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Wandering...my Mom with alzheimers is wandering all the time. 2 depakote daily helps a lot, 3 a day makes her sit and not move. She is supposed to take 4 a day, imagine? I follow her around every weekend all day and have no life left, cant do a thing. Is this the disease or can it be controlled. She had wonderful days that she laughs all day and then a horrible one with crying and agression and wandering. She can go from tears to laughter and back again also. Help?

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Well luvmom..my mom's meltdown started last year when she went nutz about my dad's cars that are over there (that I take care of) and the car insurance paperwork..she totally went crazy about the paperwork. I told her I took care of everything. I put the car's in my name with DMV and put the car's under my insurance...DONE...nope not with crazy mom...she went on and on for a couple months driving me crazy over and over that I had not done it right and she did not believe me...it was a ranting lunatic over and over day in day out. She drove me to tears due to the insanity of it all. I finally had enough one weekend and took the phone off the hook..that drove her even more mad that she could not get ahold of me and went to neighbors porches sobbing with some crazy story that the neighbor across the street (in which she developed a hatred like she did all neighbors except the ones she can manipulate or use) had be put in jail due to the cars. Well I guess someone either called 911 or the police cause when I finally listened to my cell phone messages (I was out trying to have a nice day doing different adventures with my b/f) and my aunt was leaving me messages about how she could not get through at my mom's house and someone else was answering the phones. So I went to my mom's house (did not go to my second event) and we (b/f and I) find out from a neighbor that the paramedics took her to the hospital down the street. Well we went to emergency and there is was starting her 5150 they call it in police/ambulance terms when folks go coo coo. So they had her in a 72 hour hold in which she was transported to another county's psych ward and that's were the psych doc there prescribed those 3 meds (plus lorazapam as needed) and she's been on those meds ever since. I let her slide around Feb with not taking meds AND BOY THAT WAS A BIG MISTAKE she started this whole scenario about being constipated in which she was not...and that was another 2 months of HELL due to I let her off them drugs...needless to say NEVER AGAIN will I let her off those drugs and could kiss that doc's feet for doing such an astout job of prescribing right off the bat. The second psych doc just upped one of her meds when she was still being a bit obnoxious last year. She came up with a story a week or so after getting released that the neighbor next door had gotten into our garage and something about the jeep in there...I don't know the whole episode anymore...but the drugs where not totally into her system at that point. Well since the constipation episode early this year I have had no troubles (I found that she was ditching her pills at one point into the tylenol bottle...oh that ticked me off...clever little uh hem). So there you have it why my mommo is on them meds...ta dah!

Depakote® (divalproex sodium) is a prescription medication used to treat the following conditions:

Mania -- Depakote is approved to treat manic episodes associated with bipolar disorder (manic depression)

Epilepsy -- Depakote is approved to treat complex partial seizures and simple or complex absence seizures

Migraines -- Depakote is approved to help prevent migraine headaches (though it does not help treat a headache once it starts

GENERIC NAME: mirtazapine
BRAND NAME: Remeron
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Mirtazapine is a tetracyclic antidepressant similar to maprotiline (Ludiomil) and tricyclic antidepressants, for example, desipramine (Norpramin). Depression is an all-pervasive sense of sadness and gloom. It is believed that in some patients with depression, abnormal levels of neurotransmitters (chemicals that nerves use to communicate with each other) may be the cause of their depression. Mirtazapine elevates mood by raising the level of neurotransmitters (norepinephrine and serotonin) in nerves of the brain. Mirtazapine also blocks the effect of histamine. Mirtazapine was approved by the FDA in 1996.

GENERIC NAME: risperidone
BRAND NAME: Risperdal, Risperdal Consta
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Risperidone is an atypical antipsychotic drug that is used for treating schizophrenia, bipolar mania and autism. Other atypical antipsychotic drugs include Olanzapine (Zyprexa), Quetiapine (Seroquel), Ziprasidone (Geodon), Aripiprazole (Abilify) and paliperidone (Invega). Atypical antipsychotics differ from typical antipsychotics due to the lesser degree of extrapyramidal (movement) side effects and constipation. Risperdal Consta is an injectable, long-acting form of risperidone.

