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sleepless nights - Carers UK Forum

sleepless nights

For issues specific to caring for someone with dementia.
Can anyone give me any advice on stopping my mum getting up several times a night and wandering round the house.
She has vascular dementia and I am currently sleeping on the sofa as I am worried she might have a fall as she is very unsteady on her feet.

apart from me not sleeping neither is she but she is so tired in the day that all she wants to do is sleep. i try telling her that she wont sleep at night if she sleeps in the day, but its very difficult to try and stop.

Today the day centre called me to get her home as she was lifeless and not joining in so my time off was disrupted too.

any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanx sarah
Hi Sarah

I noticed that no one had posted any replies with any suggestions regarding your mum getting up during the night.

My mum has vascular dementia and lived with us for several years and we used to have the same problem which meant that the entire family had a disturbed night.

There may be several reasons why your mum is doing this - some may be practical reasons, others may be more directly linked to the dementia. For example we came across the following problems

1. Sleeping during the day or cat napping during the day - we had to be cruel to be kind and would basically wake her up. Sometimes there may be a pattern to sleeping during the day i.e. after meal times or seasonal patterns i.e. when dark nights draw in but again we would wake her up

2. My mum was always used to sleeping with the curtains open and if we closed them this would cause her to get up out of bed. Is there something that your mum is used to that has unknowingly been changed?

3. Establishing a strong bedtime routine can help - last hot drink of the night, taking a glass of water up to bed etc etc

4. Specifically linked to the dementia is something I think the professionals call 'sun downing' where eventually the mind confuses day and night

5. As the dementia progressed we had to have someone come in to get mum up in the mornings as I often worked away - what really worked believe it or not was putting a note up on the inside of the bedroom door saying 'stay in bed until the lady comes'.

6. Wandering round the house - we fortunately never suffered with this rather we had the soft shoe shuffle up to a dozen times a night as she went to and fro from the bedroom to the bathroom - what you could try is a childs stair gate at the top of the stairs which would at least possibly stop her from going down the stairs - because I don't know what stage your mum is at with her dementia I would just add that positioning across the landing may be better which would probably make her go back to her room.

7. What about an alarm clock - is your mum used to one - in which case setting the alarm for her might work

8. Is your mum used to or likes reading - in which case a book next to the bed again may help her stay in her room at least.

Hope this helps

Kind regards