Any ideas????


Registered User
Aug 20, 2008
Hi Everyone.

I thought I'd write on here and pick your brains as I've had some really helpful replies in the past.:)

I help to care for my Grandad who has AD. he moved 200 miles last spring to live nearer to us so we could help to look after him, and bought a beautiful bungalow, which he really likes. he lives on his own.

After a long battle to get him a psych referral once he moved here we eventually managed it and his CPN has been fab. Since she's seen him, he now has carers go in every morning to make sure he's up, washed (?), and dressed, and to give him his meds etc. between me and my dad we give him a cooked meal every day and he's just started going to a day centre.

The problem we're having at the moment is that he has now lost the ability to tell the time, and struggles to tell the difference between day and night. I'm sure this is a very common problem, and I do realise it's just another part of this hideous disease. The las few weeks though, we've sometimes rung him in the evening (8pm ish)and he's been in bed, been asleep, and is about to get up and start the day again. One day last week I went at lunchtime (12.00) and he was in bed fast asleep, pj's on, teeth out etc. The carers had only left at approx 10am. When I couldn't get in a I phoned him and he was convinced it was the next morning.

He's now started phoning my parents at anything between 1am, and 4am to say he's been up ages, the carers haven't turned up yet etc etc. My poor parents both work full time and my mum has suffered for a long time with depression and really needs her rest when she goes to bed. All these disturbances (probably about 3-4 times a week) are really having a knock on effect on her health, which is then causing my dad a lot of stress.

I just wondered if anyone out there had any ideas for how we can help grandad to see when its day or night? When he rings, Mum tells him what the time is, and asks him if he has seen that it's dark outside but he hasn't noticed.

As I said, he still lives on his own and is fiercely independent, as he doesn't see how much he struggles with every day things.

I'm really sorry this has been such a ramble.:rolleyes: If you've made it this far, thanks for taking the time. Any ideas truly appreciated

Sal xxx


Registered User
Oct 6, 2007
I'm really sorry this has been such a ramble.:rolleyes: If you've made it this far, thanks for taking the time.
Hi Sal,

No need to apologise at all. I certainly got right down to the end of your thread :)

I am sorry that I don't really have any ideas, but I am sure someone will have some.

Take care of yourself.

Amber 5

Registered User
Jan 20, 2009
Hi Sally,
I almost felt like I was reading about how my mum used to be when I read your post. It is a difficult phase for all of you, especially as your Grandad is still fiercely independent. Does he still go out and about on his own? Has he ever gone out in the middle of the night?

It is the knock on effects of his confusion over day and night that will probably cause you and mum and dad the most worry at the moment - I remember it well. As far as the night time phone calls are concerned, I tried ringing mum every night to say 'goodnight and speak tomorrow', as well as calling in the morning to prompt breakfast time but nothing we did seemed to help. I ended up eventually taking the phone off the hook at bed time, just so we wouldn't get disturbed (more for my husband than me as he had to get up for work). If I did answer the phone she usually sounded wide awake and alert and then apologetic when I pointed out it was 3.30am or whatever.

Also at night she would say she had just eaten her breakfast and started going out into town to the bank or hairdressers etc. She would usually meet someone who could tell her what time it was and why everything was closed and then come home again, but it was an extremely worrying time.

I've got to say - we tried having calendars; clocks with large digits and the date on; carers coming in twice a day; prompting phone calls but nothing we tried seemed to help.

When she moved into a Care Home near to my home I was very concerned about night time calling, or trying to escape etc. but she has hardly ever phoned at night and doesn't try to go out on her own. I'm not trying to say put your Grandad into a Care Home, but just letting you know how it has gone for my mum.

It sounds like you are all doing a great job in caring for him but sadly things progress and you just learn to adapt to the next change. My mum needs lots of prompting still as otherwise she will lie on her bed the whole time! It is hard but all I can think of to suggest is more prompting to do with time of day/night might help. He may not like it if he is made to feel that he has got confused or got it wrong though, so tact and white lies may also be required!

