Any help for "sleep disturbance" please?

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by Susi T, Jan 14, 2007.

  1. Susi T

    Susi T Registered User

    Jan 12, 2007
    64
    Leamington Spa
    Hello everbody

    I have replied to other threads but have not actually started one off!!!

    I have come to the stage where I will have to ask for help with my Dad, he is 77 years old, deaf and has heart condition on top of his dementia. I live with Dad, I am an only child, although we do have relatives I have never asked for their help regarding Dad, Miss Independant that is me!!! I was managing Dad's situation until last week when he now gets up in the middle of the night or just when I am going to bed, I am going to sound uncaring now, it is such hard work trying to explain to him that he is getting up at night instead of daytime!!! I have been told by a doctor from his practice to keep him awake during the day, hard to do when I am at work. This may sound selfish, I work full time and look to work as welcome break!! Has anyone got ideas for this particular probem? I am going to approach Social Services this week for help. Thanks for looking everybody, this forum has done me the power of good and i only discovered it on Friday.

    Susi T XX
     
  2. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,438
    I always love that advice: keep them awake during the day. What are you supposed to do? Use a cattle prod on them? If someone wants to go to sleep they'll go to sleep, and unless you make them walk constantly or something they will drop off. I don't have any suggestions but I do have a lot of sympathy. I know when I'm with my mother I try all sorts of things to keep her awake, but she can fall asleep in the middle of a conversation if she's tired enough.

    Jennifer
     
  3. Susi T

    Susi T Registered User

    Jan 12, 2007
    64
    Leamington Spa
    Thanks for the reply Jennifer, last night was the worse to date, unfortunately I had dropped off to sleep, found cereal bowl empty in the kitchen at 11.00, then as I was going to bed at 11.30 Dad got up and had cup of tea and sandwich!!! Don't get me wrong, I don't mind what he eats, he has lost so much weight over the last year, doctor assures me when you get older you lose muscle definition!!!
    Fortunately we don't have gas so that is one less thing to worry about.

    Thanks Susi T
     
  4. mocha

    mocha Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    176
    Lancs, England
    Dear Susi, How I sympathise with you. I have been all through it and know it sounds a bit pessimistic but I'm afraid it will go worse.
    My hubby went into a Nursing Home before Christmas because I couldn't cope with him getting up every 2 hrs. or so.
    I was offered a night sitter[at a cost] but I couldn't sleep on the settee for the foreseable future. I hope you get some help as it really can tear your nerves to shreds.
    Love Aileen
     
  5. English Lady

    English Lady Registered User

    Jan 14, 2007
    23
    Essex
    Susi, I have been doing some training in this, this week.

    What kind of job did your dad do? Was it one that involved getting up in the early hours?

    We were given an example of a lady who did that and it turned out she used to be a newsagent. The care home staff gave her some newspapers to mark and it helped. She'd get up at some ungodly hour - and mark the newspapers and quite often would go back to bed after that!

    We are told to look for clues in their past lives, to do with jobs or particular habits. Your dad may well need something to occupy him during the day too.

    The key is to find things he is familiar with and enjoys.

    As you will no doubt know, your dad's long term memory will still be intact so it's just a matter of trying something till you hit the right thing!

    Do keep us all posted!
     
  6. Susi T

    Susi T Registered User

    Jan 12, 2007
    64
    Leamington Spa
    Thanks Aileen, I wonder does it get any better when the clocks change? I don't think there has been a night over the past 2 weeks where he has stayed in bed all night. With Dad being deaf we have experienced TV at full volume on 2 occassions, I feel guilty as I now take batteries out when I go to bed. I don't think he retains anything when he watches it, he insists he has conversations with all sorts of people off the TV!!! All part of theprocess I assume? All the best Aileen.
     
  7. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    69,884
    Kent
    Hi Susie, It`s a bit of a viscious circle isn`t it? If your dad sleeps in the day, he won`t sleep at night.
    It must be really worrying, especially if he`s unsafe. It may sound cruel, but could his GP put him on a course of sleeping tablets to see if a pattern of more regular hours could be established. I don`t think there`d be any harm in trying.
    All the best Sylvia
     
  8. Susi T

    Susi T Registered User

    Jan 12, 2007
    64
    Leamington Spa
    Thanks for that English Lady, he used to do Factory work, on the oddoccassion there was night work to do. The only hobby that Dad has is his garden, unfortunatelywe are at the wrong time of year for that. I did notice last summer there was a sad lacking in the garden compared to other years. A little bit more history for you, my dad has basacaaly been cook and bottle washer since my mother passed on 20 years ago. It was his plan to take redundancy (which he did) to look after Mum who had Coeliacs Disease. This condition was not as well known as it is today, and unfortunately after it was discovered what she had it was too late. Dad was 3 months into his redundancy when Mum died. He took a part time job then and when he retired I became the person he needed to look after. Dad was a bettercook than I, he npw struggles to complete cooking a full meal. I suppose I have not helped I tend to do a lot more than I used to, especially cooking etc. Enough rambling. Thanks for the advice.
     
