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I have been at my wit's end trying to help my 83 year old mother with Alzheimer's Disease sleep through the night. We have tried various different things, activities, restful music, soothing, etc., but she was continuing to get up in the middle of the night and shout down the hall "is it time to get up yet?" and then get agitated if I didn't respond quickly enough. She has been living with my wife and I for eight months in a bedroom down the hall from ours.

She normally goes to bed at 9, but even when I kept her up to 10 PM, we still get this. I am certain it is the dementia creating anxiety in her mind.

To reduce her daytime anxiety and improve cognitive function, our geriatric psychiatrist took her off Namenda, off of Trazodone at night, and we have really only been giving her Rameron at night, and an occasional Clonazepam during the day. The geriatric psychiatrist increased her Remeron from 15 mg to 22.5 mg (we cut another pill in half). Our day center help has asked us to get a second opinion on the medication she is recommending as she is still too agitated in the afternoon.

But the night time waking up and shouting has been exhausting us, as this has been going on for months.

So in desperation this week, I drove by the drug store and picked up Melatonin 5 mg to give her with her evening medicine. She seems to be sleeping now until 5:30 - 6 AM, which is a big improvement. The night before I started it, she got agitated in the middle of the night and started getting destructive, so I needed to do something. So I tried it for just two nights with her. I am going to stop now and see if there is a difference.

I think the Alzheimer's Disease makes certain drugs "work" for a while, and then as it progresses/changes the brain, the drugs effectiveness also wears off.

My wife thinks my mother is just sleeping better now because she finally got exhausted. Maybe. I am hopeful the Melatonin is providing some comfort for her to sleep. And yes, I have a call into my doctor on this.

What other experiences have caregivers had with Melatonin? Has anyone used Melatonin with Remeron?

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DevastatedSon, my parents are in their mid-80s, both have dementia, and they have both been taking 10MG of melatonin every night for more than three years. I take 20MG of melatonin every night and have done so for two years. (Yes, that was me above, too, saying that I couldn't take a whole 3MG of melatonin! That's no longer true, obviously.)

I take 20MG in the form of two 10MG time-release tablets and it really helps me sleep. The only side effect that I've ever heard of for melatonin is that there's suspicion it might decrease your body's natural melatonin level, but with your mother, I don't think that was a factor at all. (Low levels of natural melatonin are not dangerous.) Bless you for taking good care of your mother, and I hope that you will rest easy knowing that you didn't harm her by giving her melatonin.
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No, DevastatedSon, you did not cause your mother harm. The typical starting dose for melatonin is from less than 1 mg to 5 mg. And then some doctors increase it from there. 6 mg is definitely NOT a lethal dose. In fact, no seems sure that there is a lethal dose -- but there are known side-effects. It must have been very traumatic to experience your mother's death as you did. And to add to the trauma, now you are wondering if you contributed to her death.

No.