The exact mechanism of action of risperidone is not known, but, like other anti-psychotics, it is believed that risperidone affects the way the brain works by interfering with communication among the brain's nerves. Nerves communicate with each other by making and releasing chemicals called neurotransmitters. The neurotransmitters travel to other nearby nerves where they attach to receptors on the nerves. The attachment of the neurotransmitters either stimulates or inhibits the function of the nearby nerves. Risperidone blocks several of the receptors on nerves including dopamine type 2, serotonin type 2, and alpha 2 adrenergic receptors. It is believed that many psychotic illnesses are caused by abnormal communication among nerves in the brain and that by altering communication through neurotransmitters, risperidone can alter the psychotic state. Risperidone was approved by the FDA in December, 1993.
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Thanks so much Austin . Pirategirl, what were the symptoms your Mom had to put her on the other meds (other than depakote)? And how is she now? And anyone else? Thanks!!!!! I called the Dr today and he said increase depakote by one more. She is on 125mg am/pm so I guess I will add a noon one or 1/2? The neuro wanted zyprexa but I am kind of afraid of that. I crush all my moms pills and pour in the depakote crystals and mix it all up with prune pudding. she loves it. I mix it all in a tiny shotglass to make sure I can spoon it all out easy. Love everyones help. Thank you all :)))))
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Luvmom.. one of my mom's psych meds is Depakote she has 2 others as well. My mom's prescript is for twice daily but it's tough enought to get her to take meds at all so I lump them all together so she can take 1 of everything at one time. She may need an additional med to go along with the Depakote..my mom has Rispirdal and Mirtazapine as well. I would say talk to her psych and they should be able to prescribe the meds that will slow those ramblings slow down.
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Luv you are a saint for doing all of this-but if the time comes you can no longer cope I hope you will be ready for the next step-you are a hero and I do hope you have support for yourself God bless you.
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Mathisa72, how do I do 1/2? They are sprinkle capsules. This worked for you???????????? Please write back !! Thanks so much. Did it help with crying too?
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How about 2 1/2 depakotes? This drug has been a lifesaver for us, but it took some time to find the right dosage. Not enough and my dad remains agitated; too much and he's zonked.
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One more question............. I also wanted to ask you all about when not wandering, mood swings. My Mom can be SO happy, especially mornings. Yesterday she was horrible all day, tried to rip a nametag off someone at daycare, pulled on the doors, and was nasty to all staff. Today, she was laughing, joking , being giddy and silly all day. I just cannot figure her out. She cried a lot and can go from crying to laughter and back again too. Why are some days, hours, minutes, great and for no reason she will have an entire bad days, hour,s or minutes? Any ideas????? Thanks so much to all of you!
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Thank you ALL for the information and ideas. I do use daycare and she has escaped into the parking lot with them also. I deal with the wandering each night and all weekend sometimes, I bought push button keypads for my bedroom doors and chains on the tops of my entry doors. My mom was always one who never sat still. She was the best knitter in the world but cant remember a thing since her strokes last Fall. She was folding towels all the time, I bought 100 of them and brought them to daycare and she folded them over and over and loved it. Now, she cant do it. What a shame, as she thought she worked there and never wandered. The strokes causes half of her vision to go also and she cant even pretend to pay cards or color, tv, or anything. Its horrible. The only thing that keeps her busy is eating. I buy her colorful trix cereal, watermelon, cantelope, etc with bright colors and she will eat slowly for 2 hours or so. She loves to sing and dance, but her legs hurt so after 25' she is done walking and wil sit anyplace, like collapse. I wish she could do something other than eat, sing, and talk , but I cant get her to. Some weekends I have her wander all day, she is "going home!" and no matter what, I cant get it out of her head with any thing else. Sometimes we can get her to watch/listen to old lawrence welk shows we bought, or church shows we tape for her, but not always. This does end??? I am going to read the click-ons now and I want to thank you all. I would love any more medication ideas if any one has had luck. I will look up the one mentioned now also.
Hugs to all!
Luvmom
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These are web sites are somewhat redundant but there is some good info....

