CCTV Not Sleeping or eating

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Grandma Joan, Aug 16, 2015.

  1. Grandma Joan

    Grandma Joan Registered User

    Mar 29, 2013
    #1 Grandma Joan, Aug 16, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2015
    MIL is 3 + years since diagnosis. Still lives in her own home independently with lots of support from us.

    The latest observation of her journey with Mixed dementia is that she is still in bed around midday. She says to us she's "had a bad night" but we can't be sure as she can't remember what has happened 10 minutes before let alone the previous night. We don't know if indeed she has had a sleepless night or whether she just doesn't recognise morning and the time to get up. She does have a clock by her bedside.

    Staying in bed until midday causes problems:
    1. Her meal patterns are all disrupted. If she has cereal when she gets up at noon then something at tea time then she has missed out a meal.
    2. She is loosing weight. We have real problems getting her to eat a main meal each day. Many a time I throw ready meals out as they have gone past their BB date. She tells me she feels full but then I can hear her tummy rumbling.
    3. Is she not sleeping at night? - I know people with Dementia can suffer from lack of sleep and this is not good for her health.
    4. She goes to luncheon club once a week & has an Alz Soc. home support worker once a week but sometimes these fail as if she is still in bed she feins being unwell and turns her taxi / support worker away, so it is affecting her social life.

    Would it be okay to install a CCTV into her bedroom to see if she has unsettled nights? Has anyone tried this and what did they use?
    Any other ideas on how to restore a "normal" waking/getting up & dressed pattern?
  2. sistermillicent

    sistermillicent Registered User

    Jan 30, 2009
    I think it would be quite invasive to install a cctv in the bedroom, though I suppose |I can understand why you want to do it.
    Wouldn't it be better to go and stay for a week and see what is going on and what additional support may be needed?
  3. curtainsgalore

    curtainsgalore Registered User

    Nov 2, 2014
    I installed sensors from a company called just checking, on the www. You have sensors in each room so could tell when she went to bed, went to the bathroom etc, front and back doors etc.I think they are not such an intrusive look at what our loved ones are doing as cameras, some people say cctv shouldn't be installed as the person they are watching doesn't really understand they are there. It showed me when my Mum started to wander and I was able to tell the police what time Mum left the house.
    It's quite expensive, last summer it was £75 per month to rent the system from Just Checking, but it did give me piece of mind.
  4. Grandma Joan

    Grandma Joan Registered User

    Mar 29, 2013
    Thank you Curtains

    I've never heard of that before & it does sound much less intrusive than cameras (& a lot easier to use)! That's a really useful tip, we'll look into that. Even if for only a few months it will give us some clues as to what is going on.
  5. Pete R

    Pete R Registered User

    Jul 26, 2014
    #5 Pete R, Aug 17, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2015
    Instead of a camera use an mobile phone with a free sound recording app installed. There are those that skip any silence. You should be able to get a good idea of what is going on from that.

    Should record for around 24 hrs on battery but you might find somewhere to plug it in and hide so will record longer.

    There is a free computer programme called "Audacity" to play it back on which gives you a sound graph so you can see when there is noise to help speed up play back time.

    I do not have a problem with using a camera so if you find the phone no good come back and I will recommend a camera. As it will be dark you will need one with infra red
    lighting but me mindful that most of the ones from Maplins or ebay have the cheaper type that give off a Red glow, instaed of being invisible, and can be very off putting/scary.

    Good luck.:)

    Edit...Sorry forgot to add that listening or watching a recording of a vulnerable person, especially a loved one can be very distressing for you.:(
  6. Anniebell

    Anniebell Registered User

    Jan 31, 2015
    Hi Grandma Joan in may my mums mood changed and she was tired all the time we had already got the dementia rapid response team in for mum they asked if they could put a device in the house called just checking we agreed they were little boxes fitted in every room a bit like the sensors you have with burglar alarms they could check on their computer exactly were mum was in the house at what time, they couldn't see her it was just a chart turned out mum wasn't up at night but up early and when she was on her own she never sat still they asked me if i wanted a log in so i could track mum as well i declined this as i would have become obsessed with tracking mum and i wouldn't have slept at night! They upped a medication mum was on for something else (pregabalin) to try and calm mum down. My brother took mum out when they came to install it and she never noticed they were there hope this helps
    Take Care Annie x
  7. joggyb

    joggyb Registered User

    Dec 1, 2014
    With all the best will in the world, you're unlikely to be able to restore a "normal" waking/getting up & dressed pattern. This is all part and parcel of dementia.

