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My husband's family has suggested that I ask our doctor for meds to calm him down. He is starting to have bursts of rage and frustration and they are concerned about my well-being. I'm not worried about my safety yet, not to say that the day won't come that I might be. Any advice welcome.

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As some have said, getting the right dose is difficult, in that becoming a fall risk has even more issues to deal with down the road I had a friend who kept her husband at home, and one night he went nuts and threw her across the room, and she was in a wheelchair for months. She had him on certtain mends, yet, I od believe that come can create more confusion, and danger for all involved. I have given up over 6 years of caring for my mother with Alzheimer's, and get frustrated, she does get very mean and violent. I would never hit her back, I just leave the room, and let her be alone, so she had some understanding that what she has done is wrong. They ofteten do not like to be alone. I can say that this is becoming an epademic, and we have a lot more ot learn, how to cope,and try to live some kind of life ourselves. I know now have high blood pressure do to stress and will have to make some hard decisions soon. I get resentful, and very tired. I tried certain meds and she fell, thank god she did not break anything.Once they have hospitial visits, things can get much worse,it can send them in a whole other direction of confusion,anger ect... This is a hit and miss
of different meds, situations, type of dementia and I believe the person's prior self that stays with them for a period of time. If they were not nice poeple before, they will most likely be terrible to the caregiver, no matter who they are.
THEN THERE IS SUNDOWNERS WOW!!!!, this in my house is very difficicult. We do live in Arizona which has lots of sun, so I wonder in other states if it starts earlier as the sun goes down? If so I just do not know other than keeping lots of lights on to try and keep them less confused. Good Luck.
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Nothing wrong with the right drugs. It does take trial and error. My husband has a primary doc with specialty in geriatrics. She put him on risperdal. He had such a bad experience she had to take him off (he was sweating pulling off his clothes not sleeping' halluncinating) and he only took it for four days. She eventually gave him Ativan 1mg twice a day. He seem to calm down but it does not last long.he is depressed with not being able to drive anymore so she has prescribed celexa (by the way I take it also for my depression and it helps me). His neurologist has prescribed namenda for his memory. Will write in a few weeks to let you know if this new cocktail of drugs is working. I ask god every day what I have done to deserve this.
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I worked in a psychiatric half way home and part of the training involved restraining without hurting the aggressive client.I suggest you get some training in this area.
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We were warned against these drugs with my MIL. Elderly people are already at a risk of falling and he felt after two broken hips he didn't want to place her at a greater risk for anything else along those lines. Even for any kind of pain, until she was at the end of life, the doctors were very conservative along those lines.
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Thank you all for your input. To give you further info, hubby will be 74 in October. His son, sister and brother-in-law pitch in when it is convenient for them, eg, sister shows up to take him to breakfast and drops him off before I even wake up. That certainly doesn't help me, but she can then say she drove all the way to take him out. My husband and I both have check-ups with our pcp in a week. During my visit, I will ask the doc about meds. My fondest wish for all of us is that science comes up with a way to rid the world of this scourge. Courage all.
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My mom was originally given xanax by her gp, did nothing to address the underlying life long depression and anxiety issues. Now in snf, she is under the care of a geriatric psychiatrist and takes zoloft, remeron and a small dose of klonopin at night to help her sleep. She is not in any way sedated by these meds.
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I agree with Nancy. My husband has anxiety. Sundowners for him starts at 3:30p. Fortunately, we have a great psychiatrist that has allowed me (with her guidance/expertise) to give him the correct dosage and frequency. It is a trial and error and takes lots of patience. I am very protective of any known changes that may cause increased anxiety. Cathy
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There comes a time when you through up your arms and say "I" am not doing this anymore. Look what FedUpNow put up with and she also had to go to therapy to help her deal with family dynamics. I work with elderly clients and I would have told the caregiver that placement to an assisted living should be highly considered. Also, I would have not stopped at just one medication trial. There is a multitude of medications out there and not all react the same way. I also believe mother in law was aware and in at least part of control of her actions. Put your foot down and say I am not taking this anymore, that is abuse! I personally would of kicked her behind out long ago, better yet she would of never moved in with me. A disaster waiting to happen and families often get torn apart because of the resentment of not having any resolution. Medications can be a good thing to treat those underlying psyc issues that everyone has accepted as a persons behavior or come to bloom later in life when their cognitive abilities begin to be impaired. Anyone having to deal with a loved one with aggressive behaviors due to a altered mental status should really consult with a specialist in neurology for proper diagnosis and treatment.
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Lildogtoo--nobody else helped because there were no others on my husband's side of the family. It was all on us 24/7/365. My daughter was a social worker, a mandated reporter, and my grief therapist helped me vent. I never considered hitting her back but I hated my husband every time she hurt me because I felt he let her do it--even though he didn't want it to happen either. The split lip in my photo here is from when she knocked me down to the floor and my teeth went clean through my lip. I want people to know online here that people they are taking care of can become violent and they can hurt their caregivers.
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BTW, 'my husband's family' has asked you? I have to ask if they're doing anything to care for this 'loved one'?
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@Fed Up - OMG, you're a SAINT! A real life SAINT! After losing a tooth, I'd have tossed her into a nursing home. NO way would she have lived with me.
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@Fed Up Now - if you hit your loved one back, you may even kill them in that they are so fragile. Even a slap to the face to a person who is fragile can either break their bones (in which case you'll find yourself in the ER being quested by a doctor who has to report abuse as to how this happened). It is not permissible to hit anyone today, nobody. Walk away.
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Oh, and I fogot and I'm really big into this -- find someone with a geriatric background in caring for your loved ones. Board Certified! Not all doctors who cared for the elderly are Board Certified Geriatric Doctors. It makes all the difference in the world as far as I'm concerned. I feel bad for anyone in areas where they are not as well known as they are in the cities. It is important that psychiatric drugs be prescribed by a PSYCHIATRIST! GET OVER YOUR FEAR OF THE WORD. They are doctors!
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My mother (91) is doing well on Mirtazapine and Olanzapine plus anti depressant, Effexor. Low doses. Yes, there are what is called 'black box' warnings on these drugs mandated by the FDA but guess what, when you're that old (hate to say this) is it better (especially with dementia!) to be more in control of your thoughts, i.e., my mom is delusional in that she believes everyone is dead along with other long term psychiatric problems she never dealt with. She's doing much better in that department. Now, the question is what's wrong with having to give a person psychiatric drugs? I've asked this question before. Nobody says anything when a person is given heart drugs, yet when it comes to calming down behavior so other can live comfortably among people, I see no problem.

