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Recently I've noticed that Mom has a tendency to become a little bit verbally combative with me at her bedtime. She won't go to bed before about midnight, and frequently delays until significantly later than that. When I tell her it's time to get ready for bed, she'll respond "Who says?" and when I point out that it's getting late she'll say she's not ready yet. So I let her sit a while and then try again, etc.

Last night, I took her to the bathroom around 11 PM, and I noticed that after she was back in her chair in the livingroom, she looked kind of angry so I asked her what was wrong ... she would not tell me at first, made out that of course I already knew what was wrong, but I didn't. When she finally told me, it was that same accusation she raised last fall -- that I had "some man" sitting out in the kitchen. I took it fairly calmly this time and offered to take her into the kitchen to see for herself -- in fact, I told her that anytime she wants to check the kitchen I will take her there. Of course, she didn't want to bother going.

I doubt that this behavior is because she is tired, since she sleeps a lot during the day, but does anyone have a clue why this crops up so late in the evening? And I also should point out that this is not a daily occurrence, it's something that crops up and is an attitude for a few nights and then goes away for a while until the next time.

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Oscarlett, just remember that any SSRI, even a natural one, can send you into mania if given too often. I'm glad you picked a low dose. I would caution readers to look at drug interactions, 5HTP cannot be combined with an MAOI or Carbidopa or bad things happen.
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I LOVE the idea of seeing if there really is a man in the kitchen & having him do repairs!
Next time she says there is a man in the kitchen MAKE her go in with you to see that there isn't - at the very least she gets exercise, and and at best she decides it's not worth mentioning in the future because she'll just have to do something about it. If you think about it she was just talking (easy, gets attention), not DOING anything (requires effort, risk).
My Grandmother (no diagnosed dementia) also had delusions, but may have been triggered by depression & laying in bed staring at the ceiling all day long (and ruminating, as others have mentioned).
ANY outside stimulus you can get may help (drag her to Denny's for coffee, go drive to a park - tell her you need it for your sake if nothing else)
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Oscarlett, the one issue i have with 5-htp is the fact it is also an appetite suppressant. Many older people do not get enough calories to begin with. I worked at a health food/supplement store in college and it was marketed as a diet pill. Melatonin is a safer alternative.
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Thanks soooo much for saving my Mom another nightmarish night. To night she wanted to go natural and skip the Atevan so we both took 100mg. 5-HTP...it really works to increase serotonin levels. No hangover, deeper calm rem sleep.
Google the benefits.
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OScarlett, if Ativan (lorazepam) works, stick with it. More is not always better, as shown in tacy022's experience. Trazadone is a tricyclic, a pretty aggressive medication. All patients are different, but the basic rule is use the least amount of the med that works the best.
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Oscarlett, the dr gave me trazadone and it is horrible. I first got a dose of 50 it worked for about 3 months then my dose had to be increased. I felt hungover all day and you get very vivid dreams and nightmares. I woke up screaming in terror. If you decide to use trazadone, im just giving you a warning about side effects.
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I gave my 3am angry outburst Mother Atevan last night before her bedtime.
She slept through like an angel!
My pharmacist said Trazadone is also a great non addictive sleepaide.
She was rested and even all day today! Grateful.
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I think you need to remember that a delusion is a change in mental status; it may be a symptom of a UTI, or it may be a symptom of worsening dementia. I suspect there is a tie-in between the not wanting to go to bed and the "man in the kitchen".

I seem to recall that you are far from the doctor. Can you acquire a home test kit for UTIs? I would discuss this whole issue with the doctor on the phone.
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@assandache7 -- I've suggested the local Adult Day program, but she refuses to go, doesn't even want to check it out. She doesn't see or hear well, so I do think that she would not be able to participate much if she did go.

@Babalou -- no, she has not seen a neurologist. She hits these spells about being difficult at bedtime every couple weeks or so, it's not a constant. And the bit about the man in the kitchen is only the second time she has ever brought that up, last time was about 3 months ago. If any of it was more frequent, I'd definitely have said something to her doctor.
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Is she being seen by a neurologist? Have the delusions been teported to her/him?
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I suggest keeping her busy during the day.. Have her go to an Adult Day Program.. That way she'll get on a daily schedule it will help her sleep better at night...
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pamstegma, if I told her she can't sleep in the bed and has to sleep in the chair, she'd probably say, "Oh, I will." Actually she insisted on doing so roughly a month ago, and woke me up screaming for me around 5 AM because she tried to get up and use her walker to go to the bathroom by herself, and slipped and fell. She was not hurt at all, fortunately, but I told her then that there will be no more sleeping overnight in her chair!

