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Topic Sleeping pills for Mom..and Me?? Go to previous topic Go to next topic Go to higher level

By trax On 2009.10.16 22:24
Hello all! New to posting myself but I've been reading for a few weeks now and it's been a great help to me. My mother was diagnosed with PD about ten years ago. I've been Moms primary caregiver now for 4 years. Our home is now her home. Initially she came to live with me after surgery as she couldn't do steps. Once here we realized that her PD was worse than we thought and that she shouldn't live alone any longer.Ex: forgetting med time, sleeping days, up all nite, not eating well,etc. For the first 3 years she needed only minimal assistance and reminders and our company. As PD does, its changing our roles. I am now mothering Mother.
I'm learning more on this caregivers forum than on any other site, and definitely more than her Neurologist could ever tell me. He is very vague with answers when I ask what to expect, what comes next, etc. All he ever says is "Every Case is different". Period. End of conversation! And I'm seeing on here that definitely, every case is very different!! But the doctor acts as if I really don't want to know, or is it that he really doesn't know? Not a lot of faith in him at all! Frustrating. So, to keep my sanity, I've found you all here!!
It's been very enlightening. To just hear others dealing with the same issues I'm having makes me feel so much better. Relatable!!
I'm sure I'll have many more questions, but my pressing issue is--can anyone reassure me that Trazodone is ok to take with PD and if it's helpful or not?? I am burning out FAST since she now needs my assistance during the night when she gets up to use the bathroom. I CANT function without sleep and I am getting VERY little. IF she would only sleep through the nite things could go back to being just stressful, but doable. I work Mon-Fri full time and HAVE to sleep!
I have a script from her regular GP for 50 mg once a day at bedtime and have almost convinced her that she will need to take it or I can't continue to care for her but I myself am concerned before I give it to her. Any advice and help would be greatly appreciated!!
Thanks soooo much in advance!! :)

By LOHENGR1N On 2009.10.17 00:28
Hi trax, welcome to the forum. You didn't mention what medications Your Mom is taking for Parkinson's. I'm not a doctor, however I would seriously run this medicine by Her Neurologist BEFORE trying it. I looked online and found varying reports. I found this at;

The following medications should not be taken without first consulting with your psychiatrist:

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (Isocarboxazid/Marplan, Tranylcypromine/Parnate, Phenelzine/Nardil). St.John's Wort.
Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (Fluoxetine/Prozac, Paroxetene/Paxil, Sertraline/Zoloft, Fluvoxamine/Luvox, Venlafaxine/Effexor)
Lithium. Coumadin/warfarin
Dextromethorphan (found in many over-the-counter cold and cough preparations)
Levodopa/Sinemet, Bromocriptine/Parlodel, Selegiline (Most commonly used to treat Parkinson's Disease).

It is best to err on the side of caution with any medicine. Again welcome to the forum, keep posting, We're all here to help. Take care, best of luck and hang in there.

By Pearly4 On 2009.10.17 14:59
I'm afraid I didn't have to deal with regular night time issues - my mother was fairly independent at night up until the end. I often thought about it though and there were a few instances when illness or dementia brought us to the that point. I also had a husband who assisted which was obviously a blessing.

If it's simply a matter of using the bathroom would a commode chair help - or can she not even get up to use that on her own? Are you using rails or aids that would hep her get out of bed on her own or is that impossible too? Is it dementia issues that prevent her from sleeping - does she wander or stay up all night? My mother had a three month period of yelling all night long about falling out of bed - she thought she had, she was afraid she would, she believed she was tangled in the blankets, etc. We tried safety railing and bed helps, but finally resorted to putting her mattress on the floor. She didn't have far to fall that way and once she began sleeping regularly again we were able to move her back gradually (mattress to box spring, then both on a frame).

Again, I didn't have to deal with it except as an exception to the rule -- maybe others have more practical suggestions for you if you prefer not resorting to medications. I'm of the personal opinion that while necessary, more medications just simply cause more issues -- though in your position, I too would have considered or resorted to them!

By WitsEnd On 2009.10.19 11:46
With dad, some meds worked--some did not. You may have to experiment. "Terminal insomina" is a part of Parkinson's. Lunestra worked well for him in large doses. There was also a narcotic one that we used when Lunestra wasn't covered by the insurance. At that age and health I figured it didn't really matter if it was habit forming so long as it worked and made him comfortable.

You need to get some rest and not burn out. You can't do much good if you are in adjoining beds!

If you don't want to use meds....perhaps a part time care giver to help out at night some would be another alternative.

By Mary On 2009.10.19 14:30
trax - wow! - I do not have an answer for you but if I could not have slept at night while caring for Dad that surely would have done me in. I sure hope you can find an answer and get your needed sleep real soon. Hugs and blessings to you, Mary

By trax On 2009.10.19 21:33
Thank you sooo much for the responses!! Lohengr1n, Mom is on Stalevo and Mirapex four times a day. I didn't start the sleeping pills yet. I haven't reached her Neurologist and the family is giving me grief also. I have four sisters who all have very minimal contact with Mom. Just last week I finally told them all that I need their help, I'm burning out fast. I told them all that basically it's because I'm not sleeping now, I had no problem until Mom stopped sleeping and needing my assistance when she's up.They now know of the not sleeping situation but they all had negative opinions on Mom taking anything to sleep. Yet they have no other answers for me. (Thanks girls; some things never change!) I even explained to them that she is not only getting up because she is elderly but that the Parkinsons will have her awake at night. Their concern is that she will be more likely to fall during the day if she takes a sleeping pill at night. And yes, I also am a firm believer that the less meds the better, the side effects are always a problem, but I'm at my wits end here.
She does have a short/half side rail on the front of the bed for her to grip but even with that she can no longer get herself upright and out of bed. I need to physically assist her with getting into and out of bed. She doesn't have the strength and once into bed I position her as she cannot move herself around. The walk to the bathroom is only about 12 feet and as long as she can walk I'm encouraging her to do so. I can only care for her here at home while she continues to walk due to the floop plan/layout of our home.
I have looked into help coming in but she will only pay for minimal help and wants to spend it on someone coming in during the day with her for a few hours, not at night too. :( Not my money to spend, she is still in control of that for the most part. Thankfully! I write the checks but she scrutinizes it all! lol
My other big frustration is on the role reversal. I'm not comfortable mothering Mom! I cannot make myself tell her what to do, I'm still only giving suggestions and letting the decisions be hers. Although I know that it may happen some day, she does not have the dementia yet, it is almost all the physical inabilities. She responds slower, forgets some things and no longer does crossword puzzles, has regressed to word searches only, but for the most part she is still very "with it".
She calls! On to another sleepless night. It's time for the bedtime routine, maybe we'll be in by 11 tonite. The start of my workday/weekday 5:15am alarm comes early, wish me luck. Thanks for listening all! :)

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