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The Battle to Keep My Parents Together Has Begun

itsalwayssomethingThe Assisted Living community has tried three times to get blood from my Mom and she’s refused each time. I hear the haunting voice in the back of my brain telling me that if my Mom starts to be combative on a regular basis, she is going to be moved to the next level of care … the “dementia” unit.

The only time this was mentioned to me was a few weeks ago when I was asking the head nurse if they could reconsider how they might get my parents to eat lunch. The nurse mentioned that my mom has been somewhat ornery when it comes to eating and was making it difficult for my Dad to eat in the lunchroom. This issue has mostly resolved and now my Dad usually eats lunch on his own, and my Mom stays in the apartment and makes herself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

My Mom has always been the one we have to navigate around. During the move to Assisted Living, the doctor prescribed a pill that reduced my Mom’s anxiety (Ativan or generically called lorazepam). She took it temporarily, but she has been much more agreeable, even well after being taking off the medication.  They only prescribed it for use during the initial transition into Assisted Living.

As I hang up the phone, that little seed of fear lurks. My parent’s are the happiest I’ve seen them in years together. I told the nurse I would get my Mom to a lab to get her blood work done. It’s always going to be something. Unfazed. 

2 comments on “The Battle to Keep My Parents Together Has Begun

  1. Does your mom have a psychiatrist or just a primary care physician? Ativan is one of those funky anti-anxiety medications that is tough for dementia patients. My mom was given it a couple of times during hospitalizations and I said “no more.” As long as your mom doesn’t have any Lewy Body dementia symptoms, I’d suggest asking whoever does her prescribing to consider starting a low dose of SeroquelXR and 40 mg of Citalopram. Neither will knock her out, but the combination will do wonders in stabilizing her mood. My mom did very well on the combination until she developed late-stage neuroleptic-induced tardive dyskinesia with the SeroquelXR (because of the Lewy Body dementia worsening).

  2. Right now my mom has a geriatrician, neurologist and primary care physician in addition to the doctors on staff at Assisted Living which includes a psychiatrist. My mom has vascular dementia that presented as varied forms of dementia during the psychological testing, but nothing has been medically demonstrated for any other type. We are going in for an annual physical. The recommendation a year ago was that nothing would help in terms of memory, but the Ativan sure made a notable difference when my mom was very anxious and combative. Thank you for your note. The more you know, the more you know!

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