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Granddad with Alzheimer's and a frustrated Granny

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Old 05-16-2010, 09:52 PM   #1
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Granddad with Alzheimer's and a frustrated Granny

So Granddad is in probably the 6th stage of Alzheimer's, his primary caretaker being his wife, my grandmother, Granny. He is a very social person and has had much of that taken away with his disease, not being able to get out much. They are fairly broke and can't afford daily daycare, only occasionally and he doesn't seem to care for it anyway. Granny is starting to become really stressed out, angry, and frustrated with him more and more often being the only one that takes care of him. He can be a true handful. A true escape artist, escaping from the locked house (we had to put new locks on this weekend that he doesn't have the key to), constantly asking to be driven to Dallas (which is where he is, I don't know where he thinks he is), not to mention the regular continuous, repetitive nagging questions. He is always taking Granny's things and moving them so that she can't find them. Not intentionally hiding them from her, but in fact doing so.

Anyway, because of all of this Granny contacted his doctor requesting something to calm him down, especially in the afternoon when he can be at his worst. His doctor had prescribed him a low dose of Seroquel for the agitation. I've heard of these atypical anti-psychotics being prescribed for dementia, but mostly if they have psychosis, which I don't think he has. He is mostly just agitated and kind of anxious and busy in the afternoons. I've done some on-line research and found this quote on the Seroquel website:

"Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis (having lost touch with reality due to confusion and memory loss) treated with this type of medicine are at an increased risk of death, compared to placebo (sugar pill). SEROQUEL is not approved for treating these patients."

So I guess my question that I am getting to is has anyone ever been on Seroquel for Alzheimer's? Is it safe? Should we be requesting another medication? Something more like a benzo, lorazepam or clonazepam to settle him down? I know these are probably things we should be asking the doctor also, but I wanted to ask others before the doctor appointment just to get others' perspectives on this situation.

I'm just worried when nobody else in my family seems to be, and that worries me even more. Any help would be appreciated very much.

Thank you,

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Old 05-17-2010, 08:20 AM   #2
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Re: Granddad with Alzheimer's and a frustrated Granny

I never had experience with Seroquel, but plenty of other people on this Board have, and will definitely post.

My thoughts however have to do with your grandma - it is completely understandable that she is fed up, burnt out and miserable. Taking care of an Alzheimer victim is no picnic. As much as she may love him, and however long they may have been together, maybe the time has come to place him in a nursing home. Money has nothing to do with it, if they cannot afford the fees, they can apply for Medicaid. That's what we did for my Mom after I had been her caregiver for 5 years. In a good NH he will be cared for around the clock by 3 shifts of professionals, who will do everything your grandma has to do now and more. It is too hard for an elderly person to do this kind of care.

Until the NH plan can be set up, please do all you can to give Grandma a break - take care of Grandpa for a few hours, encourage any other children or grandchildren to take him for a week or a weekend! Grandma needs some time for herself. Being a caregiver, you neglect your own health and happiness to care for the sick loved one, who usually does not appreciate it but yells at you (or worse.)



Old 05-17-2010, 09:02 AM   #3
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Re: Granddad with Alzheimer's and a frustrated Granny

Amanda, I do have experience with Seroquel. My Dad, who had vascular dementia, was on Seroquel, successfully, for years before he died March 5. His anxiety was caused by the paranoia the disease causes. The Seroquel was the med that actually helped him. My Mom has ALZ and she is also on the Seroquel and has been for several years. I can tell when she doesn't take her meds for some reason. We have tried the Xanax, Ativan, and meds in that class but they caused more problems than solutions. They are quick acting but also short acting and have side effects that we found more troubling than the Seroquel.

There was a study done of meds in the class of Seroquel that showed a very slight statistical possibility of increased death rate. There have been no studies done on most of the individual medications. Actually there has been very little research on psychotic medication in the elderly dementia patient. As Mom's psychiatrist told me.... this med WORKS!! Would you rather have your Mom happy for what time she has left and take that slight chance that something may happen in the distance future or have her anxious and distraught for a little while longer. At that point I made a decision for quality of life. The possibilities of these side effects are only slightly increased and I will opt for the smile Mom has now even if it is for a slightly shorter time. You have to weigh the benefits against the side effects and if Seroquel works for your grand father than it's worth the slight risk.