Your mother died when it was her time to die, and she died as a result of a serious disease she had. You were assisting her to the very last minute. Be proud of that. Be proud of the help you were able to give her this past year. I hope you can move forward with the grieving process without this unreasonable feeling of guilt.
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I am hoping that someone please clarify a worry that has been bothering me every day of my life. My mom was diagnosed with endocarditis in June of 2016 and was considered a non operative candidate for open heart surgery owing to her advanced age. She was 88 years old. So she was treated with 6 weeks of antibiotics. After her course of antibiotics was over, she began to hallucinate at night and sometimes would not sleep for 3 days in a row. So we started giving her very strong sedatives to sedate her. The physician also suggested melatonin. The recommended dose was 3 mg and to increase to 6 mg if no response. My mom would not respond to 3 mg so i would give her 6 mg. The night before she passed away, she was anxious so I gave her 6 mg of melatonin at 8:30 pm and died the next morning at 06:30 am while I was changing her. I always question myself if I caused my mom any harm by giving her the 6 mg of melatonin. I can’t live with myself over this. I’m agonizing over the fact that I might have caused my mom any harm. I’m hoping that someone please help me settle this uncertainty whether I’m culpable or not.
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I know this is an old post, but for people searching for some relief for an elderly parent I thought I would share. My mom, at the time was 88 and had dementia. She wasn't sleeping at night, was confused and would begin taking things out of drawers and moving them all over the house. I put her on melatonin and she began sleeping through the night. I noticed that her mood also improved during the day. She is now 90 and is living in a dementia care facility. They still give her melatonin every night before bed. They say that she still sleeps well during the night. When she moved to the facility they put her on medication to slow the dementia process, but I quickly had them take her off of it because she was becoming agitated and mean. She now only takes blood pressure medication and melatonin.
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I found Coconut Oil capsules in Walmart lately. Made with organic extra virgin oil...no added preservatives, no artificial colors, no artificial flavors...1,000 mg per softgel..two capsules twice a day...much easier to hanldle than scooping out of a can...about $10.00 a bottle....made by Spring Valley ..marymember
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Melatonin is the only supplement our doctor recommends for long term use. You can build up a tolerance to it, so be careful. Certainly, call the pharmacist who is familiar with your mom's meds and he/she should be able to tell you if the Melatonin is okay with the other meds she is on...good luck to you, I am sure you and your wife are really tired!
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Melatonin has been a life-saver for me. My husband had been sleeping through the night with no problems for the 3-1/2 years since his diagnosis of dementia; I've always slept well. Last fall, we went to visit my parents for a week. Total disruption of both our sleeping habits for a variety of reasons. When we got home, my husband did not sleep through the night, would wander outside, would refuse to go back to bed -- I was exhausted after just a week of this routine since I would have to get up and read while he dozed on the sofa. Of course, lots of medications were recommended by various friends. My husband takes no medication at all; I only give him 9 to 12 T. of coconut oil/MCT oil mixture each day. I didn't like what I read about side effects of medications. I had heard about melatonin but in my sleep-deprived state I didn't think of it. However, when I finally started to give it to him after several months of bad sleeping, he started sleeping all the way through the night from the second night. I now hear him go to the bathroom about two hours after he goes to sleep but he always returns to bed and goes back to sleep. He usually goes to sleep @8:30 - 9.00 p.m. and wakes @ 6 a.m. He likes the flavor of the liquid melatonin and looks forward to it. The routine helps, too; when I give him a bottle of Fuel for Thought and several droppers of melatonin, he knows it's bedtime. The doctor said that he himself takes melatonin. Sure beats the cocktail of drugs that seem to be the usual solution to this problem. Oh, he also gets cold more easily than he did before his diagnosis, so I put him to bed with a seed-filled (?) neck warmer that I heat up in the microwave, pile on the blankets, kiss him goodnight and turn out the light.
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If your mother likes tea try sleepytime decaf tea (with or without a spoon of honey). There are a couple flavors including lemon jasmine. That is in our cubbard now.
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Melatonin is very helpful for sleep, and if 5mg is letting her sleep at least 7-8 hours she is probably going to do pretty well with it. For me, 5mg is too much and I'll sleep late the following morning if I take that much -- I take 1/4 of a 3mg pill and that's enough to let me sleep through the night. But my dad regularly takes 5mg before he goes to sleep, and yet sometimes wakes up in the middle of the night with agitation and anxiety. So everyone is different. Wishing you and your family well -- it sounds like you've been going through a lot.
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You know, someone mentioned thyroid. One of my clients told me that she was diagnosed with dementia and it turned out to be thyroid. That should be checked thoroughly before anyone who is diagnosed with dementia accepts that verdict. Thyroid imbalances can cause all kinds of things - go on line and read up on it.
