Hello. My 65 years old husband of 30 years was diagnosed this spring with early stages of dementia. Early enough that he is in mild impairment stage. This is allowing us to still have a fairly good life and lots of fun together.

However he becomes very anxious about anything related to a time/appt. “when are we going?” Shouldn’t we leave now” for an appt that is 4 hours away, etc.

Flights have become the most difficult. he’s always loved to fly, used to say he would fly to work instead of driving if he could.

Unusual for us but we have several trips only weeks apart coming up: just very anxious about leaving home again any tips on how to manage that anxiety? he’s generally ok once we get on the way to where we’re going it’s just getting him to the airport/on the plane.

thank you

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Anti anxiety medications can work but it might take time to get medication and dose correct.
For the next time you have to leave for an appointment try any of these.
Don't tell him about it until about 30 minutes before you have to go. This will cut back on the amount of time he has to think about it.
Set a timer for when you have to leave, give a little extra to get coats on and get out just in case he begins to fixate on something else.

If it is for a trip, pack while he is unaware of you packing. Get suitcases to the car in advance, even the day before if you need. That way the stress of getting ready is gone and all you have to do is walk out the door just like you are going to the store. (If you call for a ride to the airport just have all the bags ready to go, even put a blanket or throw over them so he does not notice them.)

Be careful giving him things like Benedryl to calm him or make him sleepy as they can also make him unsteady on his feet.
When you make your reservations you might even want to ask for handicap assistance to the gate. Just tell your husband this will get them there faster. But for you will take the stress out of trying to get through the crowds with your hubby that may become anxious with the noise and people.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to Grandma1954
Monica30 Dec 14, 2019
Thank you these are helpful ideas esp the timer I had considered packing while he is napping. The hardest part about this stage is that he is still pretty aware-that is why I’m trying to do some things and take some trips while we can.

he is already on anti anxiety meds (cant imagine how anxious he would be without :)
the more you can educate yourself the better for both of you . dementia is going to end in death but there are a lot of behavioral changes that will take place along the way .

you can learn not to dispute the patient's concerns and delusions , redirecting the conversation instead .

you'll save both of you a lot of agitation by learning all you can about the ( terminal ) condition .
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to anonymous158299

Perhaps his doctor can give him a short term prescription for an anxiety med. What he is experiencing is not unusual for a senior with dementia.
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Reply to DollyMe

My husband , close to yours in age, has also been diagnosed with dementia and we travel quite a bit. One of his major issues is location so he won’t be able to find his way back. I bought an Apple Watch so that he can call me and I can call plus track him. There are also other location devices available as well. I also bought a medical bracelet with info. I’d suggest that you be proactive with these as the first time he got lost was on a trip. I turned around and he wasn’t there and didn’t have his phone. Panic sets in. Do not use Benadryl as it has a detrimental effect on memory. My husband took it nightly due to severe tinnitus which he weaned off but I think it had a negative effect. His hearing aids greatly reduced the tinnitus. We go to acupuncture weekly ( with cupping too)which reduces anxiety and promotes a sense of well-being It is so relaxing we fall asleep. Closely monitor any medication he’s on. I felt Aricept had a detrimental effect and he doesn’t take it any more. He takes a variety of herbal supplements that mimic its benefits ....I’m always conscious of what he takes and his reactions to it. I now check my luggage to free me, I go to gate agent who allows us to get on plane with the the wheelchair bound, I let the tour director know the circumstances and often, fellow travelers can sense the need to help as well.
Unfortunately , beside caregiving, you will need to be his advocate.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to Pat1124
Monica30 Dec 31, 2019
Thank you for the info he stated with 5 mg of Aricept for a period of time, then 10 and seemed to help. Now he is recently at 20 mg (oct) and I feel like he is worse but hard to tell if there is a correlation

have you found the herbal supplements help?
In the military, we have created notebooks with basic information and need to remember information. We call them "smart books". You might want to consider creating a smart book for him from a loose leaf binder with different sections. Write down all the appointments - where, when, who... and make sure to include when to pack and when to leave for the air port. When hubby starts to get anxious, ask him to look in his smart book to see if you together already covered this decision. He can look it up and be reassured that the decision has already been made and recorded.
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Reply to Taarna

My Aunt had Alzheimer's and Dementia (She's no longer with us),she became very anxious before she got bad off n her doctor gave her .5mg of Ativan n it helped her alot.As her disease progress,they had to up her Ativan to 1mg.Ativan is a very mild anti-anxiety med.Maybe that will help ur husband to better deal with his anxiety.May God bless you both.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Cathee
Monica30 Dec 31, 2019
Thank you for The info Cathy I think I’ll pursue with Doc. Even though he is already on aricept just seems certain infrequent times he could use a ‘boost’
Medical marijuana has helped several of our residents in our memory care community.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to anonymous975692

My MIL had this problem when she would get dressed for appointments at 3 am. It may be best to not tell him of scheduled events until it is actually time to go. As a side story, MILs teen grandson one time told his grandma that he would see her tomorrow. When MIL called in the middle of the night his mom handed the phone to grandson
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to MACinCT

If not overused, a low dose of Alprazolam (Xanax) might take the edge off the anxiety.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to RedVanAnnie

Hi Monica,

Everything I've read and experienced with my mom tells me that new environments and/or changes in daily routine can be very unsettling for many people let alone someone with dementia (fear of the unknown).

I found when possible I prepped Mom by telling her well in advance of any changes in schedule such as doctor appts. and made a point of giving her specifics ie. where we would be going, who we'd see, what time we would leave and even where we would park. Granted it's in my nature to be very detail oriented (and I love planning ahead) so it was easy for me to do.

Take this time while your husband is dealing with mild dementia to research as much as you can and determine when family and friends will be made aware of the diagnosis if they haven't been already so that you have a support system in place down the road. And make sure that if at all possible you establish healthy habits for yourself, this is a marathon not a sprint so self-care is essential. Wishing the best.

It's excellent that you're taking the time to become
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Reply to BaileyP3

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