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Old 10-01-2008, 09:12 AM   #1
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My father was diagnosed with blood cancer and went through 3 chemotherapies starting in May. During this process he developed dementia. He was in the hospital for the cancer and then he was put in a rehabilitation center because he could not walk. He was not ever able to walk and my mother had him sent home but she was not able to take care of him so he was put back in the rehab center in the Long term care wing. His dementia has worsened and he is yelling all night and is very agitated and he has a big bruise on his arm because he hits his arm on the side of the bed. They are going to have to move him now to a Psychiatric hospital until they can find a medication to calm him at night so he is not up all night yelling. I have visited him during the day and he is quiet but at night he acts up. Has anyone else experienced this with one of their parents? I am hoping they can find the right medication or combination of medications to help him. He is 80 years old and he probably had dementia before the cancer but I think the chemotherapies really did a job on him...

Old 10-01-2008, 11:50 AM   #2
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Re: Dementia

George, you are probaly right on both counts - that he was already along the road to dementia, but still able to function with lots of help from your mother -- but the hospital stays and the various trearments made his dementia ever so much worse.

There are medications that are often used to calm down a dementia patient. I don't know the names of them, but they are either anti depressives (and who wouldn't be depressed knowing he was losing his own personality) or tranquilizers. Sometimes anti psychotics are used. You might want to speak to his doctor.

The other point I want to make it that none of this has external causes - in other words he is not screaming because someone there in the NH did something to him or because he feels ill or is in pain - it is just the disease speaking. It is really awful for those around him, but in the NH they are used to it and know what to do.

Usually the patient calms down eventually, accepts this as his own home, and stops protesting.

I am sorry this has happened to yur father. In my case it was my mother, previously smart, lively, laughing and telling jokes, singing, swimming and going on trips -- later recuced to an incontinent old woman in a wheelchair who wasn't sure who she was, nor who these visitors were. She passed away last December.

It's a long hard road. Be there for your Mom, who has lost her life partner already, even though his body is still alive ... it is hard.

I hope you can get some direct help from other people on this site who have gone or are now going through this screaming/crying stage with their loved one..



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Old 10-01-2008, 04:26 PM   #3
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Re: Dementia

Hi George,
Welcome to the board, and at the same time, sorry you have to be here and that your father is going through such a struggle with his health. I know it is heartbreaking to watch.
My grandma suffers from dementia, and goes on many yelling and crying spurts, very often in the wee hours of the morning. I remember someone on here one time told me, and it made a lot of sense to me, that crying was an expression of helplessless. Much like a baby. Until babies learn to speak, they "cry" to let you know they need something. This really made sense to me. In grandma's case, she cant communicate any more....what is in her mind....and what she's thinking.....she feels helpless, and so she cries. This is what I believe is happening now when she does this. Heartbreaking, but all you can do is be there and hold their's tough.
You'll find lots of wonderful support here, there's no better place to vent and to find a shoulder to cry hopefully you'll feel at home here.

Love, Caroline xo

Old 10-01-2008, 06:30 PM   #4
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Re: Dementia

Welcome to the board George... just sorry you have to be here. Everything Martha said is right. What you are seeing during the evenings is not unusual. It is part of the phenominon known as Sundowning. Nobody know why it happens but evenings and nights are much worse for those with dementia. Some are more disturbed by what is going on in their heads than others. There are meds that will help. The doctors just have to find the right med or combination of meds and the timing of those meds.

My Dad gets his 4:30 happy pill and is usually happy. Mom gets her antidepressant and her happy pill but at differen times of the day. We have yet to hit on a combination that works consistently for her. She is fighting this disease and the confusion in her head with all that is within her. So it is trial and error. It is easier to admit the patient into a facility until they can be stabalized. You don't want to completely zonk them out but you want to take the edge off their aggitation, paranoia, and aggressiveness. They can also monitor any side effects.