I am with Martha. Caring for a dementia patient is hard work 24/7/365. She needs a break. She needs to contact the Alzheimer's Association or the Elder Care office in your local to see what help she might be able to receive. Your grandfather can go on medicaid and be placed in an approved facility without your grandmother losing the house. Only half of their assets belong to your grandfather so your grandmother can keep her half. It is something worth checking into. Also the family truly needs to set up and give grandmother some much needed respite. My mom kept my Dad for years and it became obvious (even before her ALZ diagnosis) that she needed help. We took turn on the weekends and sometimes spent vacations with them to give her a break. Something as simple as taking a meal is helpful.

Hope to hear from you soon and the Seroquel is helpful

Love, deb

Old 05-18-2010, 09:07 AM   #4
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Re: Granddad with Alzheimer's and a frustrated Granny

Thankyou for your responses. Our family has been discussing NH recently. My parents and aunts and uncles would be paying for it mostly since my grandparents have very little insurance that would cover the cost. I don't know about medicade and if they qualify for it and why they don't have it. There must be a reason I don't know about. Anyway, that is still atleast a few months away if not six. That would also mean that Granny would sell her place and move in with one of our families, either mine or my aunt's.

I am glad to hear that other's have had experiences with Seroquel. Although, I'm not sure it is the right drug for us. It doesn't seem to help much. Maybe it is the wrong dose. I also worry that it is just a general practitioner prescibing it and not a psychiatrist. And while she probably knows something about the drug, she is probably not as experienced with is a a pdoc would be. But hearing that someone else is on it makes me less concerned about the death warning. I have typed up a list of questions for Granny to take to the doctor's appointment since I don't think I will be able to go with them. I wish I could though. I am in nursing school and understand about educating patients about their disorders, medication, their side effects, how to take them properly and such, and I don't feel that this doctor had done a very good job of doing this with my grandparents. It is so frustrating to me as a nurse-to-be.

Thankyou for your support and posts, and I'd love to hear from anyone else who has used Seroquel, good or bad. Or any other medications that help with moderate to sever agitation and anxiety in patients with Alzeimers/dementia.

Thank you!

Old 05-18-2010, 12:20 PM   #5
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Re: Granddad with Alzheimer's and a frustrated Granny


You wrote:
"My parents and aunts and uncles would be paying for it mostly since my grandparents have very little insurance that would cover the cost. I don't know about medicade and if they qualify for it and why they don't have it."

and here's my reply:
They wouldn't necessarily have Medicaid yet because they didn't need it. There's two parts to the world of elders: Medicare which kicks in when they start collecting on Social Security -- this covers medicines, etc. and will cover hospital stays and rehab visits for the first 100 days of care.

Afterwhich the second part comes into play -- Medicaid. Medicaid pays for nursing home care, or in-home caregivers, etc. The individual to be covered may not have more then $2,000 (at least that is the amt NJ allows). There use to be people frightened that 'they'll lose the house'. this is not true. The spouse, anyone caring for a dependent (under 18), handicapped child or adult, -- can stay in the primary residence. They can own a car, etc. If there is vacation homes, they would be required to divest themselves of it. If there's boats, or second cars, etc. they would be required to divest themselves of those as well to have the personal qualified for Medicaid.

So your relatives should be reviewing the federal medicaid statue in your state and see what they need to do in preparation of the time for NH stays. There is a 5-year look back in terms of money or asset transfers so don't do anything now if you are only 6 months away from placement.

If there is too much money in that individuals' account -- they will be required to private pay the nursing home until all they have is $2k, then medicaid would start paying the nursing home on behalf of the individual there.

This also applies if they pay long term in-home care as well.

I hope this helps you understand things.


Last edited by caringsister54; 05-18-2010 at 12:21 PM. Reason: didn't identify that which was cut from your message

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