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My step-mother has dementia

Posted by ellenr z6 NJ (My Page) on
Sun, Dec 27, 09 at 4:59

very difficult situation for my father, who is 90! and the prime caretaker. Altho the children of both of them help.

I just found out that her doctor has her on Risperdal due to some belligerent episodes. Risperdal is banned by the FDA and the manufacturer to be given to the elderly with dementia because it doubles the risk for early death. In fact they sent a letter out to doctors telling them not to prescribe Risperdal for this population.

So I am between telling this to my father, and not having any alternative to offer. I am going to talk to the doctor and ask her if she informed my father of the risks. If he was informed, then I am out of any decision-making or second guessing, as he is the one who must make the decision.

Any one in a similar situation?


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: My step-mother has dementia

  • Posted by morz8 Z8 Wa coast (My Page) on
    Sun, Dec 27, 09 at 17:33

I think talking to the doctor before your father (who must already be under increased stress) is a wise choice. The drug therapies for elderly dementia patients can be so individualized, the doctor may have reason for prescribing this drug given her particular history - you'll know once you've asked.

All I can add is that my good friend took her mother-in-law into their home for the last 5 years of her life with dementia, very rough on the household (and mother) for the first few months with episodes of paranoia, anxiety and aggitation....which couldn't be attributed to strange surroundings, she moved from next door back into the larger family home where she had raised the son who was now 'raising' her. The neurologist prescribed Aricept and shortly after she was sleeping more hours than anyone would like to have seen, but sweet and peaceful the hours she was awake. That continued to the time of her death 4 1/2 yrs later at age 90, at home and quietly.

RE: My step-mother has dementia

Hope you have had a chance to talk with the doc... While rispirdal and other atypical antipsychotics increase the risk of sudden death and are off label for agitation in dementia, sometimes they are the only things that will help keep people at home safely. Other meds include depakote (an antiseizure medication), and the aricept and/ or namenda. with the aricept and namenda there are variable responses - ranging from the peacefullness of morz8's experience to no particular change.

Hope this helps, and know that in dementia (like childhood) this stage will eventually pass.
Shelly J (nursing home and hospice doc in wisconsin)

RE: My step-mother has dementia

There are many alternatives to this drug that can be given and someone(not your 90 year old father) should speak to the doctor about this. A bigger concern is that a 90 year old is caring for someone with dementia. You should immediately find your father assistance in caring for his wife. Home Health Care agencies which are paid for by medicare can come in multiple times a week to assist and alleviate your father's burden. They will also send in someone to do cooking,laundry and cleaning. Find a REPUTABLE agency and have her doctor make the referral.

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