Good idea re what to tell her about the man in the kitchen ... I'll try that ;)
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AZlife, what if you told her she can't sleep in the bed and she has to sleep in the chair? She would go to bed just to prove to you she is in control. And I would tell her, she better keep the man in the kitchen out of her bedroom too, because there will be no hanky-panky if you have anything to say about it.
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JessieBelle, Mom does take Doxepin for anxiety and gets that med at bedtime because it is also supposed to help her sleep at night (along with 20 mg of Melatonin, but none of it does zip as she often only sleeps a couple of hours).

Ha, we could both use that man in the kitchen as a handyman! Now, I'm reminded of an old poem:

Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn't there.
He wasn't there again today,
I wish, I wish he'd go away...

When I came home last night at three,
The man was waiting there for me
But when I looked around the hall,
I couldn't see him there at all!

Last night I saw upon the stair,
A little man who wasn't there,
He wasn't there again today
Oh, how I wish he'd go away...
-- "Antigonish" by Hughes Mearns
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But a one-off event with your Dad, whereas with your mother it comes and goes, yes? I think that's probably the big difference, so that you should rest assured that there isn't likely to be any parallel.

But all the same it must be painful to be reminded, and of course when your mother seems to be imagining things too it must hit a nerve. All I can do is sympathise. And next time you see the GP or a specialist, mention it - they'll have clearer explanations that will be based on their knowledge of your mother and her individual illness. Hugs.
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Im not sure what her diagnosis is but our neurologist said that with parkinsons and dementia, it is normal to sleep during the day and stay up at night. Something to do with neurotransmitters in brain. In order to combat this, we put a childlock timer on tv so that they go to bed at night.
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Ah! Also the tendency to suddenly want to be talkative about something, as you described -- yes, I get that also but didn't relate it to the argumentative attitude as being same or similar situation. Can't say that Mom has rough days when these things surface, yesterday for example was just a normal day.

I guess what worries me is this: the evening before my Dad passed, he said he heard a fire siren and was alarmed by it, wanted to know where the fire was. Well, he'd been sleeping, and woke up with this and so we finally reassured him that he'd been dreaming (now we think it may have been hallucination), but he died the next morning. So when Mom starts "talking weird", in the sense that what she is saying has no apparent basis in reality, or becomes crabby for no discernible reason, it worries me.
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Maybe she is doing what my mother does on occasion -- ruminating. Evening doesn't set well for my older people, particularly those with Alz. Is she taking any type of medication to help her with agitation if that is a problem?

I like the man in the kitchen. I wish you could send him this way to do some handyman chores for me. I know that it is a strange feeling when your mother says this. It reminds us that we can be on different planets in our minds.

My mother sometimes becomes very combative. I've been shocked a few times when I come into the room and she tears over in anger and launches into what injustice she is mad about. It is usually just something in her own mind that was created by ruminating -- something that has always been a specialty of hers. It's never pleasant to be attacked out of the blue, but it doesn't bother me like it used to. I know it is the vascular dementia and general craziness talking.

I don't spend my evenings with my mother beyond maybe an hour. She usually sits and watches The Waltons and JAG, then goes off to her bedroom to sit on the side of her bed for an hour or two. I just accept this. It sounds like you have to assist your mother more when she goes to bed, AZLife.
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Sympathies, and especially with the difficulty of having a night owl elder who resents being prompted to get ready for bed.

Sigh. Of course it is up to her when she goes to bed. Of course. But what she fails, and my mother used to, to appreciate is that you can't go to bed until she's safely tucked in and settled. And it's Not Fair!

This would also be the time when subjects she hadn't wanted to talk about earlier - like, oh, anything, from calling the vet to her feelings about her sisters - would suddenly need urgent and lengthy (and sometimes repetitive oh God) discussion. I wonder if your mother is doing the same, fishing around in her head for anything that feels like a grievance or a worry and just giving it a punt? Maybe if she's having a rough day or two she's labouring under a sense of dissatisfaction generally, can't process why, and so it comes out like this?

I tried to cultivate a cheerful attitude and do exactly what you are doing - reassure and offer proof. It sounds like you're handling everything extremely well - is there any aspect of it that is worrying you?
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