Give other a chance and if they are bringing you down don't even waiste your good energy. I call those who do that "FUN SUCKERS" .
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Millie I hope you have help caring for him and are not trying to do it all alone and do keep comming back here to vent -it does help that their are those here who want to help and to keep you from feeling all alone. Most hospitals have neuro support groups that if you could attend would be so much help for-talking to others with the same difficulties-I wish for things to get better for you-dementia changes just when you think ok now I can cope their behaivor changes and you have to find another option,
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wuvsicecream gave some great ideas. My dad always has to have a 'hankie'...back in the day before kleenex that's what they had and no one left the house without one. Someone asks dad the date, he looks at the newspaper. I put up pictures and snapshots all around his room so he remembers what he likes to do and his family members.
Gosh, all these little tricks to make their life and ours better. We are truly wonderful and we are learning so we can share and help others now and in the future.
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Again, I thank all of you for your comments; some were very helpful in that I have not thought of before. Believe me, and from your comments I can tell you have been there, I have done everything possible and within my power to narrow down the problem with my dad. Although I have a brother and sister, they rely heavily on me for the decisions. But they are helpful. And, yes, I am there at every visit with every doctor. And they all are aware of the weight loss and obsessions and are trying different medications. Because I have already warned my dad of dehydration, he keeps FIVE cups of water on the table, and constantly fills them with ice and drinks them throughout the day. And his appetite is very good - he eats! So frustrating and baffling. Again, my thanks and hugs to all of you!
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Get a clock that is familiar as in OLD fashioned! Maybe he always carried a pocket watch, and possibly hes just used to having it there. If you wear a ring on one finger for twenty years and then remove it you feel something is missing even if you don't know what it is that's missing. You feel lost or naked in a way. Easy to read clock, watch, or for blind there's an audio... out loud...say the time clock. Or maybe he just can't see a clock, or not know where it is because unfamiliar or change of settings are confusing him. He knows how to tell time probably, but he's just lost.
Example: "My Mom asked me everytime she washed hands where's the soap?"
I was glad her hygene was 100% but arghhhh!!! Then after two months I figured out she was not used to liquid soap she was looking for a bar of soap on the sink.
I put a... bar and she never asked again. Sometimes the most nerve racking thing to us has a solution, you just have to "solve the dementia logic puzzle".
Example: My Mom's room was moved, down the hall, it was in reverse, from the one she got used to in NH after a year. She was confused and would go back to the old room to nap. Upon visiting her she was napping and I couldn't find her in her room, she was in the old room. I asked the staff and they said she does that we don't know why! I looked on the name tags on the door entrance to her old room, there was her name. She reads whats on the door so she knows its her room, same with bathroom. After bringing this to the staffs attention all the closets are name tagged in rooms now too, solved many lost item problems too. This may not solve the big picture but hopeful it will help this issue.
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Having experienced my husband's sudden onset dementia and listened to many, many stories in my dementia caregivers' group, and also dealing with a bipolar brother, I know that not all abrupt changes in behavior have to be from meds. But that is always a good place to start the investigation.

As newtonjoyce and Lilliput suggest, general good health practices such as getting enough fluids, getting some exercise, and good diet all contribute to mental wellness, and lack of them can exaserbate mental problems. Social interaction and mental stimulation are also valuable, but since your father cannot carry on a conversation that may be somewhat challenging. Isolation is probably counterproductive, but overstimulation can be bad, too.

In other words, Millie, you are in a very tough situation. We all mean well with our advice, and some of it may actually be helpful, but you probably need more support than we can offer. Your father has been hospitalized more than once and in rehab for his mental problems. Can you get in touch with the social worker there, and see if you can be directed to a local caregiver group and given literature? Do you attend your father's sessions with his doctors? Can they give you some advice on strategies for coping with the obsessions? What do they think the weight loss means? If Father is being seen by more than one doctor, be sure that they are all aware of all the symptoms.

Again, hugs to you as you struggle with this big challenge.
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millie: that just sounds like a lot of meds. I understand that adjusting medications is a delicate science, but there may be interactions that the doctor may not be aware of. There are now pharmacists who act as consultants to evaluate what you are taking. I would start there - because #1: doctors do not want to take the time, #2: pharmacist study these interactions and are aware of side effects.
My Mom was in rehab and given Vicoden for pain. She started hallucinating. The doctor said, "oh, she must have dementia." To which I replied, "do you think its the pain meds???" I had him take her of the Vicoden and replace it with tylenol...the hallucinations stopped.
You have to be vigilant. Any abrupt changes in behavior have to be from the meds or combinations there of.
Has he tried alternative remedies? Therapy, naturopathics, exercise, more social interaction, changing his diet?
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LOL...my Mom will feel cold and turn her thermostat up while her Air conditionar is still is on. She has no clue.
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Wow, your father has been on some very heavy-duty treatments, hasn't he? Mental illness of any kind is very cruel to the victim and to the entire family. Hugs to you and to your father.

