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My dad has Alzheimer's and is shouting all the time. How can I get him to quiet down?

24 answers | Last updated: Jul 01, 2015
goingdeaf asked...

My dad has dementia/Alzheimer's and constantly yells "wow-wow-wow". For the most part he is very happy but this constant yelling has changed his routine because he is not welcomed at public places such as church or eating establishments. His constant yelling makes it difficult to even talk in our own household. Driving him to appointments has become very hard. Is there anything that can help him to not yell?


33% helpful
Oreoo answered...

my father who has AD, barks like a dog, meows like a cat and repeats 4 dogs names over and over (loudly), fortunately for me he only does it when he thinks he is alone, and not for too long at one time either, his behavior may or may not escalate in the future, who knows? Suggestion: talk to your doctor, a medication change may help, also take him to a geratric specialist, they know where we are coming from and have more insight on these type of problems than your regular MD. Good Luck,


More Answers
33% helpful
An anonymous caregiver answered...

It will pass. All the little things that bug the soup out of you usually do. The excited/yelling is a part of the disease. Several of my patients have scared me right into the hallway until I get used to the new tic they present.


56% helpful
stacyandcp answered...

My Mom did the yelling constantly also. It was usually my name, although she wasn't actually calling for me. Sometimes it was; HELP! HELP! The meds basicaly kept her knocked out. It seemed to me that she was in such a mental turmoil when screaming. I felt so sad for her and it made me crazy no matter how hard I tried for it not to. It was sad. After taking the tour of the brain, on this web site, I think I understand more of the changes. I miss her so much. Screaming and all. I just wish I had been more educated and compassionate on the disease. I wish I could have helped her more. I am lost without her.


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islandluvv answered...

My Uncle starts to shout out things between 11 and 4 am. Fairly repetitive stuff relating to events that happened years ago. He also wanders about crawling around the room. He's on Risperidol and his doctor upped the dosage to twice a day. I also have Xanax. The extra risperidol works sometimes not always and the results are the same if I give him a xanax along with the risperidol. I find no difference whether he takes the meds or not. This past Monday at 4:30 am, my father woke me cause there were 8 cops in our living room. I believe it's triggered and it's occurrence (peaks) are a monthly thing. My mom (sister of my uncle) starts to wander and sing alot and it starts up monthly too. We're lucky she's not a yeller and hers occurs in the afternoons.


67% helpful
Patty Rose answered...

I found quiet music soothed the anxious mind. It can also create a joyful attitude. A small radio with ear plugs helps a lot. I used to take my young daughter in the nursing home dressed as a clown and they all loved her. I remember how hard it was.I had an extra burden making matters worse (as if they could be) my sister (schizophenic) would give him a handful of herbal laxitives (unknown to me) making our visits anywhere a public disaster. I remember once, while taking Mom & Dad thru the grocery store a huge accident occured with Dad all down the front isle. I saw the manager outside the window gagging with a very green face. In the restroom everyone could hear Dad loudly insisting on keeping his underwear because "they were still good".(He was very frugal) Mom threatened to smack him on his head with the same underwear. I was greatly slowed down because of a leg cast,but managed to limp ungracefully and hysterically down the shopping center for new underwear.As bad as it seemed at the time, we were able to laugh later. My advice is be able to have humor or you will break. hugs, Patty


88% helpful
frena answered...

It's hard to find ourselves in the middle of other people's over-activity. Many of those occur as sun-downing (anytime between say 2pm to 6pm and usually lasting a couple of hours, pretty regular in timing too).

People who continue all night long may in fact be suffering form some kind of PTSD (often, old soldiers do this, or women molested as children)and might well benefit from the right kind of medication prescribed through a psychiatrist or geriatric specialist.

Very wild behavior is not "normal" sun-downing, so do go and see an expert. Get the help that makes life bearable for everyone, including you. Get a doctor's referreal to the right epxert. It will be covered by the VA or Medicare.

In "normal" regular time sun-downing, you'll often hear what is really bothering a person. So, do listen and respond caringly and you will often find that people become calmer. Always, think about taking them for a drive, if they like that. It's calming for most people, including yourself probably (i know it works for me!).

Sun-downing is not always nonsense. Often it is when you really find out the unsettled life issues that bother your person. We don't have to fix them necessarily -- just listen.

Other times, maybe people are so bored they're just acting out. maybe some kind of activity or day program might work. Or have someone else sit with them while you get a break. Too many people are kind of stuck with nothing to do when they have dementia and they act out of having nothing.

Make up stuff for them to do. Sweep leaves, wash cuos, cut coupons, anything that you find works. There are some good activity books for people with dementia. Go on the internet.

There really are lots of answers to experiment with. What works on Monday may not work on Wednesday -- that's why we call it dementia.