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Jeffrey, and yes the neurologist suggested a B12 vitamin which also helped my mother with her mood and alertness. That maybe why she is on less of the other medicines.
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Also have her B vitamin levels checked, sometimes B deficency can appear as Alzheimers or dementia.
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While I don't know about melatonin, a friend of mine is having great results with coconut oil (because it has medium chain trans fatty acids & ketones) Add 1 T coconut oil (organic, non heated) to a cup of yogurt 3 X daily or any other way that you can get her to eat it. see this article by a doctor who brought her husband back a from Alzheimers care unit to their home where he is now able to work in his wood shop again and enjoy company. ocala./article/20130331/ARTICLES/130339991
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Jeffrey, My suggestion is to take your mother to a neurologist since there are several medicines involved that can be causing problems. My mother has dementia and sleep aphnea amoung other things. She was on Remeron, Trazadon, Namenda (allergic reaction), Clonazapam and also tried Lunesta. Now only about once or twice a month does she need Clonazapam, if that often. Too much Clonazapam seemed to be ineffective and made her angry. Remeron increased her blood pressure on a higher dosage and she had to be taken off the med. She was on a heart monitor because her bp was so high and that is when I found out a substitute psychologist increased her Remeron without telling me. Once off the Remeron, she was able to be taken off other blood pressure medicine as well. Last but not least the Melatonin. The neurologist my mother when to suggested starting out at 3mg for several weeks then increasing to 6mgs. Let the body adjust gradually. My mother has been taking it for over a year now and doing well. It isn't going to take care of the problem 100% but it will help big time. My mother use to pace back and forth and back and forth and... I'm sure you get the idea. She would knock on my bedroom door during the night and wake me up. I even tried to put a sign on the door that said "sleeping". On top of that she had headaches everyday. I was exhausted! It was only me taking care of her so no relief. I understand completely what you are going through. I really hope you will take your mother to a neurologist because you can only speculate on whether the medicines are helping or causing the behavior. I have also been instructed by physicians not to mix sleep aids together. For example, do not take a sleep aid while taking Clonazepam. Another reason to seek professional help. In my opinion a neurologist is your best source. I do hope you get this resolved and all of you get some good sleep. Let us know how you are doing. (Oh, no more pacing or waking me up during the night.)
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Yes, yes, yes, keep giving her this non-"drug". Melatonin is a naturally occurring substance in every body and it decreases as we age, regardless of you having dementia or not. I use it because it helps with migraines. I get a restful sleep and the only real side effect I notice is a dry mouth. I'm probably opening my mouth when I sleep too. My husband has dementia and I have given it to him too without any side effects. So keep her active during the day and give her melatonin at night, and tell your wife it was the melatonin, not exhaustion that caused her to sleep. As far as being agitated in the afternoon, has her doctor checked her thyroid? That one endocrine gland is responsible for so many bodily functions, and when it is low, all kinds of behaviors start showing up. Have her TSH checked. Good luck!
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Risperdol was a huge help for my mom. She is now happier during the day too. She would get up at 1:30 am and throw files away before the doc started her on it. Sweet dreams!
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Im so sorry for your trouble. I also did not get much sleep for the first 6mos or so after the Hubs was diagnosed. That was 4 yrs ago. The yelling and anger in the middle of the night was scary and even if he did go back to sleep sometimes, I did not. Sounds like you might be having some luck with the melatonin. My understanding is that it is not harmful even in larger doses (up to 10-12 mgs) It did work for D but only for a short time. He is now taking a combination of Remeron, 50mg; serequel, 75mg; Trazadone, 100mg and galantamine, which is similar to Namenda. Sounds like a lot of meds (it did to me) but it has worked for some 3 yrs now. Bedtime is 10pm and he sleeps til about 730. And he is not groggy in the AM. He also takes the serequel during the day.
I hope some of this helps, if only a little. God bless
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Both of my in-laws take Melatonin to sleep, recommended by their physician. My father in law has dementia, but not alzheimer's. My mother is deceased and had Alzheimer's. She took Melatonin to sleep also. It is a good supplement, especially since the doctor took your mother off Trazadone. Trazadone helps with sleep also. Good luck!!! My prayers are with you. P.S. Remeron helped my mother tremendously with mood and helped her appetite.
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Haven't tried it with elders and don't know of documented use with AZ, but I did take it years ago when I had trouble sleeping. My sister was a nurse and recommended it as being safer than meds. It is; there's no lingering aftereffect or fatigue.

Turkey dinners are an alternatve of inducing sleep. Turkey contains tryptophan, an amino acid. Ever wonder why folks get so sleepy after turkey dinners?

You could also try turkey dishes alternating with turkey sandwiches, or just some turkey as a snack at night.

No experience with Remeron either; other than times when my father was medicated while in facilities, our philosphy is keep the meds to a minimum and substitute natural sources and activities.

Good luck with some sleep inducing activities; it sounds as though you're not getting much of your own.
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