    For my family, the breakdown of Dad's nocturnal habits was one of the first signs that he was becoming ill. Nothing we tried (clocks, watches, notes) made any difference. He would go out at strange times at night, get up ridiculously early, and often be up all through the night, too. And so, yes, he would sometimes be very tired during the day, and miss conventional mealtimes.

    That was about 18 months ago. He's been in care for nearly a year now, and not much has changed, despite having a fixed routine, regular meals, activities, trips out, etc. He's still up all night some nights. Sometimes he gets tired as a result, sometimes not. And he's not the only one in the home like that, either.

    His carers 'go with the flow'. You absolutely can't force someone with dementia to feel tired, to go to bed at a certain time, eat meals at fixed times, etc. So - Dad's carers encourage him to do all these things, but if he won't, then they work around that. They will offer him food when they know he's been up a lot during the night, or has missed a meal, and it doesn't have to be a 'normal' meal - just whatever he fancies (in his case, often a bowl of his favourite granola). If he falls asleep during the day, they will leave him in peace.

    You will read from this forum that many dementia sufferers experience a change in food preferences, too (often choosing sweet foods). It may be that your MIL doesn't particularly fancy 'proper' meals any more. I realise that you are concerned about nutrition, but the consensus is that 'bad' calories are better than no calories at all. So perhaps instead of leaving her ready meals, you might leave her more snacks, and things that she doesn't have to cook or reheat - so crisps, biscuits, cakes, etc, and other food that won't go off quickly. You say she is losing weight, so it would seem that getting her to eat something, whether you approve of what kind of food it is or not, is the priority.

    Perhaps also she's having problems swallowing, which can be an issue for those with mid to late stage dementia. A GP will be able to help you here.

    All in all, I wonder whether she's reached a stage at which she needs more care than you and your family can provide. We finally realised that Dad essentially needed watching and care 24/7, even though in many respects he seemed outwardly quite 'well' (very mobile, active, chatty, etc). Since he's been in care, he's put back on the weight he had lost, is getting more sleep - even though he's still up and about some nights - and is generally more content and less fretful. I never, ever wanted to 'put him in a home', but I have to admit that for him, it's been the best solution. He gets all the care he needs, and which I and my family could never have managed without making ourselves ill in the process, too!

    Good luck.
  8. Grandma Joan

    Grandma Joan Registered User

    Mar 29, 2013
    I do totally agree with you that "bad" food is better than no food atall but I am throwing away Mr Kipling cake boxes now that have gone out of date so it is becoming inceasingly difficult to get her to eat anything when she is at home alone.

    If she is with us I can get her to eat a small meal and pud. And her luncheon club says she eats well as does her Alz Soc. support worker who takes her to the local garden centre. So she is able to eat she has just lost the trigger to have a meal or doesn't recognise the signs that she is hungry?
  9. joggyb

    joggyb Registered User

    Dec 1, 2014
    I think both those possibilities are likely - and you might also find the reverse happens sometimes, too, i.e. that she says she's hungry when she's just eaten! Dementia confuses the brain in all sorts of weird ways.
  10. Bod

    Bod Registered User

    Aug 30, 2013
    Wild life camera

    Rightly or wrongly. I put a wild life camera on the landing at night, to see just what FIL got up to.
    It did reveal him going up and down stairs, without his stairlift! Because he was hungry.
    2 rounds of toast & marmalde at bed time, fixed that.
    So yes a camera put in the correct place, can be a good thing, without comprising privacy.


    Ps. He never caught on.
  11. Grandma Joan

    Grandma Joan Registered User

    Mar 29, 2013
    Thanks Piph

    My MIL says "I won't starve" when we suggest she hasn't had anything proper to eat for a while. Actually I think she would if we didn't prompt her to eat!

    Interesting to read you have carers going in. We have been considering that for a while but still very apprehensive of her reaction
  12. Dearie Me

    Dearie Me Registered User

    Feb 2, 2012
    My mum has been in a small care home for 9 months now. Residents mostly have their breakfast in their rooms, but staff identified that mum was eating very little there and have now tried bringing her, and another two residents, down to the dining room for breakfast. The company, and staff encouragement, has really improved her eating.

    Perhaps your mum would eat more with company, most of us probably don't eat as well as we should when we are on our own. I know this is hard though. Carers used to heat mums meal then leave - no one had time to sit with her.

    Good luck with finding a solution

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