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My mother moved to ALF a month ago due to cognitive decline from stroke a month before that. She had mild dementia prior to stroke but significant decline after. She has been anxious and sad both before and after the move to ALF due to the stroke. For the month she has been there, she calls a couple times in morning and many times in afternoon and evening with confusion and anxiousness. She started Zoloft on Saturday. I didn’t hear from her at all Sunday or Monday. Could that be med so quickly? Or coincidence? Or worsening dementia? She also has heart failure/afib/SOB. Could be she’s sleeping due to that. I can ask her or facility. But just seemed so sudden that the calls stopped. I’m relieved and confused at the same time about it.

When my mother forgot how to use a phone, we placed an Echo Show in her room at the foot of her bed where we could see her and talk to her. That way, she doesn’t have the frustration of trying to figure out how to use the phone. I “drop in” on the Echo Show every day and we talk ( I live in another state). I love it because I can see her and she can see me. It’s like FaceTiming but I handle all the technology and she’s just happy to chat. Maybe that would be a good way for you to communicate with your mom so she wouldn’t have to figure out the phone. You can find the Echo Show on Amazon. It was a game changer for us.
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Bandy7 Oct 4, 2022
This is exactly what would have been a game-changer for my mom during the covid lockdowns when she released from a couple mo's in the hospital to a rehab center while still having what's called hospital/surgical/infection/medication induced delirium, which left her very confused and bewildered. Yet unable to see me or anyone she knew because NO visitors were allowed at the SNF Rehab due to covid rules. The facility denied my request to place something like this in her room so I could monitor and talk to her. They said this wasn't allowed, but if I made an appt with social worker they'd take her in an ipad and help her to facetime with me once a week. That was not helpful! She was used to having me with her every single day in the hospital. This Echo Show would would have changed EVERYTHING for my mom! It was so unfortunate that she suffered from a severe illness which wasnt covid and yet her entire path, treatment, recovery, even reasonably-early-identification of her infection and her future life was all affected severely & very negatively by the covid lockdowns of facilities. Thanks for sharing!!!
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The responses to my question are a bit shocking.
This is NOT about me. I have called her and seen her and took her out to dinner Friday. I am well aware and have seen her medications, doses and her taking them.
She was terribly anxious and crying in the afternoons. She is not over medicated. She is on extremely low dose. She has heart failure and was on hospice a year ago due to her heart and was told she had months to live and she is still with us a year later. It is hard enough for her to live with the impacts of her serious heart conditions and adding anxiety and sadness to the end of her life is heartbreaking. It is no way to live your final days. So I do not need a lecture on overmedicating my mother. I am trying to make her last days/weeks/months as comfortable as possible for HER.
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lealonnie1 Oct 2, 2022
Agreed; I had typed out another response to you on the lines of 'please ignore these comments about overmedicating your mother' and do not think you're doing anything 'wrong' here, but then I deleted it. You are obviously a big advocate for your mother! My DH had a liver transplant in April and w/o meds, he'd be DEAD right now! My mother had CHF and her heart would have stopped w/o meds; calming meds for her dementia saved her sanity, and anti depressants saved my father's sanity and her quality of life for a decade!!! Who's kidding who? We hire doctors b/c we trust that they know MORE about these things than we do! And we also know that yoghurt with quinoa isn't going to cure dementia and neither will a few prayers or some ranting about the horrors of nursing homes, which has nothing to do with your situation at all.

You are doing a wonderful job advocating for your mom and trying to make her last time on earth as pleasant as possible. I was in your shoes for a long time and it's NOT EASY, but traumatic & horrible. To give out free advice w/o having been there/done that is not helpful to those in the trenches. Just ignore the comments that aren't helpful to you, and keep doing what you've been doing. When my mother was Sundowning *HARD* with advanced dementia in the late afternoons, if her doctor said a pint of tequila would've helped her, I'd have driven to the liquor store for pints of tequila. And pushed everyone OUT of my way who told me I was doing something wrong, too! Comfort for mom is the key here, nothing else. Silly people acting like 'drugs' are a horrible thing for dying elders with dementia just DON'T GET IT.
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My mother went into Memory Care with moderate dementia in June of 2019; on Wellbutrin for depression at that time, but not max dose. She was calling me daily, I was calling her, etc.

As her dementia progressed and advanced, one day, she stopped calling cold turkey. I was like you, confused and relieved at the same time b/c all those daily calls were causing me nothing but angst and heartburn; chronic complaining and a LOT of terrible confusion on her part, combined with a reduced ability to use the phone on her part.

