EVERY single night my mother, who has Alzheimer's, works herself into a tizzy...to the point that her COPD makes her so wheezy she can barely talk or stand. She has sundowned for quite some time but it has become focused on one single, all-consuming issue....she frantically searches through the phonebook, pacing with it from room to room, looking for her parents' phone number. When, of course, she doesn't find it, she becomes terribly upset - sometimes panicked, sometimes crying, sometimes ticked off...and sometimes all 3 at once!!!
One thing she seems to remember is that her Dad served in France during WWI so I told her she wouldn't be able to talk with him because Trans-Atlantic calls were difficult & expensive. That doesn't work because she says it doesn't matter how much it costs, she just HAS to talk with him. So I said his CO would cuss him out for getting a call that wasn't part of his official duty. No, the CO would be ok with it once he found out *why* she was calling. She has an answer for everything!
I've tried hiding the phonebook from her & told her I didn't have one. That just succeeded in causing her to rant for hours about what kind of place was this that it didn't have a phonebook while she paced continually from room to room searching for one.
I've told her the reason she wasn't finding a listing for her parents was because they couldn't afford the expensive luxury of a phone, figuring a child of the Depression would accept this as plausible. That worked a few times but now she's adamant that her parents were finally able to get one because her mother got the job at the woolen mill carding wool for the soldiers' uniforms.
Once, in desperation, I just picked a number from thin air & gave it to her. Wouldn't you know the woman who hasn't been capable of dialing a phone for 6 months suddenly has a fit of clarity & starts dialing away like she was an ex-AT&T operator!!! Thank God it was an inactive number but I'm not about to take THAT chance again! LOL
I've assured, reassured, re-reassured & re-re-reassured her that her parents know where she is & that they had already approved that she stay overnight here. Unfortunately, it doesn't stop the frantic phone number searching, panic, crying or extreme anger. This goes on for HOURS (usually at least 2 hours but has been as many as 4 or 5 hours) before she tires out from a combination of all the activity & her bedtime Seroquel, Trazodone & Risperdal.
I'm working on getting her admitted to the Alzheimer's wing of a local nursing home but, unless they have an unexpected opening, there won't be a bed available until January when the construction on their new addition is completed. Until then, does anyone have any suggestions of other "interventions" that I can try to either cut this behavior off before it starts, to lessen the intensity of the behavior or lessen the length of these episodes?