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Rrrrrrrriiiinnnnnggg rrrriiiiiiinnnngggg - Carers UK Forum

Rrrrrrrriiiinnnnnggg rrrriiiiiiinnnngggg

For issues specific to caring for someone with dementia.
Hi all,
My dad is 66 and although he hasn't been diagnosed at this time, he is showing a lot of symptoms of vascular dementia.

He lives in semi-supported accommodation - he has his own flat and the building has a manager during normal office hours and a pull chord at night.

Just recently I'm struggling because Dad isn't sleeping well and consequently phones me up to 10 times a night. That's not so bad when I'm on nights (I'm a shift worker in the emergency services), but when I have to be up at 5am for earlies it means I'm not able to concentrate properly.
Most of the time Dad is just ringing because he's awake and can't get back to sleep, or because he's disorientated about where he is and what's going on, so he wants someone to reassure him.
I've put my phone on silent before and woken up to 20 missed calls and 12 voicemails. I've now switched my voicemail off as my dad ran up a £150 bill on his mobile last month.

On nights when I have missed his calls he's told me the following morning that he's gone wandering round the building in the night, which worries me because a lot of older ladies live in the flats and he's forgotten where his flat is once or twice.

Does anyone have any tips or similar experience?
Oh dear, it sounds like his condition is getting beyond what even sheltered accommodation can cope with. I hate to say it, but it sounds like it might be time for a care home where they can cope with dementia and all the sad, difficult things that dementia brings.

'Wandering' is so, so common, and a real problem with dementia. My MIL was, for nearly a year, able to cope with being in an Abbeyfield, but when she started 'heading off' outdoors (usually in the early morning) she was promptly 'expelled'. The place simply was not set up for those who, when 'accosted' by the member of staff seeing them merrily head for the road, had 'no idea' what she was doing, or why. (What she was 'really' doing was 'escaping' ....and trying to get to me....so, so sad.)

Even now, in the care home that is set up for dementia, if she gets restless and tries to leave (again, sadly, after I've visited usually, as she's ....still! ...trying to 'escpe' and get to me....) it causes huge problems - for her safety, and for other residents. (Another resident had to leave as he kept going into other residents' rooms, assuming they were his!)

As you probably know 'sundowning' - that increase in level of restlessness and insomnia - is all too common with dementia.

I'm not sure if sleeping pills would help, but it would require firstly approval by a GP who understood whether it was safe or appropriate in the case of dementia, and secondly, someone to administer it. My MIL is now on diazepam if she is restless, to help calm and soothe her. Sometiems it works and sometimes it doesn't.

it is all desperately, desperately sad, and indicates just how wearing it is to care for someone with dementia. A care home will have night staff, and are, like I say, set up to cope with all the sad vagaries that dementia brings. The bedside mats, for example, are 'alarmed' so if the alarm goes off at two in the morning, a member of staff can go to investigate, to check if the resident is about to go awol again.... (or just wants the bathroom.)

66 is horrendously young for dementia - I'm so sorry for your dad, and for you.
Hi PP,
That's very worrying for you. I had a sort of related experience in that when my son got married my Mum was fit enough to travel by train to the venue but my dad didn't want to leave home. He was quite happy about it, knew exactly where she was going and for how long. Friends and carers called in over the two days she was away. We called him every few hours to report on events and check all was well. Mum arrived on the Friday night, did the wedding and we took her back by car on the Sunday. It was dad's 80th birthday on the Monday and my son and his new wife donated the top layer of their wedding cake to be his birthday cake. He was pleased to see us, all was well. However when I returned to my own home there was a whole host of messages from him. Where was my Mum? Mum was missing. What was happening? Why was he alone? Why didn't anyone call him and so on. It really shook me.
In your Dad's case I don't think you can let him go wandering, what if he fell? What if he leaves the building. (Could he?) Perhaps your choices have come down to a sleep in/sit in night carer or time for a Care Home? The only other thing I can think of is a personal alarm which would connect him to someone to talk to, if they'd take on that number of calls a night and if he'd remember to press it instead of calling you.
I think the time for sheltered accommodation has passed.
Hard times ahead?
x
Elaine
My lovely sister in law is now in a dementia home at the age of 70. Like others, it was the wandering, getting lost etc. which left residential care as the only safe option, terribly sad. Don't end up finding a home in a crisis, or he'll end up miles away. Start looking at homes as near you as possible. Good homes always have waiting lists.
Thanks peeps.

The doc is reluctant to mention the d-word at the moment - both he and the hospital think Dad's trouble is more likely to be cognitive impairment as the result of infection. He had a UTI around Christmas time, which is now gone, but he also has long-term trouble with two ulcerated legs, which have previously been infected and it looks like they are again. He's just finished yet another course of very strong antibiotics, and the doc we saw at the hospital the other day said it can take up to 4 months to return to "normal" once the infection is gone, so they want to put him on hold for another 3 months before they consider referring him to the memory clinic for further diagnostic testing.
PP
How about some respite care in the meantime? He's so young (my age for goodness sake) so could you find a nice place where he could recuperate for a week or two? It would be tragic if it was dementia. Hopefully it is the results of infection of one sort or another. I think you need to really push for some diagnosis on infection. I hope that's what it is.
Fingers crossed
Elaine