View Full Version : Ativan and my mother with Alzhiemers

04-03-08, 11:10 AM
Sorry if a little off topic, but I really don't have the energy to get involved with another forum. I mainly just need to get this out because I'm feeling horrible, but maybe someone here might be able to offer input.

The mom has late stage alzheimer's and my dad has chosen to keep her at home and care for her. He has only minimum outside help, about 8-10 hours a week. He had a total hip replacement last month and needs two new shoulders also. His mind is good, body a wreck, 3 back surgeries, big screen put in for hernias cause by having had a small stomach tumor removed, prostate cancer last year, and on and on........

Mom is "bouncing off the walls", into everything like a two year old, plus very defiant and taking her clothes off 5 times a day. This goes on all day long.
Until now dad has been giving her a 1mg Ativan when she is really running amok, which has been maybe 5 per week, helped somewhat.

To the point...........Yesterday on my suggestion I convinced my dad to try a 3 per day routine for his sake because he is losing it. Rx is 1 or 2 every 4 hours. Now I feel horrible because she fell 3 times yesterday, was wobbly and drunk like. Still really out of control so a hospice nurse came to check last evening, she said give her more! She gave her 2 then and said wake her up at 11pm and give her two more! I said are you sure that's not what is making her drunken like? She tried to reassure me that I was absolutely right in my thinking, but via a call with a doc on the matter, they are saying more, more, more. She weighs about 90lbs now.

By the time I called my dad this am he had already given her two. I was calling to suggest that maybe we should start with 2 per day and gradually increase.

I really have a lot of issues with my mother and have tried not to let this bother me, but I'm really feeling horrible about opening this can of worms. It's terribly painful to watch both of them suffering. I don't trust that these docs are advising correctly and it is still not sitting right with me even when they said it was not my fault.

Would anyone agree with me about a gradual increase, instead of jumping into this 6 to 10 pills a day.

Thanks for letting me get this out...

04-03-08, 03:19 PM
Would anyone agree with me about a gradual increase, instead of jumping into this 6 to 10 pills a day.

I am not a doctor, nor do I have experience with Alzheimer's, but have you looked at some Alzheimer's-specific drugs on the market (such as memantine, rivastigmine, or donepezil)? They may not bring any long term improvement, but in the short term they might allow your mom to function better without being tranquilized.

04-03-08, 04:15 PM
Thank you for replying. I did briefly look those drugs up. She had been on Aricept (donepezil) I think took her off because because they felt their was no benefit. From what we understood it was primarily to slow the progression. I think she beyond that; can't feed herself, in diapers, cant really talk, just mumbles, etc. I will look into the other two though.

Sure enough she was a zombie today after the 2 pills this morning, but still trying to move around. We wont be giving her any more any time soon. Her regular nurse was in today and was quite upset with what the nurse and doc did yesterday. Thing is my dad doesn't know any better and is relying on what they tell him to do.

The volunteer companion that visits today said that my mother is the most active late stage Alzheimer's person she has ever worked with.

We might look into seeing if there is any kind of benzo that comes in a patch. Of course the lowest dose. Cant do an XR type because she would bite it. We have to hide pills in applesauce, ice cream, etc. and then sometimes she still detects it and spits it out.

BTW she is on no other meds........

04-03-08, 06:07 PM
Have you raised your concerns with your Mum's Dr.? I'd strongly suggest this as the first course of action, (as opposed to arbitrarily increasing it yourself).
Whilst I don't have any experience at all with Alzhiemers, usually there are multiple ways of treating a condition, and if one way is not improving her quality of life, (which is the aim here), then medication should be altered.

If this has already been done - Is there any way of obtaining a second opinion? Whilst we should respect Dr's opinions they are only human and do make misjudgements.

04-03-08, 08:42 PM
wrong to over medicate - ask doctor

04-03-08, 09:52 PM
Sounds like a lot for you and your father to handle. Have either of you considered a long term care facility? Many now have special dementia/alzheimer's units.

I've cared for alzheimer patients in a long term care facility, home care, and in the hospital on a surgical ward where we usually have to put them in a posey vest and wrist restraints so they don't try to get up and walk on a newly replaced hip. They're usually given .5mg Ativan which calms them slightly for a few hours.