Look, the older people in our lives, esp those who are in the late eighties and nineties are going to die at some point. Why not make it easier on all of us. Like always, you have to weigh the benefits with the risks.

Black box warnings. Screw it. If it helps my mom stay calm, more focused, that helps me and my family in the long run. We should be grateful for the drugs.
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PS: I meant to remind all of you, not that any of you are hitting your aged parent back, but DO NOT HIT the one you are taking care of, even when you are hit back. There are laws that protect the person being cared for but none to protect the caregivers. You can go to jail if you do anything at all that is threatening to the other person. Document your injuries, complain to your friends, but LEAVE the room and DO NOT EVEN THINK of hitting back. Otherwise, you will make more trouble for yourself. Thank goodness I was given this good advice.
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This is a hard topic to address because the experiences do not always match the predicted expectations. My MIL had combative dementia focused on me. She had never liked me because I married her only child and her only son and she thought I was a "spoiled little rich girl." I was not--I came from a very humble upbringing. The point is that she didn't remember WHY she didn't like me, she just remembered THAT she didn't like me. Whenever we were alone together, she would try to hit, kick, smash me with her fist or walker. She knocked out one of my teeth. Once she knocked me to the floor and was hammering me with her walker when my husband rushed in and dragged her off me. We tried SeraQuel. At 200 mg. she would sleep all day and most of the next. The dosage was too high. Seraquel 25 did nothing. Seraquel 50 made her more agitated. Her doctor tried several meds. None of them worked. She was either too groggy and fell when she turned or she was agitated and more violent, even towards him. The best we could do, on my therapist's recommendation, was to photograph my bruises and date the photos and report them to her doctor. The medical profession never did step in and do anything that helped. Solutions do not always come in pills. I tried to stay away from her as much as possible and I was not sorry she when she died. The last three years of her life were hell on me. She lived until she was 98 due to our good care and food but she existed, she did not live. I took care of her since she was 76. I was highly resentful that she came to live with us 6 years earlier than necessary. She just didn't like living alone after her husband died and we bought into her, "Poor me" sob stories. Sometimes, there is no happy ending. To all of you in this precarious boat, you have my true sympathy. Good luck.
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You don't say how old your husband is, but studies show that the elderly have more than 2x the adverse reactions to these meds compared to non-elderly. Nancy says 'watch behavior closely'. There are many falls and injuries because of the dizziness and fatigue associated with the use of sedatives/barbituates. My mother got out of bed at the rehab center and fell and broke her hip. Personally I would strongly suggest an anti-depressant or anti-anxiety first. They also have a risk of dizziness, but in my case it does not seem to be as bad. I'd also be real careful to get the prescribing doctor to thoroughly review his medical history for any previous adverse reactions to any medications. Everyone is different. My 89 year old father (weighs 123 pounds) has been doing well on Mirtazapine/Remeron. Yet if I (40 years younger - and we won't talk about weight) take a quarter pill of the same medicine, I will be stuck in bed for days.
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Meds are good in the right dosage and frequency. It's better for the patient and the family if there is some mechanism to calm the patient. I have found that we had to do a trial and error experiment to get the right ones for my mother. This can take several weeks, and you will have to watch behavior closely. Once my mother slept all weekend, which was unusual for her; we had the dosage too high. I would definitely ask for meds to be prescribed, as you don't want it to get out of hand before you even ask for help. Best wishes . . . this is a hard one but worth the effort, especially if they have to enter the hospital or some other environment they are not familiar with. They are likely to be highly anxious about anything unfamiliar, and the more tools you have to deal with it, the better. Nancy
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