Caffeine and Dementia

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Jaybird, Jul 27, 2016.

  1. Jaybird

    Jaybird Registered User

    Jul 25, 2016
    29
    North Carolina, USA
    Wondering if any other caretakers have had issues with giving the person you're caring for caffeine.

    I ask because my dad developed a habit of getting up late at night/early in the morning while I was sleeping and he'd grab a 2 liter of soda, take it back to his room, and chug through it, hyping him up for the whole day and, by extension, prepping to keep me up the whole night. After a week of this happening near constantly I hid the the 2 liters from him and placed bottles of water where I'd normally keep the soda.

    It's paid off more or less. He's been easier to get to go to bed and keep down at night. He usually doesn't worry about getting soda at all unless he sees an ad on TV and even then he forgets all about it in no time. If he ever REALLY wants some, I decided I'll poor him a small glass and see how it goes though...
     
  2. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    4,619
    USA
    While not exactly scientific evidence, when my mother went into hospital and then the care home, they switched her to decaf coffee (she drinks gallons of it daily). She still drinks some caffeine, but in much smaller amounts than previously. She did see an improvement in her ability to fall asleep and stay asleep at night, although this could also have been due to changing her medications, getting her pain under control, being somewhere safe, being on a routine, or all or none of the above or for other reasons.

    If it works for you, I'd say go for it. It's so hard to know!
     
  3. Moorcroft

    Moorcroft Registered User

    Nov 4, 2015
    70
    I wouldn't say that caffeine affects my mother's dementia, but it certainly causes her insomnia.

    It is difficult to get mum to drink enough liquids, and when she does make a drink for herself it is usually coffee. She was complaining about insomnia for a long time until about a year ago, when I persuaded her to switch to decaffeinated. There was an immediate improvement.
     
  4. beverrino

    beverrino Registered User

    Jan 12, 2015
    1,111
    I know this is different, but caffeine is a bladder irritant (as told to me by the continence clinic). Mum gets a lot of UTI's, I changed her to decaff and it may be co-incidence but she seems to have been better since I did
     
  5. Sue J

    Sue J Registered User

    Dec 9, 2009
    8,035
    I am a big tea drinker and since my symptoms and alterations in taste I found myself drinking a coffee in the evening where I would have had tea. I do drink lots of water too. I have tried of late to have decaff Rooibus tea or peppermint in the evening and whilst I still have my ongoing symptoms I do feel perhaps I am managing to get to sleep better. My friend, with diagnosis drinks coffee ++++ and also has a lot of urinary symptoms. I find it interesting why I started it in the evenings, I think its just when you are overcome with symptoms that put you in a semi conscious state you try anything to help, but of course it doesn't just makes it worse. I hate this disease with a vengeance.
     
  6. Terry Towelling

    Terry Towelling Registered User

    Jul 4, 2016
    55
    Northamptonshire
    Caffeine

    I have generally cut out caffeine for my wife partly because it interferes with the sedative effect of some of her 'calming' drugs.

    However, we were prescribed with paracetamol to improve behaviour on the basis that the bad behaviour might be due to undiagnosed pain. We were told to take the maximum dose daily.

    We never got to that level of dose but there were definitely problems with sleep during the short period we tried it. I put that down to the caffeine content of the drug.

    I think there really was undiagnosed pain in the upper gut area and I have found that Gaviscon Advance before bed really helps her.

    I have previously also tried a dose of this after each meal. I thought I noticed an improvement in behaviour but this fell by the wayside as it became difficult to get her to take it so often.

    Sorry to have wandered off the point.
     
  7. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    11,780
    Female
    London
    Be sneaky - keep the empty soda bottles and fill them with water or a very watered down version.
     
  8. Willow Tree

    Willow Tree Registered User

    Jul 6, 2016
    67
    USA
    One more idea; perhaps only buy decaf soda, if it's available in the UK.

    There's conflicting info on whether caffeine is helpful or hurtful, so I think only your own Wisdom can tell you what's right for your Dad. But you've definitely got to make sure you get some sleep : )
     
  9. Jaybird

    Jaybird Registered User

    Jul 25, 2016
    29
    North Carolina, USA
    Thanks for the replies all who answered

    Since the most common trend or suggestion is getting decaf drinks, I may very well try it. Will have to hope I find a good brand. May try some different ones later this week. I believr Sprite is decaf so I'll probably start there.

    Army in the US- Yeah, it really is hard to know. Could literally be nothing we do and just be good luck.

    Moorcroft- Yeah, I'm not sure if it impacted my dad's dementia in other ways or not. It did seem to make him more prone to paranoia but there could be any number of reasons for that. Glad your mother's sleeping well now.

    beverrino- Thanks for that piece of info. Very good to know.

    Sue J- Nice bit of insight on mindset. I hate that anyone has to go through a disease like this. Try and stay strong.

    Terry Toweing- Eh, I wander off point quite a bit in online forums. No harm done.

    Beate- Hm, I may try and do this as well, filling the empty 2 liters with water at least.

    Willor Tree- Most articles I found on benefits seem to say it helps prevent cognitive decline. Very interesting info, but it doesn't seem to benefit those already in cognitive decline. Still, I could be wrong and, as you said, I gotta trust my own experiences on this one.
     
