My 91 year old mother has been on Aricept since August. She was prescribed to take this by a psychiatrist. Lately she has been complaining about itching, dizziness etc. My brother called me last night to say he wanted me to check with her regular doctor about this because he was tired of my mother calling him and complaining that life was better before she took all of her pills. I just talked with the regular doctor and he is going to wean her off of Aricept and see if any of her complaints cease. He did tell me that we may notice a sharp decline in my mother's mental condition but he said he would do whatever the family wishes. I'm nervous about taking her off of Aricept but then at 91, maybe it won't make a difference in the long run. What are the pros and cons of being on Aricept? Does it really help when you are in your 90's?
My Mom was 96 when they started Aricept, and soon after Namenda. She never improved or stabilized at all, but got serious diarrhea and was taken off both drugs. At 97 she fell and broke her hip, at 99 she passed away. They said it was not Alzheimer's but Senile Dementia. They said the same drugs are used for all kinds of memory loss, not just "Alzhimer's Disease." In my opinion they do not work very well for anyone.
It's not her age but the stage of dementia that she is in. Aricept is designed to slow the progression of the disease in the early stages. It will not stop the disease, it will on slow it down. It does not help in the mid to late stages. So, you have to know where in the stages of the disease your grandmother is, not how old she is...does that make sense?
The psychiatrist said my 91 year old mother is at the advance stage of Alzheimers based on the tests he performed in August. He was hoping that Aricept would help slow it down somewhat. My mother keeps calling to complain and my brother asked me to have the family doctor take her off of it and see what happens. My brother and sister think I should just cancel the appointment in May with the psychiatrist. My mother's family doctor never felt the psychiatrist was needed in the first place but agreed to it only because the life-long facility where my mother was living demanded it. He said she was "just old". He has contacted the assisted living facility and they will begin to wean her off of Aricept tomorrow. I guess now we will see how she does without Aricept. I'm at my witts end trying to deal not only with my mother but my siblings as well. I'm thinking about disowning everyone! I know that's just my frustration coming through but I've had to deal with a number of issues and I'm the one everyone is turning to or blaming for what goes right or wrong.
Going off Aricept and Namenda did not exacerbate my mother's angry side - I guess she didn't rellay have one - but during the time she took the drugs she was certainly more emotional that usual. It was during that time that she tried to get me to leave the house in the middle of the night, yelling, "who are you and what are you doing in my house?" - but once she was off both of them she behaved more like her normal self, "normal' but with ever decreasing memory.
I think it works differently in every case.
Try going off it and see what happens; you can always put her back on it again.
Hi, my grandmother is also 91, about stage 5/6. She also is on Aricept, but has been on it for 4 yrs. now. If your mother is just starting it at the age of 91 and at a later stage of the disease my opinion is that it would not have much benefit.
Aricept is a drug that is much more effective if started early in the disease, but it does not work for everyone. It helped my grandmother tremendously for about 2 yrs., then slowly started to lose effectiveness. Her doctor did try weaning her off it couple of years ago, and she did become much worse, after about two weeks of having none, so the doctor put her back on it and there was an improvement.
I'm not sure how much it's still working for her at this point. She's in a nursing home now, they still give her the pill everynight. I'm ok with that, it doesn't seem to be doing any harm, and maybe it still helps a little.
Dad has been on both for years and I don't think it has done him any good since his is vascular dementia. Mom has been on both for a little less than 2.5 years. She was mid stage when she started and I didn't notice any improvement or stabilization, but I have noticed more psychotic behavior. I would like to take them both off. Dad because after 8 years I don't think it's doing him any good even if it did at one time and Mom because of the psychotic episodes that started with the medication.
I have talked to sister 4 about this several times. She told me to "call the doctor yourself". I did, but she went behind me and told the doctor to only return calls to her. I let it got for the time being because of the transition of Dad to the locked unit, but I am going back to it.
Martha, I don't sleep enough. I must admit that I check the board when I wake up in the morning and the last thing before I go to bed at night, and every time I check my e-mail in between. Sometimes when I can't go to sleep I wonder back in here as well. If I am home my computer is on.
Caring, the meeting went fine. She won't make a scene in public. But the night before was a disaster. I did validate one thing. As long as someone has a set opinion, then nothing you can do will change that opinion until they are ready to change it. Therefore my efforts there are useless.
