My 77 year old mother is so sad and depressed. Although my father died 21 years ago, she has recently become obsessed with his absence. She says things like I will never in my life be happy again, I am just waiting for your father to come and get me.... and then in the next breath she is convinced that he had an affair and that my siblings are communicating with his mistress. The dicusssion changes with the flip of a switch. She is currently on Zoloft for depression. She had been on Cymbalta before that, but I see her as being so sad and confused. She had recently put photos of my father all over the house. She talks to the pictures and relates EVERYTHING to him and his life. Is there anything I can do to be helpful? She does have an appointment scheduled to see a neuropsyschologist in two months. (quickest i could get it)
But in Memory Care, the staff loves on her and I feel she is safe and watched over. I can visit her whenever and I bring her to my house sometimes for sleepovers, cook for her, etc. Just doing the best I can for the last phase of her life. So sad that she has so few friends or relatives left. And by the time everyone is in their 80's and 90's, they usually can't drive or travel to visit each other anymore if they live far away. My parents haven't been able to write people and get it together to even call friends, and have lost touch with so many old friends. I tried to call their old friends after my dad died, and most of the phone numbers in their address book had been disconnected. The more isolated and alone you get, the worse the dementia. And vice versa. It's hard to get out of that cycle.
In 2010 we moved our parents closer to us because Dad couldn't care for the household and mother at the same time. He was overwhelmed because she had taken care of all the bills and cooking etc. She could not do this anymore. She was diagnosed in 2009, but insisted it was just dementia. After getting them settled into senior living apt. Mom kept busy with decorating, but soon ran out of things to do, so her focus then was Dad. He had been doing the cooking and she was angry because he wasn't allowing her to help. It didn't matter the subject, she was angry at everything. To our dismay she accused him of having an affair with my sister. She was brutal and my father was in agony. There was no talking to her, as she would forget what was said within a short time and it would start over again. Her M.D. put her on a very minimal amount of antidepressant. It is my understanding that seniors cannot be given too much of this medication as it can be harmful. Well as time went on and she hadn't had a change in her behavior, it was found that the antiedpressant had the opposite affect on her and she became more agitated and enraged. She started running off. She even hitchhiked to my brothers 15 mile away.( She is 80 yrs old mind you.) She called my Dad to come get her, thank God she didn't try to drive one of my brothers vehicles as she had mentioned later. Well anyway, after taking her off the antidepressant, we took her to a psychiatrist, whom put her on one the alzheimer's medications that has made a world of difference. The neurologist, that she saw initially, simply diagnosed Alzheimer's. The second neurologist, explained the disease, as to the shrinking of the brain and the fluid retention around the skull, as well as how a head injury would be a high risk. Anyway Mom lives in an alzheimer's unit as of 2/2012. It has taken only four months for her to settle in and is comfortable with the routines there. Key words distraction and routine are the useful tools used with people with dementia. As to the neurologist, great start, but seeking psychological help, someone that is experienced with seniors is a must. Best wishes to you.
Sometime anti-depressants can do the opposite of what they are supposed to.
I know because I have been taking them for about 45 years. For people with issues like your Mom's, it it sometimes best to just agree with them, and that can be very hard but it works pretty well. If she starts asking the same questions over and over, just keep giving her the same answer. Sounds like she is close to dementia, but the evaluation by the Doctor should help.A Geriatric doctor would also be a big help in diagnosing and treating. I pray that all goes well for you and your Mom. Remember that Caregivers need time to themselves to avoid burnout.