  10. Shedrech

    Shedrech Volunteer Moderator

    Dec 15, 2012
    8,303
    Yorkshire
    Hi Jaybird
    just wondering about the sugar content too - drinking 2 litres of a very sugary drink would give me the jitters
     
  11. Sue J

    Sue J Registered User

    Dec 9, 2009
    8,035
    Not all paracetamol contains caffeine Terry towering, I would try one that hasn't got any. On the whole I need a lot paracetamol but when bad lose ability to remember to take it.
     
  12. Lawson58

    Lawson58 Registered User

    I think Shedrech has a very good point. That amount of soda would have a very high sugar content which would be enough to hype anybody up. If something sweet is required, you could try a drink that is sweetened with stevia which has a greatly reduced sugar hit.
     
  13. Sue J

    Sue J Registered User

    Dec 9, 2009
    8,035
    I agree too but from someone who has this same craving for my brain to function a stevia sweetened drink wouldn't help me at all. My logic is still there too and wouldn't choose to drink such sweet stuff but this ailing body is often not satiated without a big glucose intake.:(
     
  14. Jaybird

    Jaybird Registered User

    Jul 25, 2016
    29
    North Carolina, USA
    Shedrech: Hm, sugar couldn't have possibly helped. I know at least one boasted it was made with real sugar. The rest seem to use artificial sweetners.

    Lawson58: Never heard of stevia before, but to be fair I'm not well-versed on sweetners. I researched it a bit to see what retail options are available. Am only familiar with Sobe (I KNOW I've had it before, but don't recall very much about it.) and G2, but my dad hates Gatorade. There's Coca-Cola Life, but I have never seen it on store shelves where I live (My town seems to take forever to get new Coke products...) and Trop50 which I'll look for next time I shop. Am curious if you (Or anyone else) know any other stevia sweetned drinks I should keep an eye out for?
     
  15. nita

    nita Registered User

    Dec 30, 2011
    1,820
    Female
    Essex
    I don't know about stevia, but on a recent baking programme, they used agave nectar as an alternative to sugar. You could stir that into drinks. I bought some but even a small bottle is quite expensive.
     
  16. nita

    nita Registered User

    Dec 30, 2011
    1,820
    Female
    Essex
    I found this on Amazon.com:-

    https://www.amazon.com/SweetLeaf-Sweet-Liquid-Stevia-Sweetener/dp/B00282QG6U

    But I would read up on it first as I found articles that suggest that stevia may not be a good idea. Also, there are drawbacks to all the sweeteners when you look into it, one of them being that they don't taste like sugar (e.g. miracle berries) and may leave an aftertaste, plus possible health risks.
     
  17. Jaybird

    Jaybird Registered User

    Jul 25, 2016
    29
    North Carolina, USA
    Thanks nita, I appreciate both the link and the suggested alternative. However, the quick research I've done on agave nector seem to point towards it doing potential damage to the liver. Due to my dad's years of alcohol abuse I have been warned by doctors before that his liver isn't in the greatest shape, so I'm really hesitant about approaching it. So far, it seems stevia just risks damage to hormones. Will do more research of course and again thanks for the suggestion.

    For that matter, double thanks as you reminded me I should probably really research what can cause or worsen liver problems...
     
  18. Terry Towelling

    Terry Towelling Registered User

    Jul 4, 2016
    55
    Northamptonshire
    Stevia

    I've used stevia too. In the UK it is sold under the brand name Truvia (there may be others). It's very fragrant and 3 times sweeter than sucrose.

    I tried this because I also wondered whether sugar might be a problem - it is for kids, seemingly.

    You might also need to be careful cutting the caffeine in case there are withdrawal symptoms which might be very bad if the prior intake was so high.

    If I may wander off the point again...I'm told the Alzheimer's brain can't process sugar energy so well - which is apparently the reason why coconut oil (extra virgin, unrefined) is supposed to be good for sufferers. As the oil metabolises it produces ketones that can't be stored and the Alzheimer's brain can process these as an energy source. So, it doesn't stop the disease (as some claim) but it does enable the sufferer to make best use of what brain power is left. That's the thinking but I can't actually vouch for it - it may be a load of tripe.

    What I can say is from my personal experience is that it can make you warm up a lot and if you have it later in the day you may not sleep until the ketone energy has been used. You also need to start off with smaller amounts cos it may give you runny stools.

    Some also say it raises your cholesterol. For me I have HDL of 3.3 and LDL of 0.9 (UK measures) and I've been on it for ages and I don't have AD (as far as I'm aware).

    I love it in my porridge (oatmeal) but only a heaped teaspoon at a time.
     
  19. Mannie

    Mannie Registered User

    Mar 13, 2014
    116
    Bracknell area
    We use no -sugar squash ,and Stevia for tea and coffee, it works great and added benefit is , avoids sugar rush/ high blood sugar...and also *tooth decay * which has got to be a god send
    Hth
     
  20. Jaybird

    Jaybird Registered User

    Jul 25, 2016
    29
    North Carolina, USA
    Terry Toweling- I was a bit worried about with withdrawal as well, but apart from a day where he complained about a headache that I will admit was likely a caffeine headache, he hasn't shown any other signs.

    I believe a doctor once recommended coconut oil to my mom, not for my dad's dementia but for his liver, since it can help that. She bought it a few times, but she eventually stopped and I can't remember why. Thanks for the info you gave me on it since it'another I'll try for my dad.

    Mannie- Tooth decay is a reason I've considered dropping soda from my own diet, but having practically been raised on it makes it pretty tough.
     

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