I assume that the doctor who is managing the medications is a psychiatrist. Be sure you keep him or her informed of changes in your father's behavior. And also involve your father's primary care physician.

Science has come a long, long way in understanding the brain, and a long way in determining how to correct malfunctioning. We are still far from mastery of that. One of the huge obstacles is the uniqueness of individuals. Drugs and therapies that work wonders for some patients do nothing for the next patient, and even make things worse for another patient, as newtonjoyce notes. I am sure you are painfully aware, Millie, that treatment of mental illness has a trial-and-error aspect to it that can be very frustrating to all concerned.

You might ask the psychiatrist advice on how to respond to your father's obsessions. Maybe you should just buy stock in a waste-basket liner company, and keep saying calming, It is 8:22. It is 8:25. You can also try redirection. It is 9:33 and I need some company in the kitchen while I make a batch of cookies. Can you crack the eggs for me?

I don't make any of these suggestions as an expert. Having dealt with mental illness in the family, I can say sincerely that my heart goes out to you both, and I appreciate and admire your desire to care for your father.
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On a more serious note: Is he drinking enough water? It's hard to get my dad to drink but Zero water or the sugar free flavoring I add to water makes it more palatable. When he doesn't, he has many of the problems you listed.

That's a lot of medicine and the side effects of them can cause problems. Talk to your pharmacist as suggested. My dad was taking a medicine which made his dementia worse and that was a side effect! There was another that was suppose to help his dementia and that was bad news too.
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Is it like "are we there yet?" we'd ask as kids....just something funny to throw in.
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I thank you all so very much! And wll try to elaborate as briefly as possible. Started 8 years ago with depression - hospitalized - doc put him on many anitdepressants and conducted ECT's. Success for a while. Started again, with anxiety, about 3 years ago--hospitalized-new doc again put him on antidepressants. Last November-on various meds - nortryptaline (sorry about spelling), lithium, abilify, trazadone, ambien, ativan-all at once or at various times. Hospitalized in December with dehydration, hallucinations, etc. Went to rehab - did wonderful-only on trazadone. Came out in January 2011; weight was about 180, looked great, communicated well. Starting in March-weight loss (now down to 140, but eats well), started obsessions, and yes, when he calls out what time is it, he is looking directly at the clock radio-like is is verifying the time. He knows his ss number, his birth date and things way back when. His doctor put him on celexa, abilify, trazadone and ambien. And yes, I watch him take his pill (not to say though, when he goes back in his bedroom, he goes elsewhere). Again thank you all.
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Did your Dad's behavior begin after he was given the prescriptions? If so, it could be drug interactions. If the behavior came on suddenly, I am feeling that it is not dementia.
If this has been happening over time, he needs to be evaluated for cognitive issues.
Talk to you pharmacist too - they are a great resource.
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Who is monitoring his three medicines? What is he being treated for? (Depression and insomnia?) Does the doctor who prescribed these drugs know about the obsessive behaviors and weight loss? Can you be certain Dad is taking them as directed?

Who gave him what kinds of tests that come back normal? Obviously his behavior isn't normal and it could be useful to get to the causes. Maybe a change in his drugs would help. Maybe there is an underlying pathology, such as dementia.

Although annoying to you, these particular obsessions don't seem dangerous. Still, they indicate that something is wrong.

If the medical tests he had were just about the weight loss, perhaps it is time for a more comprehensive geriatric evaluation.
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My mom has the same problem. She can remember what day it is but not the time, though she has clocks al over the house, but the time is a mystery to her.
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Have you had him to his primary doc for an evaluation he probably has dementia -I know you have had test done but has he seen a neurologist for examantion. When he repeats what time is it ask him what time it is back to him this would work when I was a nurse. Are there lots of clocks around so he know what time it is-older folks lose track of time -you may be out of the room for 10 min. and it seems like an hour, The questions will continue and get worse in time so it might help to try different things and see what works the best-you may have to learn not to respond-which I know is not easy-I would pretend I did not hear my husband at time then smile and say did you say something. He may very well be cold and might need a sweater on even in the warm weather. It helps to vent on this thread and on others on AC so you know there are others out there who are going crazy also-caregiving is so hard.
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