Dementia without medication

In 2013, a nursing home in Maine eliminated the use of antipsychotic drugs from their dementia ward. That same year, a New York facility went from 38% in 2009 to 11% of their patients on them.  In 2015, California reported only 15% use of the mind-numbing, fog creating meds to subdue people in memory facilities.

In 2012, the Federal Government started regulating the use of antipsychotics in nursing homes. Several studies had shown that use of these drugs caused falls, strokes and even death. Could it possibly be that geriatric psychiatrists are now beginning to see that it is not only possible, but preferrable, to care for the elderly with memory issues in more – yes, I’ll say it – humane and thoughtful ways?

Continue reading

Dementia and hallucinations

I saw a question on a favorite caregiving site about how to handle a loved one who claims to be seeing dead people.

If you are not familiar with the practice, don’t laugh, because people with dementia – especially the Lewy Body type, see strange things all the time. Once, my mother swore there were spiders or bugs all over the ceiling, and another time she recounted the conversation she had with her mother, who passed away in 1948.

She also erroneously claims that she just washed her hair, or took a shower, ate a huge meal, or walked uptown. So the issue is not whether or not what they say is real, it’s your reaction to what they say that is in question.

Continue reading