She stopped calling me when her Wellbutrin was increased to the max dose, and when she started Ativan for her terrible Sundowning, I think I can safely say, it coincided. BUT, it's when her dementia had advanced A LOT and was to the point where she was unable TO use her phone w/o help. That was really what was going on, I'm convinced of it. She reached that point in time where the phone became too much trouble for her to figure out, and so she stopped using it entirely. I also had a terrible time getting her to ANSWER her phone, so I stopped calling. It really did signify the beginning of the end, in terms of her life. I think she died about 7 months after the phone calls stopped. I would go see her in person at least once a week (then more frequently as her decline increased) and I'd call over to the Memory Care ALF to speak to the staff about how she was doing. Then she went on hospice care 2 months before she passed, and I was speaking with her RN almost on a daily basis until the day she passed.

My mother also had CHF, afib and very bad SOB which signified she was approaching the end of her life. She also started nodding off a lot in her wheelchair in the activity room which was TOTALLY out of character for her; she considered it a 'weakness' to nap during the day, or, to God forbid 'fall asleep' while doing something.

I would think your mother is declining and that's why she's no longer calling you, based on what you've said. Or it could be a combination of her decline and the meds kicking in to calm her down. I saw with mom a VERY quick reaction with the Ativan and when her Wellbutrin was increased, too.

Do you have hospice on board now for your mom? If not, you may want to ask her PCP to write an order for an evaluation. Hospice was WONDERFUL with my mother in her final days on Earth. They came on board only 2 months before she passed; one day, she just felt tired and went into her bed, in a semi-comatose state, and never got up again; she passed away 1 week later; her heart gave out. But hospice kept her comfortable and out of pain and anxiety the entire time.

Wishing you the best of luck. I know how tough this whole process is to witness, and I am sending you a hug and a prayer for peace.
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I realize this is a silly question: Have you called her or the facility. Usually psych meds take a little bit to work (i.e. for SSRIs often weeks), not sure if that is the case with Zoloft. Still that seems exceptionally fast-acting.
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ptdurkan Sep 27, 2022
Yes. I called her yesterday and she acted completely normal.
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Call her first, then the admins if she doesn't answer or sounds sleepy/disoriented when she answers. Her meds will take time to find just the right dosage/mix.
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Ppl are declined bc of neglect snd not having their love ones at being at home. Most of all at that age taking to many medications. They have ppl that go around to hospital to ask doctors to try new drugs on patients. I know I work in one. They go yo clinics it’s all about the money. It’s not helping ppl. I guess the only way ppl will see is when it’s happening yo u or your family and it’s just to late. Ppl please open up ur mind snd eyes. What perceyof parents or our love ones comes back as a whole. U know when u send them off u gave up than they soon give up. Sad!
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KaleyBug Oct 2, 2022
Reason other then rehab my mom and mother in law where at home until they passed and dad is home. Last rehab for mom, I declined and brought her home. Everyone said you can not handle her. Until they saw I could get mom to stand, turn and sit in a wheelchair which the hospital physical therapy failed to be able to do for 4 days.
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The phone calls were probably anxiety based. On Zoloft it helped with the anxiety.

"It is approved for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder. It is also approved to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in adults, children and adolescents aged 6-17 years."
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Lulu376 Oct 3, 2022
Alprazalam is better for anxiety. A light dose. Not an anti-depressant.
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Is this ur first time reading all these questions and responses about aging. I’m sorry to here about ur mom. She’s worse bc of all the meds and missing being in control and in her own turf. Ur relieved bc she’s not on u. The calls stopped bc she cannot help herself bc she’s drugged up. H should go and check up on her. Don’t tell any one or the place ur coming snd u will see for urself. It’s so sad how one can give up so quickly on family. If parents have there own homes they should stay home and caregivers come to them. Once h r taken somewhere else all bets are off. The food isn’t healthy they give u. It’s better to be home everyone knows that. One day when it’s ur turn u will than see.
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MattyWelch Oct 2, 2022
Goodness, ur kidding I hope. Ur not making sense, they're not "drugged up".
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Are you able to visit her to find out what is happening? Also speak to the nursing staff at her facility and her case manager at the facility. Good suggestion below also to speak with her doctor.
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ptdurkan, ignore people on here who see conspiracy around every corner.

You love your mom so naturally you are concerned about any change that you can't explain. You say your mom has only been there a month so in the beginning she might call cause it's all new and bewildering.

She may have an initial reaction to a new medication added to her regime. Give it time. Ask her if she feels different since starting Zoloft.

I hope you can get this figured out real soon and your mind can be at ease.
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