You do need to remember that this may be the only way your Dad can express his frustration with the confusion that is in his head. His world has been turned upside down for no apparent reason. He doesn't know it is just in his head because what he perceives is real to him. I just hope they find the right combination to help him calm down.

So grab a towel to wring until you find resolution and a few rocks to throw if necessary. All of us here understand your frustration... I will keep you both in my thoughts and prayers....

Love, deb

Old 10-02-2008, 05:00 AM   #5
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Re: Dementia

Thanks everyone. It is so hard dealing with this and I really feel bad for my mother and I just hope they can make my father more comfortable. I just hope he is not in any pain physically. I know he is very frustrated because when I went to see him recently he said that he had lost everything and he did not know why this has happened to him.

Last edited by GEORGEP; 10-02-2008 at 05:00 AM.

Old 10-02-2008, 07:31 AM   #6
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Re: Dementia

Originally Posted by GEORGEP View Post
he said that he had lost everything and he did not know why this has happened to him.
There's your answer. My Mom has said essentially the same thing. One of the evils of dementia is that the patient is unaware of what is happening to them after the beginnings of the disease. They just know that their world has turned upside down. They are plunged into a world they don't under and don't know how they got there.

A patient with cancer understands that the cancer is causing the pain, and why they need treatment. They are aware of what is happening to their bodies. My mom battled breast cancer with surgery, chemo, and tomoxafin. She was strong, positive, and determined to beat the disease.... and she did. She understood... there is hope with cancer. There is no hope with Alzheimer. It is a sentence of slow death. When she realized she had cognitive problems she turned into an angry depressed person and has followed that path for years. She no longer understands why she is angry and depressed. She just knows that something in her life is horrible. Her world is turned upside down and she knows it is not of her doing. If she could just get back to somewhere else she would be ok. She tries to deal with it but it is too much for her, thus the periodic psychotic episodes.... which as she deteriorates become more frequent. I can only imagine her anxiety, paranoia, angst..... and she doesn't have the mental capacity to understand, deal with, or express these emotions. I can not even imagine the house of horror she is living in.

My Dad is very different. He slipped into his dementia without much fanfare. He doesn't know he is confused but is happy where he is.

The doctor did explain that it depends of the areas of the brain that are affected. Alzhemier's seems to effect the the entorhinal cortex—that area of the brain in front of the hippocampus which is vital for memory consolidation first. This level is when we begin to think there might be something wrong. Next is the cerebral cortex where memories, language, reasoning and consious thought are damaged. The temporal and frontal lobes are also key because it control our emotions and behavior as well as memory. This disturbes the complex process that control behavior. It is at this point that behavioral disruptions occur. This is when most are diagnosed. From there the damage spreads until they lose a sense of self and control of body function. This seems to be Mom's progression....

Dad's dementia is vascular caused by vascuar events in his brain. His seems to be more contained to memory. He has not shown the extreme impairment in language, reasoning, or consious thought that leads to extreme behavioral problem. He sometimes show amazing ability to think... just doesn't remember what he has processed after it has come from his lips. Even though he was many years into his dementia when Mom started.... it was him that first realized that Mom was "acting just like a demented old woman". He was standing at the back door, after eating lunch, watching her. When I walked up he spoke that revolation to me. He stood there a couple of minutes and then ask me if he had eaten lunch. That was when I began to observe and it lead to Mom's diagnosis.

Each patient is different but there are reasons for this difference and we have to deal with what is the best way we can at the moment... and now that nothing we can do will fix it. What they experience is not physical pain but an overwhelming confusion, anxiety, paranoia, and do not have the capacity to deal with or express these emotions appropriately. Little deb was right. Babies cry because that is the only way they can express their emotions and needs.... our parents with dementia are doing the same.

I do wish for you that your Dad will find comfort, which will be of comfort to you and your mother.

Love, deb

Old 10-02-2008, 10:33 AM   #7
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Posts: 309
Re: Dementia

Thanks for all the information. I just want him to calm down and be more comfortable.

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