  9. English Lady

    English Lady Registered User

    Jan 14, 2007
    23
    Essex
    I know it's a shot in the dark but why not give him some cleaning stuff and let him do little jobs like that. I know it sounds like a cop out and a bit mean but actually it's not because what he needs is to still feel useful.

    Do you know what he did in the factory? Often people on those late shifts ended up doing the sweeping up after the day's work and putting stuff away.

    Just try it; leave dusters and polish around and see if he picks up on it. If that doesn't work, try and think of something else, however simple, he enjoyed doing.

    Gardening I agree, is not a good idea at this time of year but perhaps he can do some planting indoors, in plant pots with seeds that need to be planted at this time of year - you need to look at Titchmarsh's website for that - I'm **** with plants, I kill them!

    What we were also told in training is that if you give a person with dementia something to do and they don't complete it, like for example, a jigsaw, IT DOESN'T MATTER. The fact that they are doing something useful is enough to keep them feeling they are still part of the human race and not totally useless.

    Half finished jobs are not a problem but him being occupied is important. Sorry to sound like a know-all but I've had it drilled into me all this week!

    Actually I'm enjoying this chat because I can use some of what I've learned to help you (hopefully) or somebody else - and feel quite pleased with myself that I've managed to remember any of it!
     
  10. Susi T

    Susi T Registered User

    Jan 12, 2007
    64
    Leamington Spa
    Hi Sylvia, the doctor has suggested that, however he immediately said that this may make him unsteady. It wasn't our ususal doctor, we have an appointment next week with him. I am also looking at the possibilty of power of Attorney, I am currcntly joint holder on his Bank account. i am going to sound really selfish now, the house belongs to my Dad, he and mum had an endowment when she passed on it automaticaaly became his. Obviously living at home i am concerned about future security for me and when the time comes that I am unable to look after Dad. You hear some really scary stories re social services and what they can take off you!!! All the best Sylvia.
     
  11. English Lady

    English Lady Registered User

    Jan 14, 2007
    23
    Essex
    Social Services are an anathema to me. Nuff said.

    Have a chat with the Citizens Advice Bureau or your family solicitor.

    You sound a really cheerful and capable person to be coping with all these things. Ever tried juggling as a hobby!

    :)
     
  12. Susi T

    Susi T Registered User

    Jan 12, 2007
    64
    Leamington Spa
    I know you are right English Lady, it has been suggested by one of my workmates, it has geiven me food for thought! I think trying to smother him with care to be honest, when I think of what he has done for me over the years I an trying to give aliitle back I suppose. I will have a think and start leaving him jobs to do. It won't be dusting or polishing he would neverdo that when he was a well man!!! Thanks a lot.
     
  13. English Lady

    English Lady Registered User

    Jan 14, 2007
    23
    Essex
    Sylvia. We often find, in the care home, that doctors will only prescribe sleeping tablets for a certain length of time and when the person comes off the drug, they get even worse.

    Often drugs can make people with dementia like zombies but I do agree with you, I feel something is needed when desperation sets in. Having someone who is agitated and sleepless at night can impact on everyone else, other residents and carers, as well as themselves.

    I just wish doctors would try homeopathic medicines. I know a lot of people poo poo it but they are really good. I've used them for all sorts of stuff and I use, for example, arnica cream for bruises. It's great. There is something in homeopathy for every condition. I have known of older people using it.

    Let's face it, plants and herbs have been around for millions of years and people have always used them so they can't be bad.

    I find Bach Rescue Remedy is good for carers!
     
  14. Susi T

    Susi T Registered User

    Jan 12, 2007
    64
    Leamington Spa
    Yes English Lady, I do have a reputation at work as life and soul of the party, think sometimes I use it to cover up how I really feel. A friend was said that I was the most resilient person they had met, think I am doing a bloody good job so far. even thou I say it myself.
     
  15. English Lady

    English Lady Registered User

    Jan 14, 2007
    23
    Essex
    Well you know him best. Just go back through your life with him and think of all the things he's enjoyed and jot them down. There's bound to be a key there somewhere.

    As for doing things for him, you sound like you're doing great and I'm so glad to see you've kept your sense of humour because you will need that more and more!

    I've only joined this forum today and am so glad I have because it's giving me a great insight into how families care for relatives. In the care home setting we only see them when they visit and often don't get much of a chance to talk to them.