It all started when I didn't agree to pay for the job she didn't take. According to her what I do is of no benefit to her. I am clueless and the only good information I have is what she gives me. Mom enjoys my calls but they do nothing for her and I can't tell what is really happening from those calls. I might support her decision but not her. She doesn't believe what I say. She intentionally doesn't put out what she thinks and assures me I don't know what she thinks. But somehow I am supposed to react appropriately. Her e-mails are intentionally sterile yet she wants discussion, but she doesn't want anybody to disagree with her. She ask me what she could do and my answer was, accept me for who I am. She said no, what can I do? I repeated my answer and she stomped off to bed. Bottom line, she refuses to say what she needs or wants but blows up when she doesn't think she gets it. No matter what I do there is a reason for her to peck it to death.
I even told her that at one time I was intimidated by her. She does have the superior IQ and in school that is how you rate. With sarcasm she said, I guess I did that wrong too. I tried to explain that it was nothing she had done but something I needed to fix within myself. I was trying to let her know that there are times, when we are miserable, that we have to fix ourselves first. She never got it. She thought I was being critical of her !!!SIGH!!!
Oh well..... I will call tomorrow and find out what is going on.....
My mother mother sent a letter to my siblings and to me. In the letter she states that I had better think what I am doing to her. She said she wants to drop her doctor immediately. She said I have no business to refer her to him and she wants to be taken off of all of her medications. Well, I did talk to her family doctor and he did take Aricept away. He only prescribed it to her because the psychiatrist said she had Alzheimers and needed it. Her family doctor didn't believe she needed to see a psychiatrist in the first place but the social worker where my mother lives demanded that we take her for a diagnosis. I'm fed up and it's beginning to get on my nerves. I've decided to let things happen as they may. If my mother doesn't receive Aricept and takes a downward turn, I guess I shouldn't care. I did call my mother to tell her that from now on I will not have anything to do with her going to a doctor. I said I was tired of her blaming me for all that is going wrong in her life and for her to start calling my brother or sister instead. Of course, my brother and sister have never taken her to any of her doctor's appointments.
Take a step back Jannar. The reason your Mom went to the psychiatrist and was put on aricept was because she has dementia. Dementia causes them to be unable to make decisions for themselves.
As for the letter. I have received those letters, phone calls, and been told face to face the same thing your Mom wrote to you. Does it hurt.... oh heck yeah! But when you know that it is a result of the dementia it takes on a whole new light. That letter is the very reason that you do need to make the important decisions for you Mom, no matter what she says to you.
My Mom is stage 5/6 Alzheimer. The first few years she blamed her symptoms on depression. She left her doctor because he realized there was a problem. Then she blamed it on "Dad driving her crazy" since she was his full time caregiver. But when we would go try to help her she would tell us to go home. Her new doctor, not knowing her before ALZ, thought everything was ok and Mom was thrilled with him. When it was obvious something was wrong and I insisted that she be tested she denied anything was wrong. There was a few minutes that day she realized she had "flunked" the test but by the time we got home she had excuses for why the test were deficient. She was ok and the test were bad. When we insisted she have in home care, we told her it was for Dad, she threw a fit because she was perfectly capable of taking care of him. She couldn't even take care of herself at that time. I was told to get out of her business at that point. When we took her to the psychiatrist because of her melt downs, the uninformed psychiatrist empowered her to tell us to get out of her life. She finally got rid of the sitter. After several near misses and yet another evaluation her drivers license was taken away by the doctor. Talk about a royal fit!! We were being cruel to her, taking away her independence, she was perfectly fine and didn't know why we were doing this to her. She ran us out of the house repeatedly but each time we left she would call with a new disaster that we had to respond to. She actually agreed to move to AL because we were not being helpful enough and Dad wouldn't help her in the house. He couldn't and we were there as much as needed, it was her that couldn't handle living at home any longer but her disease would not let her admit that. Now that she is in AL, those people don't listen to her, we are not there enough, we are there too much, if we would just let her go back home she would be fine because it is that place that is driving her crazy. According to her, just this past Monday, she is fine and she has her brain, it is everybody else that is crazy.... including ME!!
Somewhere along the way I realized that one of the kind things about dementia is that those that suffer from it don't know they have it. They may have fleeting moments when they know something is wrong but are capable of convincing themselves that it is their outside world that is creating the problem and not them. That is what your Mom is doing.