For caregivers, get what you need to get through. Ear-plugs. Headphones and your favorite music. Go for a drive in the car, wind up the windows and scream == but not when your dad's in the car, okay?


50% helpful
kidme56 answered...

If you are a neighbor of person yelling,other than just buying a earplug, you could also buy an insulated curtain.It will muffle the sound.You could also send the person to an Adult day care where he could participate in an activity geared for their age and capabilities.My neighbor's uncle go there.And since then he seldom make those loud noises at an holy hours.Do not give them caffeinated drinks during the day also.


63% helpful
be aware answered...

I am caregiver for my aunt who is a second mother to me. I would do anything for her, but am saddened because she does not know what I do for her...I took early retirement to care for her. I also have my mother living with me with alzheimer's. My aunt was on risperidal but the doctor quit using it because she seemed to hallucinate with it. I feel bad because when I have her out, (which is not very often) I hate the way people look at her. I know people probably think she is drunk because I am literally holding her up, she is screaming and reaching for things nearby, you look up nd people are starring at her. Are people really that stupid??? I just can't seem to do enough for her...I wish I could put her to bed at night and be all better in the morning... I know it will never happen but it is nice to dream.. why do these things happen to such good people ????I really enjoy reading everyones comments and concerns, this is what gets me through such a difficult time...


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frena answered...

i just want to add one thing i just learned this week at my caregiver support group. some medications on some people apparently trigger them to do repetitive loud noises or shouting. a change in medication might remove the trigger. you hardly ever find this listed in official side effects, needless to say. i don't know if it's possible to find out if this noise-making began after a particular change of medication?

just a thought.


40% helpful
oxoboxo answered...

my father is 91 is confined to bed sleeps most of the day but shouts and talks and sings for hours at night times range from 8pm [ sfter carers change him etc till 3 am ,] last night i gave him some food as he had had his tea [which is the same as his dinner][various mixes potato/carrot/gravy/chicken /ham/ all purified ]gave hime porridge , last night at 20;30 and along with the medication , [ citalopram drops] after which he was quiet for 10 mins then it was all go till 12;30 and it stopped only to startagin at 12;45 till after 3 . at which time i fell asleep . going to talk with the doctor today to see if meds should just stop as they dont make any difference to him , he was on riseperdal[typo] but it was stopped as it wa nt anything only making him sleep during the day as was the citalpram [that why it was moved to the evening to help him sleep ,, but i think he is seeing things , i gave up my job to stay at home with my father more , ok well maybe its just a part of the dimentia structure .


67% helpful
lydia w answered...

my mom shouts wow wow wow also. she sings very loud, she usually does this around 2 or 3 in the morning. she cries for food saying she hasn't eaten in weeks. she eats three meals gets snacks and also the boost drinks. she fights the sleeping meds so i stopped giving them to her. lol now i sing and shout with her. she doesn't like that. nothing else was helping so i tried that. well it worked for me, now she isn't as loud as she was.


67% helpful
An anonymous caregiver answered...

My mother had this same yelling problem. Food was not a choice, since she got nutrition from an inserted tube. Neither was she coherent. I found out quite by accident that though she had always hated "I Love Lucy" episodes, she cackled demented laughter quite contentedly and stopped yelling whenever they were on. Since we were housed at my workplace, this kept her quiet when people were present and eased my task considerably. Perhaps finding some form of laughter inducement or other distraction will help. Good luck!


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Nate answered...

My family and I have been through so much of what all of you are describing. Mom has yelled help, growled and just screamed for no apparent reason:( It is so hard to see her like this; it is a daily struggle to know how to respond when she gets this way. She is taking small doses of Resperidone which only helps for short periods of time; she sleeps a lot during the day and is walking, walking until the wee hours of the morning at times. The other night we took her to a church dinner where she kept growling and yelling I hate you at her husband, our step-dad. I nicely kept telling her that wasn't nice and we had to be quiet as there were a lot of other people around; it kind of worked. Some of these situations in public are uncomfortable but we want Mom to still have outings when possible as the day will come when she won't be able to. God be with us all and provide us the strength and wisdom we need to be there for our loved ones. God Bless all of you.


88% helpful
An anonymous caregiver answered...