    This is brilliant because I get to see your thoughts and feelings - and to hear what it's like for a family carer. Family carers are really out on a limb with not much help at all and this is a great way to get an insight into it.

    I hope in return I have reassured anybody that thinks all care homes are horrible asylum type places with wicked staff. Most people who I have worked with in a care setting really do care for the residents and see them as a sort of extended family member.

    I'll be interested to see if you do hit on something with your dad that helps him. Sorry about the dusting and polishing - it was the first thing that came into my head! Perhaps it's because its' what I've just been doing!
     
  16. Susi T

    Susi T Registered User

    Jan 12, 2007
    64
    Leamington Spa
    I will keep you up to date, talking on this website has made me feel so much better. It is one of those situations until it happens to you then you have no idea what to expect, I think I am on a very long and trying journey at the moment, I do have hope for the coming week hopefully Social Services will be helpful or some shape or form. Thank Sylvia will keep you posted. All the very best.
     
  17. Lila13

    Lila13 Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    1,342
    Both my parents in old age often dozed during the day and pottered about in the night, (as so many elderly people do), my father's pottering was only a nuisance in that it disturbed my mother, and my mother's pottering only became a problem when she started having falls. But then they were mostly quiet about it and didn't usually disturb neighbours. We only had 2 very rowdy nights when my mother was having her New Year shenanigans. Anyway the neighbours were usually noisier than we were.

    I would hate to give people drugs to make them sleep at the "right" time, but I suppose that it happens inevitably in communal situations.

    Lila
     
  18. Susi T

    Susi T Registered User

    Jan 12, 2007
    64
    Leamington Spa
    Thanks for that Lila, Dad at the moment only potters, I can hear him when he gets up, at first I was quiet abrupt with him, it is difficult with his hearing, or I don't know it could be the dementia. Dad and I have probably not enjoyedt he best of relationships over the years it is only now that I realise he probably had dementia a lot longer than I thought.
     
  19. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    69,884
    Kent
    Hello English Lady,
    Welcome to TP. It`s a delight to see someone who works with sufferers joining the discussion. I hope you get even more insight into the effect Alzheimers has on families and sufferers.
    When I suggested the possibility of sleeping tablets to regulate the pattern of sleep, I did mean for a very short period. I do understand how sleeping tablets can have adverse effects, but that can apply to any powerful drugs.
    I am fortunate. My husband does not sleep during the day but sleeps very well at night.
    When he was trying Aricept, one of the side effects was disturbed sleep, brought on by hallucinations. One night he woke me by knocking on the bedroom window, he`d heard people and had gone out to find them. He was only wearing pyjamas, his feet were bare and he couldn`t find his way back into our bungalow.
    If I thought he would have a regular pattern of sleeplessness, I would be extremely anxious. I know I would find it difficult to sleep myself.
    The thought of my husband wandering around the house, unsupervised, would terrify me. I`m afraid I would be willing to try anything, in those circumstances. When there is no solution, and possible danger, there is a very fine line to be drawn to balance what is, and is not advisable.
    Sylvia
     
  20. English Lady

    English Lady Registered User

    Jan 14, 2007
    23
    Essex
    Sylvia, I totally understand the need to "try anything". Believe me, after a 14 hour shift with someone who wanders off - and even wakes other residents, I know the feeling.

    Of course it's not the same as caring for a member of your own family, exactly. But in a way it is, because you "adopt" the people you care for,

    We had a lady in the last home I worked in who used to pace up and down the corridors, getting people out of bed and taking stuff from their rooms. She went on a course of medication and although it calmed her down, her doctor took her off it after three weeks.

    She was even worse than before.

    It is so distressing to see the anguish and anxiety in someone who is wandering around. What they are doing really is searching for something or someone. Usually it's when the long term memory comes into play.

    The new home I work in is going to have an extensive activities programme for residents, geared to each individual. I can only repeat what I was saying to the lady above.

    We are trained that the need for "occupation" is great among many people with dementia. The old system of care sidelined such people and locked them away in asylums. Thank God things are so much better now, with people's needs, likes and dislikes taken into consideration.

    I hope I don't sound "preachy". It's just enthusiasm! You can tell I've been up to my eyes in training all week. I know it's an odd thing to say but I have enjoyed the training so much, it helps get things in perspective.

    I think Alzheimer's Society runs courses for carers (at home) and I know it runs support groups. Even though none of my family has the condition (God forbid) I am going to join mine because I am interested in working with people with the condition and their families.

    You must grab whatever support you can and don't be fobbed off by anybody. This seems to be a great place to start.

    As I said above, pardon my enthusiasm. I can get a bit carried away!
     

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