She's scared. Her world has gone crazy around her and she doesn't know why. She only knows what her brain lets her know so she doesn't have a complete rational picture of what is going on like you and I do. She only has what her brain allows. Right now she is blaming the doctor, the meds, and your for her situation when you know it is the disease. You are the rational one.
As for a decision on the aricept.... it has nothing to do with you not caring because I know you do. I have mixed feelings about the drug. Each has to follow their own heart on the med. It is not a cure, does not work equally well for everyone, and has side effects. If it is causing your Mom angst at this time then let it go. If she shows a major decline you can give it back to her in a different time, place, and way so that she will just think it is for a medical condition. It she never takes it again, the end results will be the same. You need to step back for long enough to get your head wrapped around the situation. And I can tell you from experience, that takes a while.
As for siblings !!!EYEROLL!!! we are not all created equally. Some of us have to do and some run away from. Some don't know how to cope and some do ok. We all struggle in our own way. Horrible times bring out the best in some and the worst in others. All you can do is do your best and let the others live with their decisions. As I have learned with my sister, you can't change them. Only they can change themselves. You can only take responsibility for your own decisions.... and take up their slack for the sake of the Mom you love.
Just know that your Mom is not railing against you but against a disease that she doesn't know that she has. Somebody has to be blamed... she tagged you. Not because it is your fault but because she doesn't know what else to do. I have found in all my years of working with dementia..... they rail at the ones they know won't forsake them. In a twisted sort of way it is showing love.
Thank you everyone for your encouraging words. I hate this disease and it is very difficul to deal with. Your information and encouragement has been extremely beneficial. Not only am I dealing with my mother with Alzheimers, but my brother and sister who are having a difficult time with accepting that our mother is anything but "goofy". Hopefully my mother will do well off of Aricept but I guess time will tell. There are days when she can communicate well and then there are others when she is off the wall so it will be interesting to see which person I see when I visit. My mother's husband is also having severe episodes of dementia (illusions etc.). They probably should put a sign on their door at AL that says "enter at your own risk". My heart goes out to the staff at AL for what they have to go through. I'm just hoping that they don't "kick them both out" because neither is easy to deal with. Again thank you--especially Deb with all of your knowledge. I've only had seven months of this and there are definitely days when I can't take it or the blame that is thrown at me.
I understand Jannar!!!!!! It doesn't get any easier. You just find better ways to manage them and youself a little better.
As for the aricept. Are we doing our parents a favor by keeing them in this state of angst a little longer? That is the questions I have been asking myself lately. If Mom was happy, then perhaps delaying her decline would be beneficial, but with Mom as distraught as she has been I find it almost cruel to keep her in this situation a moment longer than necessary. I am a firm believer in quality over quantity. Beyond that, if you look at the graphs which show the disease progression with and without aricept, there is a small change in the slope at the beginning and then it follows the same line of decline as without the meds. It is only giving you a few months more at best.
I laughed at your sign on the door. When you find one, you can get me one too because there definitely needs to be one of those on Mom and Dad's room. Bless the caregiver is an understatement.
To med or not to med is the question. this was the problem I had with Sister and Mom's decline.
While I knew it was delaying the inevitable, it was my question in my heart "why?". Why keep her from declining and possibly dying if her quality of life was so crappy? Who were we doing it for, her or us?
Yes it was true that as soon as we stopped fighting shoving the pills down her throat because she didn't want to take anything anymore, her decline came on us faster than we knew. But the nurses, doctors, and hospice people said that it was because we stopped it that the decline occurred. it just hid how bad everything was.
Since my mother was so negative, all the combativeness came out. I don't think Sister could've taken much more. She feels guilt over not being kinder or nurturer more with Mother, I told her to stop all the negative feelings and look in the mirror and keep telling herself, she did the best job she could under dire circumstances. She did nothing wrong. Mother was clean, fed, dressed, and made to participate as much as possible in life. It would've been so much easier on Sister if she kept her so sedated, never dressed her, never had her come downstairs, etc. But she didn't.
i told her it was because of her that my mother has lived as long as she is living.
But to med or not med is the question. I firmly believe when the quality of life is bad such as not being able to communicate or make their needs known. When they start having bathroom problems and not be able to eat, what are we trying to delay with medicating them?