My dad died in November of Vascular dementia. He did it all, yelling, screaming, cursing, hallucinations, delirium and more. Mostly, when something was being done to him that he didn't like ie diaper change etc. But sometimes- it was sundowning or no reason other than the disease itself. Some meds can cause hallucinations like geodon so be careful. While it didn't solve all the problems we found the following meds helpful. #1- a mood stabilizer-divalproex also known as depakote. #2 an antidepressant, and #3 an anti anxiety as needed-Lorazepam also known as Ativan. Anxiety can cause a lot of acting out. Also a pain patch toward the end as he was bedridden. You have to find the right amounts so your loved one is not over medicated into oblivion. Also we kept telling our dad over and over how much we loved him and that seemed to comfort him. We tried to find the humor when we could, and learned to enjoy the small moments where we connected ie a smile, a one liner he was famous for, just simply being present. During the difficult times, of which there were many I reminded myself it was the disease and was grateful to be there for him as he would have been for me if he could. Also, a little tip-when it got too much I would leave the room just for a moment to get him ice cream, a drink, do the wash, and then when I returned he was usually was in a different place. And, if he wasn't then at least I was able to regroup. I miss and love dad with all my heart!


snow4jc answered...

re: An anonymous Caregiver:
You have written our life story as it is right now. I have no answers.... I do know that my father reacted very adversely to the drugs: ativan & resperdol. Took him to a very dependent state within 5 days of use, where before he had been holding his great grandson & playing with him. It was horrible. Thankfully, we got his primary physician to get them removed, as well as a cholesterol drug which he believed was also making everything worse. My dad sleeps a lot during the day... is up at night. The staff at the memory care unit he is at doesn't like to force him to do anything, because he can get very gruff and will swing at them. This especially occurs when it's a personal hygiene task that needs to happen. None of the drugs seem to calm him down, without making him zombie-like. It is the saddest thing I've ever had to do.... just reading all of your comments makes me weep. Has anyone ever had their loved one take Meridol? We are seriously considering it; we need something to get him less agitated so he can be admitted into the VA nursing home. It is not possible to take care of him anymore at home.


29% helpful
crazyhouse answered...

My mother is 90 years old, she has lived with me since 2003, at which time she was showing early signs of AD, shortly after my fathers passing. She has become violent, and very nasty. These behaviors are troubling and hurtful, I try not to take them personally but my husband gets very upset. The most annoying thing she does not is the yelling. She just repeatedly yells "COME ON", "HURRY UP" over and over again. The doctor has prescribed haldol for her but I think it makes her worse. I wanted the doctor to give her ativan, but she refused, get this because it is addictive. The doctor is no help. My husband says I need to find a different doctor, but I just don't have the energy to search this out and transfer care at this stage. I don't know what I will do about hospice when it is time. She rarely eats and no longer feeds herself. I can get her to eat a little if I feed her. Just in the last two weeks she seems like she does not see the food in front of her and ask if she can have some, however when given help she still won't eat, but at times says she is hungry. She trances most of the time and is very aggitated otherwise. Most of her verbalizations make no sense and are all very loud. I don't know how much longer she can last, she is not bed bound, but her weight has decreased emensely. She only weighs about 80 lbs. We get her up every morning and she sleeps most of the day in her recliner, in spite of greatest efforts to keep her awake, so she will sleep at night. I appreciate reading other's stories and let's me know I am not alone in this struggle. None of my siblings help, only my husband and my grown children.


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Chorister answered...

It helped me to read the responses. My husband has had AD for nearly 20 years. In the beginning progress was very slow but that changed about 5-6 years ago. For the past three years I've depended on aides and, more recently, Hospice care. It takes two people to transfer him from bed to wheelchair. He gets extremely agitated, screams, fights us all the way. Lately he's begun making wailing sounds, like those of a cat. It is driving me mad and I struggle to not become angry. He takes sertralin in the morning and lorazepam; these medications are designed to keep him calmer but they're not terribly effective. My children are all supportive but we have no family nearby. I want so much to keep my husband at home until the end comes but it's getting very hard and the end seems awfully far off.


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joe marie answered...

this is all so sad.I too took care of my elderly mother for 3 years at home,along with my three children and husband.Mom had vascular Dementia,her short term memory was shot,she began to act child like,arguing with the kids,reaching out to hit them as a child would,from being the greatest Mother and Grandmother in the world to this.After about 3 years of her being at home with us ,the repetitiveness,the arguing,the whole family began to suffer,marriage was at a breaking point,slept with a baby monitor at my bed side so i could hear Mom move around throughout the night,fall or call out for help.It came to where I had to put her on the crisis list for LTC,to my dismay and shock Mom was in a LTC facility within 2 weeks,this was the worst day of my life,feeling as i have grieved the loss of my Mother as her AD took her slowly,then to bring her to LTC,and biggest of all admitting I couldnt do it anymore,reminded myself:would the person she was want me to live this way,would the person she was want to see the break up of my family? No.During her time at home,i became the Mother of sorts,telling her when to bath,eat,we lost the Mother Daughter role,alot of anger settled in,i felt cheated,with 9 other siblings and not one to help,i had to find a way,LTC was the way.In the year of her being at the LTC facility,Mom and i managed to regain some of our respect for each other,mostly snuggle and enjoy each others company again.Mom passed after a year of being admitted from a heart condition,what do u want us to do they asked when she suffered a massive heart attack? I said keep her comfortable,let her go.it was the second biggest decision i have had to make for Mom,but i know Mom if could see herself,wouldnt want to live like this,her quality of life had long gone. I work in a LTC facility,I see the pain and struggle families go through every day,i see those children come to visit their parents the hurt in their eyes when they know Mom or Dad doesnt even know them,i see the person these people with AD once were.To all of you whom ae taking care of a parent or family member with AD,koodos to you,you will never regret a moment,no matter how exhausting and difficult it may be,when its over,you have absiolutely zero regret,and have done just as they would for you,but please remember what you think might be best probably is.Hugs to all of you.PS_made Moms transission to a LTC facility much easier by utilizing the respite bed at a LTC unit time to time for a year before admitting her to LTC.


dlk answered...

