Husband with early Alzheimers: Question about medications
My husband is 68 and was diagnosised with alzheimers two years ago, he has done very well and is currently on both donepezil and Namenda. He has complained recently of more anxiety and frustration. He is very alert in the morning but struggles as the day goes. If I ask his doctor to increase his medications would that help with his anxiety and frustration? He says he feels "on the edge" a lot. He is a very low key, quiet man. Any suggestions?
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Welcome to Connect @clayton48. What a great question!
I found this article about agitation and anxiety from Alzheimer’s Association. It simply outlines possible causes, tips to prevent agitation and how to respond
I’m also tagging fellow Connect members to join this discussion thread and share their experiences with Alzheimer’s and anxeity. @salena54 @19lin @caregiver49 @mmurray22dad @denver90 @nhunter1217 do you have any thoughts or tips for Clayton?
Clayton – do you or your husband notice any triggers (time of day, lighting, medications, food, sleep, etc.) that might lead to the “on edge” feeling?
THank you Colleen, the article is very helpful. I feel very lost most of the time, but I’m sure that is normal. I found this site this morning so I’m hopeful that it will help me understand it better and in turn help him cope better. THank you, Carolyn Apt
Hi – I cared for my dad with Alzheimers. I will say that I noticed when he started taking Namenda it made him very anxious and frustrated, so they lowered his dosage. He was the same as your husband very low key and quiet, so the change was very noticeable. You are awesome to notate these things and be his advocate with the doctors. The medications will be a key factor in his care.
Thank you for the information, I appreciate the input. I put my faith in the Lord, and feel blessed that he still doing well. It scares me when I see noticeable changes. It is good to have other input.
@clayton48 we brought your questions to a pharmacist here at Mayo Clinic. She writes:
“Treating Alzheimer’s Disease can be difficult as some of the side effects of medications may be difficult to distinguish from signs and symptoms of the disease. Both donepezil and Namenda may cause anxiety, nervousness, aggression, confusion and fatigue. Depending on what his current dose is, and if the provider thinks these symptoms are from the disease rather than the medication, there may or may not be room to increase it. There may also be other medications to treat the new symptoms he is noticing. It is a good idea to keep an open line of communication with his provider regarding these changes and never hurts to talk about adjusting medication doses. Often times we see dose adjustments and medication changes in patients with Alzheimer’s disease as their symptoms change. You are asking great questions, and I’m glad to hear he is still doing well. It can also be exhausting to be the caregiver, so remember to take care of yourself, too! Best wishes.”
@shellsk24 this is definitely in line with the experience you had with your father too, isn’t it?
My wife takes the medications you mention plus the Rivastigmine patch. Her outward symptoms vary from day to day even hour to hour so when restlessness or nervousness seems apparent I chalk it up to the emotional roller coaster ride that must be her life. I try to keep her day to day activities those she feels most comfortable with and in an environment she is very familiar with.
Welcome to our burgeoning Alzheimer’s group @saltyfrog. What are some of the activities that comfort or relax your wife the most?
@clayton48, what about your husband? What do you like to do together to help lessen the anxious moments?
My wife was an artist (oils, water colors and sculpting) and enjoyed crocheting and making quilts from her own patterns. She has given up all those activities out of frustration. It’s difficult for her to follow story lines thus t.v. doesn’t hold her attention long. Always a fan of crosswords, she will still attempt one every day. She is most comfortable being on Facebook, playing internet solitaire and playing a game called Shisen which we have downloaded on the computer. Visiting with her grand and great grandchildren makes her happy for a while.
You are a wonderful caregiver. I trust you and every caregiver out there
has a group of similar persons to share with. I sometimes go and sit with
a dementia person in our church so his wife can spend a day with her senior
caregivers group. Persons helping persons is what makes our community
strong and resilient. Blessings to all caregivers!
Hi @clayton48 – @colleenyoung already linked to the Alzheimer’s Association and I wanted to mention that many local chapter offer support service for folks in the early stages that might be helpful to look into to support your husband. Also, Alzheimer’s is a difficult diagnosis to deal with and tending to your own wellbeing as a caregiver is so important. The Alzheimer Association has lots of support resources for caregivers (http://www.alz.org/apps/we_can_help/support_groups.asp) and you might also check out the information Mayo Clinic has on Alzheimer’s caregiving: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/caregivers/in-depth/alzheimers-caregiver/art-20045847
This resource from NIH also has many links to support: http://nihseniorhealth.gov/alzheimerscare/caregiversupport/01.html