My Dad Has Alzheimer’s And Gets More Confused And Agitated When There Is a Crowd Or Loud Noises. Why Is This And What Can Be Done About It?

Patients with any dementia are much more sensitive to loud noises, be it music, loudspeakers, crowds, or whatever.  Because their brains cannot cope with the noise, they become more agitated—resisting care, restless, not sleeping, more uncomfortable.

A review of dementia-related associations/agencies, finds they recommend:  keep noise down!!  For example, the Alzheimer’s Association states that noise can trigger agitation and delirium.  The Lewey Body Dementia Association feels loud television noises may increase a patient’s paranoia—believing  people in the next room are yelling at him, and creating more fear, anxiety, and difficult to manage behaviors.


Morphine’s Sedation And Side-Effects, Part III.

Part III of Morphine: Not So Common Side-Effects Patients Can Expect


Myoclonus refers to muscle twitching.  If it is bothersome, such as making one’s whole arm jump, then lorazepam [Ativan] usually helps.

Pruritus (itching).  If this is driving a patient ‘crazy’, using an anti-histamine like loratadine [Claritin] or diphenhydramine [Benadryl], and applying mentholated creams [like Ben-Gay] can provide relief.


Morphine’s Sedation And Side-Effects, Part II.

Part II of Morphine: Common Side Effects Patients Can Expect

Constipation. Because these drugs actually ‘paralyze’ the nerves to your gut, almost everyone  becomes constipated.  Treatment is NOT a stool softener [docusate/Colace] nor a bulking agent [Metamucil]; you need something that stimulates the bowel, such as senna [Senokot], or polyethylene glycol 3350 [Miralax]; and/or prunes!  The goal is a BM at least every 3 days [unless normal for you is only once a week!].


Morphine’s Sedation And Side-Effects, Part I.

Part I of Morphine:


Mom has lung cancer and Dad won’t let her take morphine because he says it will “knock her out”.  But she is short of breath and hurting. So what can she do?

One of the greatest fears patients with cancer or other life-limiting diseases such as COPD [chronic obstructive lung disease] have is dying in pain or ‘smothering’ to death.  Morphine, in the appropriate doses, has been shown to control these symptoms so that people, because they are more comfortable, actually live longer!


When And Why Should A Family Ask For Hospice Services

Hospice is appropriate when a terminal disease is present; terminal is defined as having an incurable condition which is steadily worsening and life expectancy is less than 6-12 months.

Medicare encourages patients to enroll in hospice when they meet that definition because hospice not only improves quality of living and dying, it saves money for both the healthcare system and families.  But, patients have to be eligible!


My Mom Is In A Nursing Home And They Keep Wanting To Cut Down On Her Drugs. Why Can’t They Just Leave Her Alone?

Since 1999 Medicare and the State have been monitoring nursing homes for appropriateness of drugs because the evidence is clear:  too many drugs, particularly those on Beer’s List, increase the risk that seniors will have more problems, including falls, broken bones, confusion, constipation, and in general just not enjoying life as much!!


My Grandfather Complains Of Constipation. What Is The Best Treatment For Seniors?

My grandfather complains constantly of constipation.  His doctor gives him Colace and Milk of Magnesia but it really isn’t helping.  What’s best for seniors?

It often seems to others that most seniors have bowels that are either ‘locked shut’ or ‘blocked open’.  Constipation is common.  Below is a list of things which contribute to it along with successful treatments.