http://www.alz.org/national/documents/topicsheet_wandering.pdf

http://www.alz.org/safetycenter/we_can_help_safety_wandering.asp

http://www.alz.org/living_with_alzheimers_wandering_behaviors.asp
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Lyrica,
A great post and full of great information that also helped me.
Thank you!
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Lyrica, what you said deserves to be displayed TWICE!! Great information.
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sorry-- I must have pushed the add answer button twice ! I apologize !!!
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Mood swings are a 'side effect' of the drug. Please talk to her doctor about these changes. I am not a doctor, but I have found that drugs of this sort can sometimes make matters worse.

http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_behavioral_symptoms_ad.asp

You can read more about these types of drugs on the website above, or do some research on your own.

Perhaps there are triggers in her environment that you can change. Your mother is wandering because she is unsettled and perhaps cannot express her concerns. Keep track of when she is wandering, and see if you can redirect her with another activity before this occurs. If she seems to wander more in the evening hours, this can be attributed to activities that she used to be responsible for: i.e. getting the kids from school, driving home from 'work', fixing dinner, cleaning the house, even personal care. If she is unable to do any of these things, she will 'wander' around, much like we do when we are on vacation visiting someone, living in their house but with little if any responsibilities!

i.e. While on vacation at my sisters house, I didn't have to worry about fixing dinner, shopping for groceries, even cleaning up after dinner, and after two weeks, "I" felt restless, etc. Imagine how our loved ones feel!

