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What to do with a sleeper - Carers UK Forum

What to do with a sleeper

Share your ideas about the practical side of caring.
I attended a hub on dementia and got a lot of useful practical advice. We were advised NOT to keep asking questions of the patient as it confuses them, so I have tried to stick to this practise. Its actually not at all easy if you're sitting with them one to one and trying to keep them alert and awake, I can tell her about my day/weekend - what my children are doing - what my husband is doing .............. but my life is not very interesting really - so I end up wracking my brains to find something to talk about without asking her questions.
You can tell she's not interested in what I say as she answers 'Mmmm' to everything and then falls asleep and slips sideways off her chair if I'm not watching. She refused to go to bed and then gets up during the night, but come morning she refuses to get up, and that's why I don't want her to sleep during the day. She refuses to get dressed (then complains its cold) and refuses to eat (and then complains she's hungry, but leaves the food untouched or just nibbled round the edges).
I suppose what I'm asking is - how do I keep her awake during the afternoons - she doesn't have mornings as she sleeps in till 11am.
Any suggestions as to topics? She doesn't watch tv - just goes to sleep.
Hi Barbara,

Instead of direct questions, can you get her reminiscing maybe by asking open ended questions or just commenting yourself As her memory shrinks, longer ago memories are more likely to have meaning for her. Do you have old photo albums you can look at together or could you play music she would have enjoyed.

I don't know whether it applies to people with dementia as their body clocks become disrupted, but the standard advice is thatthe waking up time and getting enough early daylight / bright light is critical to reset the body clock.

If you can't expose her to bright daylight first thing, then do it cr 11 a.m onwards. If the natural light is poor, aim for brighter daylight bulbs in the house, perhaps.

Barbara, I've posted elsewhere to you on Rob's thread, but I think the time has come for your MIL to move into a care home. Dementia only worsens and worsens. My poor MIL (in a care home for three years) now sits in a wheelchair all day, she is immobile (her brain has forgetten how to walk) ,and she can't talk any more (her brain has forgotten how), and she barely recognises me if that when I visit. She stares vacantly and is completely 'non-interactive'. She is doubly incontinent.

Grimly, unless something else like a stroke or whatever carries off your MIL, this is the fate awaiting her.

So, like I say, given your circumstances (that, if I've got this right - your husband moved his mum into your home, then promptly 'left you to it' (!)) I can't think of any good reason to go on looking after her?
I fear I have misled you Jenny but thanks for your input though.
My Mil did come to us for a while, until I insisted my husband (her son) do his share - when she was promptly shunted back home with carers poor thing! I did like her, but I'd already seen my own Mum go through the same thing and was already worn out with that (even though she wasn't living with me).
The 'sleeper' I refer to is an old school friend and I look after her 2 days a week to give her husband time to himself. My 'time' has dwindled to lunchtime onwards as she just won't get out of bed. We get her up and dressed, then I throw him out and try to get her to eat. something but she's got senile anorexia and wont eat if she can help it. Fortisips and juices from her GP are spat out but she may manage half a cup of tea fortified with protein powder, sometimes I can get her to eat a piece of fudge or the odd chocolate finger. She weighs less than 6 stone.
I do feel if she would get up from her chair while she still has the strength, she might build up a bit of an appetite, but all she wants to do is sleep. Maybe it would be kinder to just let her sleep herself to death, I feel like a dreadful bully. Its a battle we're not going to win.
(We are both 79)
Her husband is claiming all his benefits but they are not short of money. They have had 3 carers in the past who have all left after a few weeks - I don't know what reasons they gave.
I will try some of your suggestions, bless you.
Please ignore the full stop between the words 'eat' and 'something'.

I have real trouble in this forum with punctuation jumping back into the previous text. Is there a way of editing posts?
Barbara_1802 wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 11:32 am
I have real trouble in this forum with punctuation jumping back into the previous text. Is there a way of editing posts?
Top right corner of anything you post. You'll see three coloured icons on squares:
an orange pencil (only on your posts)
a blue bin (only on your posts)
a blue exclamation mark (on all posts)
a green quote sign (on all posts)

The quote sign will enable you to easily quote from the post
the exclamation mark is to report a 'bad' post
the bin is to delete a post
the pencil is to edit a post.
Thanks for that hamsterwheel.
Now, we have a different problem - she won't get out of bed at all, even though she's wet it. Well I tell a lie, she will get out of bed to go to the toilet (she wets it in her sleep) so that's when we strip it and change the sheets and duvet otherwise she sits in her own wet stinky sheets.
There's no physical reason she can't leave her bed, she just doesn't want to and isn't going to. Obviously we've tried everything we can think of and her GP can only advise we 'coax' her .............. grrrrrrrrrrrr - I mean didn't she think we'd tried that?
Is there an answer, or should we just leave her there?
I think there IS a physical reason, her brain is shrinking, isn't functioning properly, the connections are failing. It really does sound like the time has come for her to have a nursing team 24/7. Not what anyone wants, but what she needs I'm afraid.
My MIL with deep dementia can't walk any more. It's not that there is anything wrong with her legs, or her brain in that respect, just that she has forgotten how to do it. She tried the other day, and then fell (nursing staff were with her) (ie, were there immediately, and she came to no harm)

Sadly, they lose all 'sensible' attitudes, and I dare say your mum simply sees no 'reason' to get up. All the sensory cues fade, and mean very little indeed. It's desperately sad, and not a little exasperating.

One of the 'upsides' of residential care is that the staff usually have very good techniques, from long experience, of getting cooperation. Also, of course, our parents see little reason to do what their children tell them! ie, 'others' can get them to do things that 'we' can't persuade them to....
Will she get bed sores?
Should I try to get a district nurse to call in? Would that be arranged through her GP?
She won't let me examine her and because she's only wearing her nightie I can't roll her over to have a crafty look, but her shoulder blades seem ok. I've asked the lovely caring lady who comes in to help wash her and she says she's not noticed anything, but she's foreign and her English is not exactly perfect (even if it is better than my Romanian!) and I'm not sure she knows what I mean.