Lots of luck and let us know how it goes.
Gill x


Registered User
Sep 30, 2009
Hi Sal - it is just the same with my Mum. If I tell her it's 4.00 am in the morning and she can't be off to catch a bus, she just doesn't understand what time 4.00 am is ... or 6.00 pm or midnight or any other time. Day and night, winter and summer, are all the same. They mean absolutely nothing to her. I have no solution but, if anybody does, I would be delighted to share it!
Carolyn x


Registered User
Feb 1, 2010
North Wales
Hi - I'm new to this forum and can say "Me too" please for the solution to this time of day thing!
My Mum is 86 and has lived with me for nearly three years now. She too, wakes quite often in the early hours, showers,dresses and is ready to go the Bank, to school, to collect the children or to find where my brother has gone. We try and point out that it's dark outside etc but that doesn't really sink in. Luckliy most times she will go back to bed - even if it's in her clothes! Sometimes she goes off to the toilet during the day ... falls asleep and when checked on and woken ... comes out thinking it's the next day! She reads a lot in bed and has been known to be still reading at 2 or 3 in the morning.She's woken me to say that "all the doors are locked and that she has to get out to help them!! "Them" being characters in the book! All very real to her at the time!:confused:
What a journey we're on... My husband and I know she's happy with us and thank God we acted when we did to keep her safe. How our journey will develop as this dreadful condition progresses
we don't rightly know.
I've found it very informative reading the posts on the site and hope I can add to this too.


Registered User
Dec 6, 2009
west sussex
agai i have just experienced this very evening.i know its not an answer but i really do understand where you are at
tim x


Registered User
Jan 29, 2008
Ashford, Kent
Firstly can I say I think you are great for doing your bit to care for your Grandad. My nieces wouldn't lift a finger to help their Grandad and when they come to visit him (few and far between) they just look at him and say that they couldn't cope with helping him.:mad:

I think the overwhelming thing to make sure is that your Grandad is safe. He sounds terribly confused, and independent or not the time will come that he simply cannot be left to live on his own.:(

I'm sorry that I have no solution to your problem - it is extremely difficult (or should I say impossible) to try to rationalise with someone who has long since lost the ability to reason.

Beverley x


Registered User
Dec 11, 2007
Hi Sal,

It sounds like you are having a tough time at the moment.

When I was reading your post I had all these great ideas, the first one being one of those lamp/alarms that lights up really brightly when it's day time and time to get up next to the phone. So if it's light then it's daytime and if it's dark it's night time and this may act as a visual prompt for your Grandad. My next great idea was you can get voice memo reminders[d]asp[q]search[e]go[a]searchmethod[e]cats[a]cat_id[e]1[a]subcat_id[e]7[a]page[e]1

that you could put next to the light and phone saying something like 'if the lights not come on everyone will be asleep' (thats a rubbish example, I'm sure you could think of better!)

But then I realised that 'great ideas' don't often work when you're dealing with someone with AD as it's often not just a case of prompting their memory. Oh I don't know!!! So I am very sorry for my entirely useless reply :rolleyes: and I hope your parents manage to get a full nights sleep soon xx


Registered User
Aug 20, 2008
hi every one. Thanks for your replies. That's kind of what i thought really. I just wondered if anyone had come up with anything before. Oh well. I just feel so sorry for grandad. He really hates to feel he's a burden on anyone. He doesn't really wander very much without us so i guess we're lucky there. I think because he moved here last year, if never really had a chance to go out on his own so hasn't bothered since. He's reasonably safe there for now so we'll just keep on managing like we all have to. X


Registered User
Jun 3, 2005
Hi Sal

Sorry, I don't have an answer to the problem either, but did think that perhaps the phone could be answered by a 'rota' between you; You 1 day, Dad next day, Mum day after that ...

You've probably already thought of it anyway ...:eek:


Registered User
Jan 22, 2010
Hi, I think the fact that he no longer recognises the time of day unfortunately is part and parcel of the illness. However, I have found that making sure the days are as busy as possible usually means that the person with AD will sleep better at night due to their daily routine being returned. Is it possible to increase days at daycare so that he is up with the carers in the morning and then out for most of the day?
Another question, has his medication been changed recently and something is given in the morning now that could make him drowsy? Just a thought with the sudden change in habbits. Always worth taking a urine sample to the GP too just to rule out an infection which can increase confusion.
Also the telecare devices can be placed around the house that can tell him its daytime or night time that can be turned on by the carers in the morning to remind him it is daytime (they are set off by movement so it could be put near where he sits in the lounge or by his bed to say its night) might stop him ringin if he gets up in the night and the device reminds him that it is night? this is the link

Just some ideas hope this helps xx