How do I care for my mom during sundowning?


My mom has Vascular Dementia. She lives with my dad in their own home, and I, their oldest daughter, am their caregiver and stay about 10-12 hours a day with them. I know she has Sundowning, but this behavior started at 3:30. All she kept talking about were the 2 houses she lived in. (She and my dad have lived in the same house for almost 40 years.) She kept saying she didn't know how to work the stove, make the recipe we were making for supper (it's her recipe that she doctored up), etc. Then around 6:30 she started crying/sobbing, claiming that we were moving her during the night from one house to another. She couldn't find her clothes, her stuff, her flowers. Then she kept saying that we didn't love her and asked my dad if he would take her for his wife. A lot of pent-up emotions were coming out: frustration that she was "accused" of having Vascular Dementia; anger that we wanted to get rid of her; wishing she were dead. She finally decided that she would just go to bed since we were wanting to get rid of her. My dad was so gracious to her, kept telling her that he loved her, that he was very upset for her having to go through this, that he would take care of her for the rest of her/his life. I finally left because my mom doesn't respond to me as well as to my dad when she gets like this, but not before I told her how much she meant to me, that I wanted to give back to her like she had given to me while I was growing up. My questions are these: When your family member has gone through this, how have you helped him/her calm down? Why, with Vascular Dementia, does it happen one day and not to the same extreme the next 2-5 days? What is a possible trigger? Her neurologist will not help us. He will not answer any of our questions without my mom being present in the room -- which is a HUGE trigger for these episodes starting up. Thank you so much!

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Be prepared. It may get worse with DST ending next month.
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FregFlyer: OMG, I had NO idea there was a name for this! I'm so glad I found this website. Granddad does this and I had NO idea it was an actually real condition! He's alert in the morning/afternoon ;talking politcs, cleaning house, doing ok; By 5 pm he goes downhill. He starts complaining about all the "children" who come to his apartment to play & make so much noise running around in the livingroom when he goes to bed (umm, there are NO kids who live in his apt building). I just along with it: I just tell him to tell the kids to go home. He says ok.

And like the others have said, he's started Crying the past few days after 4pm. (crying about the family not calling him, crying that he hasn't felt good in a year, etc). I just try to change the subject.

I do agree less time should be spent after 5pm. Honestly I probably shouldn't even stay there past 6pm. Last week around 7pm he yelled at me & said he's tired of me coming over there at Midnight to do chores (I never go there at midnight).
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charmin, when my Dad [95] started to show signs of sundowning a few months ago [which also started around 3:30-4:00p] I found it very hard to keep from trying to correct him, even though I had known better as I had learned with my late Mom. It took me a month to finally learn to agree with Dad on whatever he was saying.

If Dad said he was at a meeting, that's good. If he missed his bus ride home, oh that's too bad. If he needs to stay at the hotel, have a good night sleep. The whole time I knew my Dad was in his Memory Care apartment, but for some reason Dad's mind had him back in the 1940's.

I agree with Pam, spend less time with your parents. Maybe between the two of them, your Mom can get on a routine at her own pace with Dad helping. Maybe with just Dad around Mom won't be so emotional. Mom might be feeling she is being replaced by you.

Try just going over in the morning to get them ready for the day. Leave them something for lunch.... then return to make supper. And if they don't need any help getting ready for bed, then leave not long after supper. Now if they need you glued to their sides, then that's a different story.
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When my mom had a melt down during her last trip to the neuro when a student was taking her history they let her leave the room with her caregiver so I could talk without her interrupting but of course I have POA - if you don't then that could be why your mom needs to be present

In any event she might need something for her anxiety - her words and behavior are not unusual

Hang in there
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Get her to a geriatric psychiatrist who can explain to her how some meds will help with her " spells"
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Vascular dementia is a real roller coaster. If the idiot neurologist doesn't see the need for her to be on some meds, find a better MD, one who specializes in treating dementia.
Also, pull back on your time there with them. She resents it and he will not come to grips with her decline unless you force him to.
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