I am managing my mother's anxiety with success behaviorally by avoiding the unfamiliar, sticking to established routines, and providing large doses of reassurance and support. I prefer continuing this approach for as long as possible. Mom's doctor has offered Resperdal as an alternative. Do the benefits of this drug outweigh the risks or should I avoid pharmaceutical interventions,if possible possible? Mom has mid-stage Alzheimer's.

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Thank you for your response. Your comments are informative and provide added perspective. At this point, my mother is not hallucinating or paranoid. Rather, she experiences occasional episodes of anxiety and agitation. It is not a constant problem at this point. Her anxiety is usually triggered when her sleep-in aide has a doctor's appointment or other personal business and I have to cover for a while. (I do not live with my mother but live nearby.) We try to minimize mom's anxiety at these infrequent times by scheduling them at the same time mom goes for day care or has her own medical appointments. This helps to some extent. So, I'm trying to manage without anti-psychotics for now. If circumstances change, I will have to reconsider my position as you have suggested. Best wishes to you and your mom.
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My father was prescribed Risperdal for Alzheimer's with a dosage that was minimal (don't remember the dosage). I found that it helped considerably with paranoia, hallucinations, and anxiety. Using medication to help the patient to be more comfortable is best. I know all medications have side effects even aspirin, but if you are having extreme anxiety, paranoia, and hallucinations, I believe that the comfort of the individual is necessary. I noticed with my father that he was able to communicate better with family members and be more social, that is plus for the patient. Using behavioral therapy is beneficial but when you are dealing with a person whose cognitive abilities have been compromised due to health issues, using a prescribed medication can be very beneficial. Alzheimer's is very a very cruel disease (my mother has it also). Try to imagine yourself in a situation of where you are hallucinating, having extreme anxiety, and paranoia and your cognitive abilities are severally compromised. Using medication does not mean you have failed. This is a progressive disease, not a normal 4 year old child you are dealing with who is having a temper tantrum. I so wish my mother would take medication for her symptoms because she get so caught up in the anxiety and paranoia that I can't help her. It's not a matter of the caregiver not wanting to deal with the issue at hand or making it easier for the caregiver to deal the individual, instead, it is about providing quality of life and comfort for the individual who is experiencing the symptoms. My mother has days where she is so disoriented and because she not reached a point of being incompetent, I cannot force her to take medication. I hope this helps you make a decision regarding your mother and I am sure you will get more responses from others.
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