I can see how it can be dangerous with your mother walking around drowsy after having taken the ativan. I guess giving her more and more ativan would eventually cause her to pass out and fall asleep. Hopefully in a bed!

Maybe there are psych meds that would calm her down?

Well, I know some of what you're going through. So I wish you the best.:)

04-04-08, 09:09 AM
Thank you all for your input.

My dad will hopefully realise that at some point he will have to put her in a care facility. It is very difficult to watch what it is doing to him. Finances are a big part of it also.

Their regular doc is a GP who they have been going to for 40 years, he is almost 80!
Have tried to encourage him to go elsewhere but he wont.

All I can do is continue to try and not let the whole situation bother me. With my recent ADD/Depression dx I have quite a bit to work on myself.

Did anyone see the recent PBS show with Dr. Amen where he said that untreated ADD could be a contributor to developing Alzheimer's? Scary

04-04-08, 11:57 AM
((((MSCreek))) This is such a hard situation to be in, and my heart goes out to you.

I would echo the call to the Dr.

Not sure what the hospice nurse is thinking? Sometimes Ativan can cause paradoxical reactions where ppl become more agitated and hyper. I would think that more might be dangerous. What if she falls and your father can't help her up? Sounds like the nurse is suggesting you just sedate her and let her sleep all day?

My grandmother died 2 weeks ago. She had Alzheimers. My grandfather was adamant that he was going to care for her at home till the end as well, but eventually realised that he couldn't do it on his own, when she began having real trouble walking. She also fell out of bed, and he couldn't help her up again (he was in his late 80's). She ended up in a really small long term care facility which specialised in Alzheimer's patients, and she was treated very well. You and your family are in my thoughts.

04-04-08, 05:54 PM
Their regular doc is a GP who they have been going to for 40 years, he is almost 80!
Have tried to encourage him to go elsewhere but he wont.

This is exactly the issue my parents faced not long ago. Us kids managed to convince them to move to someone else. I can see their point of view - they are essentially putting their faith in a 'child'. That is: going to see a Dr. who is 30 years younger seems to them as though their asking a toddler to diagnose their condition.

However, we managed to convince them on the merit that their current Dr. was really so far behind the times and entrenched in 'what he knew'. Being good at anything requires constant education - keeping up with current ideas and thinking.

So, see if you can convince your dad to seek someone else. It just might just change everything completely. The older you get the more resistant to change you become, so keep trying.

I hope that you can find a good solution to this. I can only imagine what it must be like for you to have to go through this.

04-04-08, 09:43 PM
Oh dear, now dad has a huge stomach hernia. He just told me today. Has not had it checked yet.

He had the surgery about two years ago were they put some kind of screen in to help prevent this. Out of all three back surgeries and hip replacement I could see the fear because he said that having that screen put in was the worst. I remember when I visited him in the hospital he was actually crying for days.

I have no spiritual beliefs, but something please have mercy on my folks and let them be, no more please.

Thanks everyone again for letting me go way off topic again.

04-04-08, 11:06 PM
I am so sorry you are going through this. I am going through a similar situation: We sold our house and move a couple hundred miles to help my mom and dad sell their farm and move to a smaller house. It took our life savings plus the equity in our house to finance all of that. Now they are in a smaller home that we maintain on weekly basis. Dad is in late stage Alzheimer's. Mom fell and broke her hip last summer, but is healing well.
We now live in a leaky/nasty/bug ridden house in the worst area of this town. It's kind of sad... Dad had a PHD. Mom has a Master's. So does my sister. I barely made it through HS, and here I am, taking care of them all. (Sis has a chronic disease.) There is no chance that I can ever retire. We spent everything we have on them.
The one med that seems to help Dad the most is Seriquil. (hope I spelled that right.) It seems to help him to sleep at night, and not have nightmares. The really horrid thing is that it will only get worse, no matter what we do.

04-05-08, 11:52 AM
Lostt, that is just horrible (((((((hugs))))))))

Maybe someday we will get some kind of life reward for going thru this that will give us some inner peace.

Being in MI I understand the housing burdens. Folks have a condo that had too many stairs (quad), had to get mom out of there. It is rented out now. They are now in an "in law" addition that my dad had built onto my sisters house.

I don't see being able to sell that condo any time soon. Unfortunately they paid cash an now all that money is tied up. Could have been a nice amount to work them into a care facility.