My mother in law suffers from AD and constantling yells help. She starts in after lunch around 1and gets worse as the day goes on. Ativan doesnt touch it. Risperdal snowed her and almost did her in. Its so bad the other residents in the nursing home dont want to be around her. Keeping her busy in activities doesnt help. Trying to figure out meds but feeling so hopeless. She has had a lifelong history with nervousness and anxiety.


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Colettescotland answered...

My husband has cerebral dementia as a result of a stroke nearly 6 years ago. I've been through a lot of experiences the contributors have mentioned; sitting up for 72 hours in a row as he can't sleep; shouting out HELP constantly for days; being frustrated and violent; sleeping all day and coming alive at night; and laterally the bedroom swimming in piss and shit. Just a few things to note: (1) I'm in the UK and have not heard of the medications which are a recurring theme throughout these blogs (2) No mention that people with these diseases continually suffer from UTI and other infections which knocks them off their trolley - antibiotics are needed (3) I think my husband is in the latter stages of the disease and I've been giving him a teaspoon of manuka honey 10+ every morning for the last fortnight. I'd read about it and saw it in Marks and Spencer and thought - hey - what's to lose. Lo and behold he's as quiet as a mouse. It's the most rest I've had in years. It's bloody expensive but as far as I'm concerned worth every penny. Please excuse the expletives but I'm British.


ups and downs answered...

my mother was on some meds for Alzheimer, later it was removed by another doctor because it was intensifying the disease.
I heard a story where the sleeping pills (size of horse pills) made a woman talk almost all night long. They where changed for natural 3 mg melatonin. She sleeps now. How nice. I'm not a doctor just one who hears stories about this stuff.


An anonymous caregiver answered...

Trazadone and Meletonin -The best thing that worked for my mom yelling out is Trazadone 50 mg and melatonin 3mg together!!! A prayer answered !!!


slivo answered...

I left work to look after my mother after my dad died, I have been her 24/7 carer for the last 12 years shes 96 now. She shouts repeatedly in a very shrill piercing voice. She has a raft of things wrong with her, dementia, diabetes, colostomy, incontinence, cataracts, high blood pressure, had a fall not long ago which has made her chair bound, i have to lift her between chair, wheelchair, stair lift, toilet then bed. When she shouts she cannot tell me what is wrong as she does not know. What makes her shout intensely is that she is in great discomfort, her colostomy soils the exposed skin local to her stoma, its made up of stomach lubricating acids helping the shit to be excreted, in a normal person the lubricating acids are reabsorbed further down but she has lost that length so it goes into her colostomy bag instead. What i do is make a high solution of water and bi-carbonate of soda and syringe it onto the skin after i have cleaned it. she is as good as gold afterwards. i think too many people are medicated to stop shouting etc without the root cause being found like i have found with mother. Shes only really calm when shes comfortable. Her prescribed medications are for diabetes, dementia, anemia and blood pressure. She went ballistic when she was prescribed with iron tablets. A b12 anemia 3 monthly injection she goes ballistic the first night. I have added a few self bought herbal medications. 1 mg melatonin with b6, a small drink of dandelion coffee, 2 ice cream wafers and Tune cough sweet nightly, she goes to bed at 9pm wakes up 10am or later, i also loosely wrapped a scarf round her neck it stops colds aids sleep, [I take it too and get a good 6 hours sleep] Once a week a 500mg ginger root tablet it reduces diarrhea and gets her appetite back. Psyllium husk capsules also reduce diarrhea. My brother made a video 10 minutes long, it has pictures with a voice over saying what the pictures are, basically a timeline of her history and who her family and friends are. I have recopied the video so it is 5 x 10 minutes long, its great, the format is avi on a usb stick and plugs into the tv or pc, shes quiet and contented and sometimes sleeps till it stops. its been a godsend at home and on visits to relatives.


RStar answered...

Family and professional caregivers have such a difficult time when dealing with the alzheimer's/dementia patients. It really is a sad stage when they yell out, sound scared, and fear the dark. These behaviors are all part of the disease process. Keeping a night light on for them helps, as does sitting with them and praying. No matter what you do to soothe them, they may still yell out.