Skip to content


    Attention All WebMD Community Members:

    These message boards are closed to posting. Please head on over to our new WebMD Message Boards to check out and participate in the great conversations taking place:

    Your new WebMD Message Boards are now open!

    Making the move is as easy as 1-2-3.

    1. Head over to this page:

    2. Choose the tag from the drop-down menu that clicks most with you (and add it to any posts you create so others can easily find and sort through posts)

    3. Start posting

    Have questions? Email us anytime at [email protected]

    Helene Bergman, LMSW posted:
    A warm hello to Message Board users. I am excited to be a part of WebMD Message Board and to be able to talk directly with you 'online' about your experiences with Alzheimer's Disease. As a professional who has conducted Alzheimer's Research with caregivers and who has worked directly with Alzheimer patients and caregivers, I look forward to sharing what I have learned with you. I will be actively taking part in discussions and answering your questions.
    Helene Bergman
    sheriannstewart responded:
    My stepmother had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's about 4 years ago. She is now in the 4th stage of the disease. My father asked me recently if I was aware of a red streak up the back of the neck to the base of the posterior neck was a sign of Alzheimer's. I have never heard of this and it sounded more like a possible infection to me.
    Is this a symptom of Alzheimer's that I just haven't heard of?
    Helene Bergman, LMSW replied to sheriannstewart's response:
    In June 2009, I read about clinical trials of a skin test being conducted that might possibly predict Alzheimer's disease. Other than that, I have not heard of any skin sign that might be reflective of a stage of the disorder. I am assuming that the Stage 4 you refer to is an advanced phase of the illness; if so, normative signs would be neurological (seizure type), swallowing problems or contractures along with the advanced cognitive and behavioral changes. I agree with you that this 'red streak' might be a sign of some other medical condition that could be treatable. Therefore, it would be helpful if your father schedules a visit with the primary physician as soon as possible.
    sheriannstewart replied to Helene Bergman, LMSW's response:
    Thank you for your reply. My father is taking her to see a Dr. about this "red streak".
    I am, apparently unaware of the "stages" of this disorder. My intention was to let you know that she is very "involved" in the later stages of Alzheimer's. I have probably mixed up cancer stages with this disorder. For that I appologize.
    Another question for you though, my father has noticed a slight improvement in her cognition with a dermal patch called Exelon. And being the typical American with the "more is better" attitude wanted to know if an increase in the dose of this might cause even "better" results. I think he is still in somewhat of a denial stage
    Patricia2350 responded:
    Hello, my nickname is Patty. I've been trying to find anything about medication for Alzheimer's, and experiences with other care givers. I have learned that not not all have same responses to meds, yet recently I've discovered via another site that many are against Aricept. My mom is in her last stage, which Aricept is recommended for mild to moderate.

    We have figured out that there have been side effects we didn't know about, and taking her off the med now for two nights, we're seeing a gentle side of her.

    We had her in a nursing home, then took her to live with myself/husband. I'd give her the Aricept at 6 p.m., which I was told before bed, and my husband would find mom to be an insomniac, wanting to be fed around midnight.
    She has had problems with poor appetite, shakey hands, and some bad mood swings prior, yet so it seems, the Aricept caused this to be worse.
    Any response is welcome. My hope is to get good feedback, help others, if possible.
    lostwithoutjim responded:
    I don't know were else to go. I ask My husbands doctor what stage he thinks that my husband is. I get different answers. Could you help me figure it out. Also he is on a medicine that calms him, that makes him sleep. I have a very hard time keeping him awake in the day time. Can you suggest anything? He dreams a night, and hallows out and his eyes are open. Then I try to calm him , and he closes him eyes and sleeps a little more. Sometimes it happens 4 or more times during the night . Please help me. One time the doctor said it was mild then moderate , and the last time stage 6. I just don't see it on what I have read about dementia.
    Patricia2350 replied to lostwithoutjim's response:
    First off, sleeping much is part of this, but medication can be another part. You need to find out more about his medication, which you can do here, or other places on-line. Also, you should tell his doctor, and he/she could prescribe something to help at night. Some medications won't mix with others.

    There are help meds for sleep, but whatever he is on, might not go well with his steady med. My mother is in the 7th stage, which is called the death stage. I was on another site, and someone wrote, her mother was on the 7th stage for 5 years and going. Who knows?, only God.