I found that my Mother felt better 'doing' something when she was her most restless! Even folding laundry, and sorting coins seemed to help. Of course all activities need to be monitored. I do hope this helps.
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Wandering is a phase of deterioration. How long it will last varies from person to person, but it will not last. My Aunt went through it for over a year. What was really exhausting was when she could not sleep and was up all night going through her dresser drawers. Coping is a lot like when you had a little one in your home - a toddler that got into everything. It's just that the person is now older, but it's the same concept- you baby proof your home.
AND-- you make use of every opportunity for adult day care or similar programs that give you a break - try your local Area on Aging and /or Alzheimer's Organization / Sheltering Arms.
As for your home: Get a switch put into the gas line feed or the electricity to your stove so you can disable the stove completely anytime you are not using it your self, preferably out of sight and easy access by your Mom. Get dead bolt door locks, and take the keys out of them at night, and keep the keys on a chain around your neck, so when she is wandering at night she cannot get out of the house. That way if there is a fire , you do not have to look for the keys yourself in the crisis- they are right there around your neck. If all the deadbolts are keyed the same, you only need to wear one key. Then put up everything in the house that she can break, or drink and poison herself, etc.... Use child proof locks for your meds cabinets, knives, tools, sharp objects, glass, chemicals, kitchen cabinets with breakables, , etc.....and then just be willing to let her empty your drawers and use it as an opportunity to clean them out when you put them back. Some of the key to surviving this phase is just letting it be....just like when you made allowances for your toddler- and remember when they were fascinated by banging a pot with a spatula? If your Mom had a hobby that she used to love, you can give her some of the safe tools associated with that hobby, that she cannot hurt herself with, and a card table space that is hers, and let her "play" at doing it.....you might be surprised at what she can still do. My aunt was a CPA, and she would count and roll money for hours....she also loved to clip coupons and pictures she liked out of old magazines.....we made collages together with glue and construction paper and displayed them on the refrigerator! Helped my sanity tremendously when she stayed with me on weekends , and I think it helped hers too.... she felt like she was doing something useful. It wasn't always easy, but it was much more calming than following her around. She would get up and walk around at times , and wander a little , but a few calls and encouragement always brought her back to the table, because she was interested in it. Music playing in the background helped a lot too, to keep her focused...kinda like "white noise" does.
God Bless You for trying to help her anyway you can... it's a challenge and you are a special person to try to help her ...... but with her decreased faculties, she is still inside, and once in awhile you can get her to come out and play. Do not underestimate the need for exercise- long walks, etc., help her to sleep at night too. My Doctor also put my Aunt on Symmetrel for her agitation... believe it or not it helps......be sure you have a good neuro/geriatrician who is willing to talk about effective pharmacotherapeutic agents for you Mom that can also help her keep calmer , and a good day/night sleep pattern going.
Best of everything to you !!! I hope these suggestions are of help !!!!
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Wandering is a phase of deterioration. How long it will last varies from person to person, but it will not last. My Aunt went through it for over a year. What was really exhausting was when she could not sleep and was up all night going through her dresser drawers. Coping is a lot like when you had a little one in your home - a toddler that got into everything. It's just that the person is now older, but it's the same concept- you baby proof your home.
AND-- you make use of every opportunity for adult day care or similar programs that give you a break - try your local Area on Aging and /or Alzheimer's Organization / Sheltering Arms.
As for your home: Get a switch put into the gas line feed or the electricity to your stove so you can disable the stove completely anytime you are not using it your self, preferably out of sight and easy access by your Mom. Get dead bolt door locks, and take the keys out of them at night, and keep the keys on a chain around your neck, so when she is wandering at night she cannot get out of the house. That way if there is a fire , you do not have to look for the keys yourself in the crisis- they are right there around your neck. If all the deadbolts are keyed the same, you only need to wear one key. Then put up everything in the house that she can break, or drink and poison herself, etc.... Use child proof locks for your meds cabinets, knives, tools, sharp objects, glass, chemicals, kitchen cabinets with breakables, , etc.....and then just be willing to let her empty your drawers and use it as an opportunity to clean them out when you put them back. Some of the key to surviving this phase is just letting it be....just like when you made allowances for your toddler- and remember when they were fascinated by banging a pot with a spatula? If your Mom had a hobby that she used to love, you can give her some of the safe tools associated with that hobby, that she cannot hurt herself with, and a card table space that is hers, and let her "play" at doing it.....you might be surprised at what she can still do. My aunt was a CPA, and she would count and roll money for hours....she also loved to clip coupons and pictures she liked out of old magazines.....we made collages together with glue and construction paper and displayed them on the refrigerator! Helped my sanity tremendously when she stayed with me on weekends , and I think it helped hers too.... she felt like she was doing something useful. It wasn't always easy, but it was much more calming than following her around. She would get up and walk around at times , and wander a little , but a few calls and encouragement always brought her back to the table, because she was interested in it. Music playing in the background helped a lot too, to keep her focused...kinda like "white noise" does.
God Bless You for trying to help her anyway you can... it's a challenge and you are a special person to try to help her ...... but with her decreased faculties, she is still inside, and once in awhile you can get her to come out and play. Do not underestimate the need for exercise- long walks, etc., help her to sleep at night too. My Doctor also put my Aunt on Symmetrel for her agitation... believe it or not it helps......be sure you have a good neuro/geriatrician who is willing to talk about effective pharmacotherapeutic agents for you Mom that can also help her keep calmer , and a good day/night sleep pattern going.
Best of everything to you !!! I hope these suggestions are of help !!!!
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Lovemom--Good question, and guess it can be very tiring on one. Is there a way to have you Mom get into Adulr Day Care=to give you some peace of mind? As for her wandering, you need to contact your neurologist on this for a professional opinion. In the meantime the following is what I have for you~
Wandering - One of the more dangerous behaviors among individuals with dementia, wandering may be goal-directed (e.g., the person thinks that he or she is going to a job or going "home" to a childhood residence) or non-goal-directed (i.e., the person wanders aimlessly). To reduce the frequency of wandering, make sure the person has plenty of supervised activity to channel his or her energy. Redirecting the person to another activity can also work. Interestingly, dementia sometimes affects perception in such a way that environmental approaches can help reduce wandering. For instance, a black square painted on the floor in front of a doorway - or simply a black doormat - may be perceived as a hole, which can prevent the person from leaving the home.
Thus you need to get to the bottom of this behavior-sooner rather than later. Another good resource/and suport form is your local chapter of the Alzheimer's Association-or call there hotline at (800) 272-3900.
Best to you with you caregiving~
Hap
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