Memory Health: Alzheimer's Support Group
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Sleepless nights

Hi, I'm new to this community. My 81 year old father has Alzheimer's and his full time care giver is my 80 year old mother. They live in Missouri and I live in Virginia. I have previously been a full time care giver in my home for my father-in-law who had Alzheimer's and terminal cancer. During the time my father-law was living with us I never had this problem and now I find myself unsure of how to help my mom with Dad's latest issue. Dad is waking up in the middle of the night, 1am-3am and is very confused about ,well everything. Heven asks questions like where are we, who'said house is this, am I going crazy,I wonder if my brain is playing tricks on me. This had been happening occasionally in the past but Mom was usually able to talk with him, answer his questions and calm him down. Dad's doctor has also given him a prescription to use in this situation to help calm him so that they can both get back to sleep. However, for the past 5 nights he has not recognized Mom in the middle of the night and she has not been able to calm him. She says he sometimes refuses to take the medicine. Two nights ago he was calling her "Mom", not something he has ever called her before, or his brother' name. Needless to say I'm worried about both of them. I am at a loss as to how to handle this. Any suggestions ? Thank you, Laura

2 Replies

It's fine that your 80 year old mother has been able to care for your Dad, but now you might want to start visiting nursing homes and considering placing him in one. I was my husband's full time caregiver from the time I was 79 until hospice persuaded me to place him in a nursing home when I was 83. I'm now 85, and attribute my reasonably good health for accepting that I had to turn my husband's care over to a facility that could care for him until the end of his life. I see now that it was wrong of me to risk my health and life for so long.


Hi Laura, welcome to this community. The situation you describe can be very common in the latter stages of Alzheimer's. Suggest you find out if your dad's health plan provides access to geriatric care specialists, psychiatrists specializing in sleep disorders, and neurologists. Assuming the med was prescribed by his PCP, it may be worthwhile speaking with a specialist who has a focus on AD and sleep problems.

All the best.

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