    When my mother wasn't on the proper medication, she was hollering, having bad dreams, biting and scratching the help.
    Sometimes she'll sleep much during the day, and maybe not at night, but at least she's peaceful!
    lynn3barker replied to lostwithoutjim's response:
    hi my name is Lynn and i having been looking after my mum who has had Alzheimer's for the last 5 years my mum moved over to Spain and i lived in England but moved here to Spain 11 years ago to be with mum. Our dr put mum on mild sleeping tablets and she was the same sleeping all the time. When the specialist found out he went mad and said they should never be on any tablets that make them sleep. they need to be doing things to help keep the mind active my mum is on medication and that works well for her she has also joined a alzheimers group now where she goes three mornings a week and she loves it they play games and do colouring and she has even learned to wright her name again please have a word with your dr about the medicine your husband is on.
    Helene Bergman, LMSW replied to sheriannstewart's response:
    No apology necessary. It is very common for an individual to suffer with more than one chronic illness and it becomes difficult to separate which symptom relates to which disorder. It is always recommended that when a change occurs, like that 'red streak', that you visit the doctor to check for any new complication. As relates to your question about excelon, there are different dosages available. Usually it will be prescribed in a lower dose to see how it is tolerated and then increased to the 'maximum' or 'therapeutic' dosage. The patch comes in either 4.6mg. or 9.5mg. The 9.5 is the maximum and clinical research has shown that more does not give 'better results'. Instead, it is possible that namenda added to your mother's drug regimen can have positive effects. Check with your physician.
    Helene Bergman, LMSW replied to Patricia2350's response:
    Persons with dementia have varied responses to medication and it is often challenging to figure out whether a new behavior (i.e. insomnia) is a side effect of the medication...or of the disease itself. Tremors and mood swings are common neurological and psychological symptoms of Alzheimer's or other dementias as well as side effects of some drugs like psychotropics (i.e.haldol) Many persons with dementia also exhibit parkinsonian features (tremors) because the disorder is neurological in nature .Close monitoring and record keeping may help you better understand if the drug is causing the behavior. Aricept, for instance, is usually well tolerated but many caregivers report negative responses (talking in ones sleep, hallucinations) as well as digestive problems that usually resolve after six weeks. It is recommended, as you said, for early to moderate dementia but often prescribed for later stage patients too. The goal is to try to stave off the progression of the illness but its effectiveness is not always clear. Research states that if it is discontinued, the progression of the illness might be hastened.
    Nocturnal disruptions are also very common with many dementia patients as they may not differentiate day from night and often experience anxiety when awakening from sleep. They may even confuse their dream with reality and then have difficulty getting back to sleep. At times, a light snack w/warm milk can be comforting as well as soothing reassurance. Drugs only work intermittently and may have negative side effects or only short term relief. While it would be ideal if a drug could relieve the restlessness and anxiety of dementia, unfortunately, this is not usually the case.
    Patricia2350 replied to Helene Bergman, LMSW's response:
    Thank you Helene, for your response. Much of what you wrote is typical of how my mother is acting. I was unaware of some things, and I'm glad you wrote about the six weeks.
    Her appetite has increased, but she'll only eat cereal, banana, or an ice cream bar. It's soft food, but she did choke this a.m. When she can't handle the softest foods, is it time then to get Hospice involved? My mother is to pass away in my home, yet we want to do all we can otherwise.
    18johnson responded:
    Ms Bergman- My 83 year old father has later stages of alzheimer. What activities are best for him and any ideas for a more peaceful night of sleep. His memory is fine. Just doesnt sleep and easily agitated- likes quiet- Thanks for any suggestions. He has some problems eating,swallowing, ect.
    lostwithoutjim replied to Patricia2350's response:
    Thank you for your response. I know meds play a part in this also. This is so hard for the both of us. I am trying hard to get him in a rotine, so maybe he will sleep thur the noght. Ths is so sad for the both of us. Its true . Only God knows. I take each day and cherish it with him. Thank you again
    lostwithoutjim replied to lynn3barker's response:
    Hi my name is Annette My husband is going in to his second year with dementia. We own a business. I bring him with me every day. I try to keep him involved. He is such a good man. He will only stay with my mother. When I go to the doctor. He is worried that something might happen to me. He tells me all the time I am all he has. I try to take him every were I go, except the dr. denist , any appointments that I have.You know how long you have to wait at the drs office. He trys so hard in the things he does. He has lost interest in the things he use to do. But I do try to get him back in to some of the things he use to do. I don't want to up set him. I really respect you for taking care of mum. I think some people just put people in nursing home , and just leave them. I am going to do everything in my power to take of him. He's the love of my life!!!
    lostwithoutjim replied to Helene Bergman, LMSW's response:
    My husband was taken off aricept because it made him sick, didn't want to eat lost 30 lbs. The doc put him on namenda. this seems to be doing well for him. I noticed that he starts getting confused late in the evening. When he dreams he wake up ,and he thinks it is real, and some times he hallows out in his sleep , and sometimes his eyes are open. I am trying to get him in a routine, so that he want sleep all the time. Do you have any suggestions??

    Helpful Tips

    need tips- dad moving in with alzhemers
    My dad is moving this weekend with Alzheimers any helpful tips or info would be helpful.. I wish I knew... More
    Was this Helpful?
    8 of 16 found this helpful

    Related Drug Reviews

    • Drug Name User Reviews

    Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

    FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.